Scorpion: Everything Was The Same
"Cuz I be kickin' the real, while they be losing the race, tryna chase mass appeal." - Guru
Drake is at a crossroads of his career that only hugely successful artists arrive at; where longevity & popularity means they're only compared to their pre-existing artistry. Scorpion is Drake's 7th album (I don't subscribe to "commercial mixtapes"), and this album sounds like every Drake album rolled in one, which isn't a good thing.
There's no need for anyone to seriously review this album because it sounds like Views & More Life, minus the coco bread. While sonically different, Scorpion & the aforementioned albums are a collection of songs with no cohesiveness or direction.
"The only deadbeats are the ones I'm rapping on..." is a bar on this album, and people take Drake serious when he calls himself a "GOAT" or "Top 5" rapper. Imagine my face right now. Michael Jackson sounded like The Weeknd off two lines of pure. "Ratchet Happy Birthday" might be one of the worst songs I've ever heard in my life & I'm going to leave the table when your auntie starts playing it at her birthday dinner party. There are definitely a few hits on this album, "Emotionless," "Sandra's Rose," "In My Feelings" & "After Dark" are by far my favorite songs, and that is saying A LOT considering JAY-Z is on this album. "Talk Up" is cool, but the X/Zimmerman line doesn't sit well with me, and yes, I understood Hov's sentiments, but the line is corny.
Music is special to me because it evokes emotion while provoking thought & action, and Drake has done that for me with songs like "Too Much" & "Do Not Disturb," but then he reaches for mass appeal, and I don't knock the hustle, but I don't fuck with it. Who is Drake as an artist? I don't know because one minute he's Jamaican, the next he's Jewish, the next he's a tough guy, then a simp, etcetera. Drake reminds me of a scene in The Departed where Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) questions William Costigan Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) about pretending to be one thing with his mother & another with his father on the weekends. Once I stop believing someone's authenticity as a person, their music, which should be rooted in truth, evokes & provokes nothing for me. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson once eloquently asked, "Look in the mirror, ask yourself, who are you? If you don't know who you are, how could your dreams come true?" Billy Costigan was terrific at being disingenuous, and so is Drake.
Unfortunately, everything will stay the same because Aubrey's Angels are his saving grace; discussing sales & streaming numbers while defending the Christopher Colombus of music is 6-Gawd's Plan.
The only thing that wasn't the same is Drake's energy for rappers like Joe Budden & Pusha T, which makes everything the former says less & less believable. If rap is a circus or a pigpen, what was it when "Back To Back" dropped? If Meek Mill was "Twitter fingers," what was Drake when he was posting press releases from his iPad Pro 12.9 on Instagram? Aubrey Graham turned to Instagram? Do you even know how hard it is to type on those things?
"Niggas pulling gimmicks cuz they scared to rap...I'm a bar spitta, I'm a hard-hitta, yea, I'm light skin, but I'm still a dark nigga...I'm a unforgiven wild-ass dog nigga..." When? Where? Because on this same fucking album, "Yes, I'm hurting, yes, I'm jaded..." And sure, human-beings are layered hypocrites by nature, but Drake's "Energy" is NEVER the same with real rappers, and rap matters too much to too many people for the musical version of Kevin Wendell Crumb to pretend he's bigger than Hip-Hop. I do not give a fuck about any behind the scenes nonsense; all I want is a response in the form of rap music. Rappers understand that, but Drake would prefer to call fans a "circus" instead of rapping a response to a rapper who called his mother a loser, his dad a clown & made light of his producer's illness.
Pusha T should send OVO an invoice for executive producer services rendered on Scorpion. While the scathing (am I the only one who loves the word "scathing"?) diss-track "The Story of Adidon" went unanswered directly, it is plain to hear that it caused Scorpion to be re-recorded as damage-control. I didn't appreciate how loud Drake's voice was on "8 Out Of 10" and suggest he takes the bass out of his voice until Memorial Day Weekend 2019.
Some hits, a lot of misses, which seems to be Drake's "formula," but consistency only matters when you're consistently evolving as an artist, and Scorpion is proof that the only thing the Toronto pop-star has developed is a beard. EVERYTHING WAS THE SAME.