Tag Archives: Drake

I’ve Listened to Views Several Times and I Still Don’t Know…

12 May


…if Drake has lost his damn mind.  Drake, the Six God, as he calls himself, is having a moment. Views, the highly anticipated studio album from the hip-hop/R&B artist is long, with twenty tracks completing the work.  Usually, when I see an album with twenty tracks, I think that the artist had a crisis of conscience.  However, I am unsure as to what Drake tried to accomplish with this album.  The fact that it was released less than a week after Beyonce’s obvious masterpiece Lemonade makes it even more difficult to appreciate.

One of the problems I think Drake has with this album is the release of “Hotline Bling” as the lead single ultimately molded its expectations. “Hotline Bling,” obviously one of the biggest songs of 2015 and its accompanying video making Drake a sweater-wearing, goofy-dancing icon, set Drake’s fans up for disappointment.

One of my favorite tracks on Views include “Child’s Play,” which narrates a lopsided relationship in which a woman continues sleeping with Drake in order to get him to continue buying her clothes.  Drake, of course, is using her for sex.  He references a fight taking place at Cheesecake Factory (a place that I could never imagine someone like Drake eating) and making up with luxury gifts: “I give out Chanel like a hug”.  Drake also expresses fear that his apparently high sex number will be exposed: “How many girls have slept in this bed – say a different number than the one in my head.” Drake also samples the New Orleans bounce hit “She Rode Dat Dick Like a Soldier”.  Drake sings, “She rode it like a soldier, She rode it like a jungle soldier” in the refrain, in an effort to bring some edge to the album.

Another great song is “Controlla,” a song with an island vibe and that sees Drake adopting Jamaican slang: “My last girl would tear me apart, but she’d never wanna split a ting with me”.  In the hook to the song, Drake decries the power this woman has over him: “I think I’d lie for you / I think I’d die for you / Jodeci “Cry For You” / Do things when you want me to /  Like controlla, controlla”.

“Controlla” is immediately followed by one of the album’s singles, “OneDance,” which maintains a fast-paced Afrobeat.   In the hook, Drake paints a scene of his infamous dancing, but in this case, he has a glass of Hennessy in his hand: “That’s why I need a one dance / Got a Hennessy in my hand / One more time ‘fore I go / Higher powers taking a hold on me”.  Another single from the album, “Pop Style,” contains more humblebrags: “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum”.

In the next track, “Grammys,” featuring everyone’s favorite mumbling rapper Future, Drake sends a clear message to his haters, who he reminds have not won Grammys like he has: “Tell me how you really feel, tell me how you really feel / I would ask you what’s the deal but y’all don’t even got a deal / Most niggas with a deal couldn’t make a greatest hits / Y’all a whole lot of things but you still ain’t this”.

There’s also a collaboration with Rihanna, Drake’s rumored girlfriend, called “Too Good,” which also has some Caribbean influence.  This song pales in comparison to Rihanna’s “Work,” on which Drake also appears.  To be honest, “Too Good” is pretty boring.  “Last night, I lost my patience,” sings Drake. “I’m too good to you,” he continues, perhaps singing to Rihanna, who chimes in with “I don’t know how to talk to you.”  These people seem really confused for more than one reason.

Throughout the album, Drake certainly seems pleased with himself.  Overall, the album is growing on me, but I truly think that twenty tracks is simply out of hand, and that perhaps some of the songs that appeared on Drake’s 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late should have been on Views to make a more sensible album. But is this as good as it will get for Drake creatively? He’s only 29 so I think there’s still some room for him to grow. I’m still waiting for Drake’s equivalent of Lemonade. 

I Know When that Hotline Bling, That Can Only Mean One Thing

21 Oct

Ugh, I love Drake. I love his face and his new, more muscular build, plus that beard.

“Hotline Bling,” for those of you who do not have access to the radio, television, or other mediums of entertainment communication, is the hottest song of the moment.  Even though the lyrics are being criticized as anti-feminist by numerous bloggers, the song is really little more than an ode to a hookup lost – something that anyone, man or woman, can easily relate to.

The line where Drake laments the fact that his former lover is now “Bendin’ over backwards for someone else…Doing things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else” is perhaps the most poignant, because who hasn’t wondered about the current sexcapades of a former lover?  Ugh, Drake just needs to dance this off!!!

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Look how upset Drake is as he sings the following: ” Cause ever since I left the city, you / started wearing less and goin’ out more / Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor / Hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before”!!

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Gah, the pain!!! He just has to dance!!!

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The video features Drake dancing in several vibrantly-colored tableaus, and while most are calling Drake’s dancing, “dorky,” I find it totally endearing and indicative that he has a real personality. I mean, look at this cha-cha:

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Drake also does this funny move with his knees:

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Not to mention that this happens, laaaddiieeesss!!!:

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You can watch the full video for “Hotline Bling” here.  10 out of 10.

Cash, Cars, and Ho’s: How A Feminist Can Love Hip-Hop

21 Oct

Like Jigga, I am also addicted to the game.

I am completely enamored with the world of what I like to call the “theater of hip-hop”. Most women who identify themselves as feminists would not dare admit any lingering love for rap and hip-hop. The genre earned the reputation for objectifying women during the Gangsta rap era, which began in late 1980s Los Angeles. Hip-hop and rap that developed before Gangsta rap embodied a carefree, party-focused mindset; artists like The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa are some of the first to popularize the rap genre at the tail-end of the Disco era. However, when the Original Gangsta himself entered the scene, hip-hop became a multi-layered genre with a niche for every fan. Ice-T released what many believe is the first Gangsta rap song in 1986: “6 in the Mornin'”.

Gangsta rap focuses on exactly what its name implies; artists of the genre focus on what they know best: the danger-tainted lives of black youths on the hard streets of L.A. Many people love to whine about what a horrible influence gangsta rap is on American youth, but it’s best to give young people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they will not get hold of AK-47s and run China White in the suburbs. At an early age I was exposed to the “My god! What about the children!?!” mentality that is strangely prevalent among square adults – however, I learned to take the words of gangsta rap with a huge grain of salt. My theory on “the theater of hip-hop” helps me to defend my love of rap to those who hate on the genre, especially my fellow feminists. I see hip-hop and rap as a large playhouse in which the artists are players on a grand stage. In this world, anything goes, and that may include referring to women as “bitches,” but the most important things to emphasize are making cash, driving fancy cars, and popping endless bottles of Champagne.

Listening to rap and hip-hop is nothing more than pure fun to me. There’s nothing more entertaining than turning up Ludacris’s “Move Bitch” and going for a ride through the suburbs. It may surprise some that hip-hop is as popular as it is among young, upper middle class suburbanites, but that is exactly who buys everything moguls like Jay-Z and P. Diddy deign to sell to young people. Dancing to rap and hip-hop is also endless fun; I cannot stand women (or even men) who refuse to dance to such music. This is usually the sign of a square and/or someone who cannot be trusted. Rap also gives me the opportunity for me to pretend that I am a much bigger baller than my reality may show. Therefore, I do not find it contradictory for me to call myself a feminist and a fan of hip-hop. Hip-hop is an art form that suffers due to endless witch hunts. Good hip-hop (of which there is an endless supply) is not demeaning to women, and the songs that do mention “bitches” and “hos” should not be taken so seriously. My advice to anyone questioning the importance of hip-hop in our culture is to buy a copy of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 and then try to argue their points. Rap and hip-hop are American cultural institutions not to be dismissed, but saluted. Now pour one out for your homies.

Here are three rap songs that currently make me want to stay on my grind, if you will:

1. “Toot It and Boot It,” YG

As a proud feminist I should hate this song. It’s a young man’s anthem about how he loves to fuck chicks and leave them, but I figure it can also be utilized by women regarding their personal lives. Plus, the video is pretty good and features one of my favorite rap video clichés: thick women dancing in the rain.

2. “My Chick Bad,” Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj

Ludacris has long been the greatest Southern rapper. My childhood is peppered with memories of his fantastic little ditty, “Move Bitch (Get Out the Way).” For his most recent album, Luda focused on beats that make you want to shake your ass, and “My Chick Bad” is my go-to song for getting pumped up for a night on the town. It also features the hottest female MC of the moment – Nicki Minaj (an upcoming piece on Fixed Air will sing the praises of Minaj.)

3. “Successful,” Drake ft. Trey Songz

Drake is the second hottest thing on the rap scene now, right after Nicki Minaj. This song says it all: “I want the money, money and the cars, cars and the clothes, and the hos, I suppose…I just wanna be successful.” I give mad credit to Drake, who is of course best known for playing Jimmy on the Canadian teen soap opera, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Little Jimmy is all grown up. Tear.