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What Went Wrong With… Scorpion by Drake?

An image of a scorpion with Drake's head by What Went Wrong Or Right With...?

The overexposed yet mediocre rapper-slash-singer known as Drake releases his fifth studio album today and it’s titled Scorpion. With Drake’s old-man dad-dancing you first think to yourself, is this title referring to the pluralised 1980’s Rock group or is it referring to Drake himself, you know, a poisonous prick? Whatever the meaning, I have to say that I’ve never seen the appeal of Drake and with this whopping 1 hour 29 minute-long double album, surely even his fans feel like they’re overdosing on this autotuned crooner? Sitting there listening to Drake’s nasally, Weezy-lite vocals is a struggle even for a short period but with Scorpion it feels like you’re being sonically tortured (Canadian military take note). With the songs on this LP varying very little, this album is like listening to one shite song on repeat – each side seriously sounds like one long-arsed track – there’s nothing that separates either topic, content, or flow, especially on the second half.

Now I’ve never been fond of double albums even when I’m a fan of the artist, they always feel like the musician should have edited down the tracklist but because they’re so self-absorbed they release everything they’ve made. Being surrounded by Yes-men, these out-of-touch singers think everything they record is worthy of adoration but the truth is the exact opposite. Gargantuan albums sometimes however, are supposed to be two-sided because of an appropriate concept and with Scorpion, Drake was supposed to have created a double album that contained a “Rap-side” and an “R’N’B-side”. But, from what I can tell he has abandoned that plan and made two Hip-Pop sides (or alternatively a crap-side and a shit-side).

Listening to the so-called “Rap-side” of Scorpion, you hear way too much R’N’B and you think to yourself how much more R’N’B can you get? Well, when you find out, you actually wish you could go back, for what follows is a tortuous trail through mediocrity. Once you get to the second portion of the LP, what you’re confronted with is actually offensive to label as “R’N’B”, it’s more like relaxed, bubblegum, teeny-bopper Pop. Sure, some of the songs try to sound like credible Rhythm And Blues (“Finesse” for example trying to imitate UK singer Jones) but this isn’t credible R’N’B by any stretch of the imagination, this is pure autotuned garbage. By the time you get to the corny-as-fuck “Ratchet Happy Birthday” with Drake yelling “brrrrrrr… it’s your fucking birthday!” not only do you cringe, you feel like ending your subscription to Spotify (other streaming services are available). Seriously, it’s an understatement to call some of these songs amateur, most if not all of side two is an embarrassment.

There’s lacklustre production on almost all of the songs in Scorpion, the majority of which feature the most basic drum patterns programmed into a DAW by a lazy, deaf producer. The rapping (or singing) isn’t any better, there’s average flow and delivery on all songs. I don’t know if Drake used a ghostwriter but if he did, he needs to get a refund. Some of the song credits do show several names per track but God only knows what they were contributing. What the hell would this album have sounded like without all this help?

Rapping about all the shit he owns, how great he is, peppered here and there with hollow emotions isn’t the making of a rap genius. And listening to that monotone, pinched voice for 25 tracks is like being repeatedly stung by a scorpion (hey, maybe that’s what the title means).

The first side of Scorpion is tolerable in retrospect, but only after hearing the dreaded “R’N’B” side”. Strangely the only decent song on the entire album is the opener “Survival” although as Drake keeps pointing out “this is just an intro” thus making you ignore the only listenable track. The first side of Scorpion is heaving with Pop-Trap, just take a listen to the understated and shit “Nonstop” or “God’s Plan”, “Mob Ties”, and “Talk Up” each containing a wannable-Trap delivery. Alongside all this Trappy-trash, there’s also some awful singing here and there, in “Elevate” and “God’s Plan” for instance, both songs sound like a smoker with an electrolarynx wandered into the vocal booth. Coupled with the the two or three-note amateurish melody of “Mob Ties”, the first half of Scorpion is unsatisfactory for anyone who isn’t a Drake fanatic.

The second side of the album begins with yet more basic drum patterns (electronic bass followed by electronic claps) and surprise, surprise, there’s more autotuned vocals making for yet more typically characterless muzak by Drizzy. This then becomes much worse with “Summer Games”, which contains a 1980’s-sounding synth behind more lame singing; the line “breaking, breaking, break, break, break, break, breaking my heart” sounding like his copy of Logic Pro just crashed. Along with Drake going off-beat in “Jaded”, the second side is pure mellow-pop trash. Even the late, great Michael Jackson can’t help Scorpion from being an overly long, banal release.

In the song “Is There More” Drake raps “I would rather lose a leg than lose their respect” (in reference to other OVO artists) but since his respect is so low, especially with the public, I guess he better get that Gigli saw out. Deep down even Drake knows how lame his music is and in an ironic admittance of his wackness, his own so-called “editor’s note” for this album reads:

…DRAKE SINGS TOO MUCH
DRAKE IS A POP ARTIST
DRAKE DOESN’T EVEN WRITE HIS OWN SONGS
DRAKE TOOK AN L
DRAKE DIDN’T START FROM THE BOTTOM
DRAKE IS FINISHED
I LIKE DRAKE’S OLDER STUFF
DRAKE MAKES MUSIC FOR GIRLS
DRAKE THINKS HE’S JAMAICAN
DRAKE IS AN ACTOR
DRAKE CHANGED
ANYBODY ELSE > DRAKE…

The first three statements here are true, the rest is just a has-been rapper trying to be clever and brush-off his criticism. “Drake took an L” and “I like Drake’s older stuff” is put there to distract his naysayers and make it seem like he once had credibility but everybody knows that Drake has never been anywhere near credible. His old releases are just as trash as this album, the only saving grace of his old shit is the fact that it used to be a lot shorter.

Nonstop.

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13 replies »

  1. On a serious note ——-
    I can remember Drake as an actor as far back as 2001 . He was a regular cast member on the revival of the 80’s (to very early 90’s) teen drama series “Degrassi” .
    Back in 2001 when Drake made his entertainment debut I still thought mainstream hip hop was in an okay place . By the time Pharrell and his band mates in N*E*R*D / The Neptunes started being called emcees a year later I started to think the mainstream of hip hop was in some trouble . 50 Cent came out with his debut album soon after that and I remember older heads saying that he lacked lyrical ability . Heck , in early 2005 pro wrestler John Cena came out with a rap album . The album wasn’t overly that terrible and he had credible rappers like Freddie Foxxx / Bumpy Knuckles and MC Esoteric featured on it . And Jake One and Eligh of Living Legends were producers on it . And G-Unit had Lloyd Banks as a member . Banks is a guy who can spit and – although far from being a Canibus or Kool G Rap – was a credible enough emcee .

    Then we had the rise of Drake’s mentor – Lil Wayne – as the number one solo rap act . It really started with that album he put out with Birdman . Sure enough Wayne gets his own vanity label and signs Drake and Nicki Minaj . I believe this was the exact point of no return for mainstream hip hop . In 2006 to 2007 . Kanye’s rise as a “credible emcee” – although he never has written his own lyrics ever – added to the damage inflicted .

    I don’t think African Americans , Latinos and poor Whites in the United States ever stopped listening to hip hop . It was the marketing direction and strategy that had changed . Specifically that serious intellectual lyrics / wordplay , positive subject matter and morality tales / morality went out the proverbial window entirely . The next year brought us Drake and Nicki . Now look at the dangerous and vacuous mainstream of today . The worst hip hop music ever being promoted on a mass scale has been from 2008 to today .

    90’s gangsta stuff gets a bad rep . But that genre produced credible emcees like Spice 1 , Schoolly D , Richie Rich , Too $hort , E-40 , Hussein Fatal (Rest In Paradise) , Tech N9ne , Twista , Bun B , Willie D , Scar Face , Ice-T , The DOC , OC and Big L (Rest In Paradise) . MC Hammer , Vanilla Ice , Tone Loc and ICP were derided as being whack lyrically in the 90’s . But , let’s compare them to Drake , Cardi B , The Migos , Dej Loaf , Future or Young Thug today .

    It seems that the “powers that be” are really trying to sell hip hop to an audience that has money . Mollycoddled middle class and upper middle class youth . Most of whom have no business listening to hip hop in the first place . But crappy EDM , top 40 pop , “indie” pop and country pop are the only other mainstream alternatives for most youth under the age of 25 .

    Yeah , “Ghetto Supa Star” , “Redifintion” , “Second Round Knockout” and “Still Ain’t A Player” had pop appeal in 1998 . But compare that to the garbage Kendrick Lamar has been putting out since 2013 . The difference is mind boggling . I can’t believe it is the internet and streaming alone that led to Drake being seen as a “hard emcee” . The industry has become much more wicked , greedy and corrupt in the last twenty years . And the youth in the middle class and upper middle class are more spoiled and dumbed down . When you add conspiratorial elements from the US government and the mass media into the mix this shows that mainstream hip hop has no future . Rapping in the mainstream will be entirely replaced by whack singing pop shit in the next five years (for mainstream hip hop alone ; not for the always legitimate underground scene). It has to be more than the music being marketed towards airhead suburban girls and pretentious whining hipsters . I believe a malevolent one-percenter conspiracy to keep poor people subjugated and non-political is at play here . To make the masses forget completely about rigged hyper-capitalism and the galling unfairness / corruption that occurs in first world countries .

    And the “Drakester” is a great favourite amongst these wicked men and the preacher of this abhorrent evangel .

  2. I know you don’t support censorship and you are an eager defender of freedom of speech . This may seem sexist to some , but I will say it anyway .

    A big hypothetical . Let’s say if Drake wanted me to give this album a good review and for me to say that he is the best Canadian emcee since Mad Child . And he pulled a “Clayton Purdom offer” on me . If Drake tried to lure me into ethical corruption by offering me beautiful broads that look like Jasmine Cephas-Jones , Zosia Mamet’s sister or Kevin Bacon’s daughter —- I don’t know if I could resist that temptation . It would be like the K-Rino classic “The Valley Of Decision” going on in my soul . I just don’t know if I could resist the snapper , the gash , the quim , the trim , the tail , the pussy that Drake would try to bribe me with .

    Just listen to this new Drake album again . Other than fame , clothes , jewelry , weed , booze and money it’s evident that Drake got into into hip hop because – to quote the great Jus Allah – He wanted “wet pussy to splash all over his cock” . In almost every song on this album Drake brags about all the hot women he’s fucked / is fucking right now . The beautiful model types .

    It’s the “Drakester” who is the real misogynist , not I .

  3. So what do you as an underground , alternative and independent hip hop critic think of Drake’s misogyny ? It seems on every album he brings up his own “hypothetical” in at least one song —- wherein he is in a relationship with a beautiful model type and slyly convinces her to let him have a fivesome or some other type of bacchanal with her and her other beautiful model type friends . It’s Drake who is the pig here . He lives a life of sexual extravagance and pretends to be a good role model to his young male heterosexual fans or young lesbian fans . 🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗🐗 These emoticons exemplify the “Drakester” . That pratt .

    Also on your sister site have you ever considered doing any articles on past commenters like Abukar / Abubakar or Bernie ?

  4. Lastly me and Drake are both Canadian heterosexual men . I live a 4 to 5 hour flight out West from where his Toronto Area mansion is . Because Drake is from the same country as me I feel he is responsible to do something about the plight of poor people in Canada . But , what has the guy done !? He’s a smug man . A rich man . I feel you didn’t criticize my fellow countryman enough in this article .

    In one of his stupid music videos he pretended that he worked for Shoppers Drug Mart and “started from the bottom” . I worked at Shoppers Drug Mart here in Edmonton . I remember they treated me poorly , gave me very few work hours and exploited me because of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder . Shoppers Drug Mart is owned by the Weston Family . The billionaire family who now owns the Selfridges luxury stores in your country . They are the second richest family in Canada . Yes , I resigned from my job there after two weeks of work in 2010 . I couldn’t take it anymore . A new Shoppers Drug Mart store was opening and because of the combination of my fatness and physical strength they made me do dangerous back breaking labour whilst paying me minimum wage to very cent . I just said “fuck it” and resigned . The Drake video makes it look like working there is a great job where you meet and pick up beautiful model types . Yes , because I’m sure Aubrey Graham has worked there full-time since 2001 on a continuous basis . He knows all that goes on with stocking shelves with product until your knees are bruised and bleeding or throwing your back out in your early twenties after being asked to unload 60 pallets of 4 litre containers of milk .

    Ah , Drake the Potentate of Toronto . The suzerain of his realm . The Gnostic archon . He who serves the Demiurge ; the hard-hearted creator of materialism , egoism , greed , lust and superficiality .

    Saying that “he looks like Common if Common was stung by a hive of wasps” isn’t enough . Drake thinks he’s the man . That what he’s doing is admirable and that he is a positive role model for Canadian youth .

    In closing I would like to quote from the K-Rino 2004 classic “Doin’ Bad” . K-Rino is the exact opposite of Drake . He is an emcee’s emcee .

    ” I’m tryna show love but people take the bad and provoke it ,
    If I give this bum a dollar will he eat it or smoke it ?
    Put speculation to the side and just go out on a limb ,
    I’m visualizing myself one day being just like him ,
    So I focus on my paper , Got a mission to rise ,
    Try to see life through the eyes of the poor and despised ,
    ‘Cause there my people man , I can’t never turn my back on ’em ,
    To my young hustlers walkin’ these cuts with crack on ’em ,
    There’s another way , I hope you’re feelin’ ya Brother ,
    I know that cash be comin’ fast , but dog we killin’ each other ,
    Making bad moves trusting fools , caught up in crosses ,
    And you ain’t different from the rest player , we all done took losses ,
    Better shake it off , ’cause a real man would accept ,
    Responsibility and play the hand he was dealt ,
    See my shrink done even ran outta questions to ask and I’m still holding family animosity from the past …

    When everything around you is going wrong ,
    And hard times seems to last too long ,
    Your old school homeboys dead and gone ,
    The game don’t change keep pushing on ,
    Man I’m doing bad up in the streets – but I’m Blessed , I’m still livin’ … ”

    P.S. : You should do What Went Right With articles on Abukar / Abubakar , Bernie and other past commenters .

  5. Sorry for the lengthy rant . I actually listened to this Drake album in full . I haven’t listened to any of his material since “Hotline Bling” came out . Nothing has changed with Aubrey Graham . He’s still the same egotistical guy he was three plus years ago .

    P.S. : If you ever choose to do “What Went Right With” articles on some of the commenters on this blog I believe there are some people worthy of their own ” What Went Wrong With” articles . Ian H. Elliott , Jay Rock Jinx , Seedub05 , Damoi , Sam , Andrew J. Clark , Boaz Lamar and J. Eiland are names I can think of right off the top . Peace . ☮

    • I’m not going to cannibalise this site and start writing articles about individual commenters, whether they’re “wrong” or “right”. I’ll give a shout-out to all the followers of this site (past and present) including the most prolific commenters; Gary, abukar, Bernie, you, robyn1872, AngelFace, G, Didi, theelement, Ricardo, Darren Lai, elmontana84, Edward Howard etc. but commenting about commenters just doesn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things.

  6. I guess you’re right . It’s better to focus on corrupt celebrities like Drake and to rhetorically eviscerate them . It’s they who have the power to influence and mislead people on a large scale . Not an average guy like Ian H. Elliott .

    But , what do you think of Drake’s mysoginy and piggish sexual self-glorification ? This album included it seems to be a theme that runs through all of his work . I wonder why his legions of female fans , feminists or the “Me Too Movement” have never called out The Drakester on any of this ?

    • There’s always double standards from the mainstream media when it comes to their “chosen one”. The media will always defend their poster boys; Eminem isn’t racist or homophobic despite making racist and homophobic music, Dr. Dre was just “drunk” rather than a physical assaulter, and Drake is apparently a frigging feminist. To be fair, Drake’s lyrics are hardly the worst and he’s hardly the most misogynistic rapper out there but I agree, there will never be a bad word said about the man.

      I’ve never been a fan of Hopsin so I can’t really comment but banning his music video seems very over-reactionary. If something is in bad taste you leave it out there for everybody to judge, you don’t let certain people dictate what is acceptable and what is not.

  7. I will also add that mainstream media feminists continue to give Drake a free pass to say anything misogynistic that he wants in his music . Never have they attacked Drake in any meaningful way . Yet , an independent rapper like Hopsin got attacked by these same feminists for putting out a song about his experiences at adult massage parlours . ( Something Hopsin has done several times in real life . So he is rhyming about what he lives . Hopsin’s last album was called “No Shame” , after all . ) Hopsin had to take the YouTube video down for the song “Happy Ending” because of the pressure from media feminists .

    It’s funny how these same mainstream media feminists never said anything about the piggish content on “Scorpion” . 😐😐

  8. I’m not defending Hopsin’s attendance of adult massage parlours . But , I’m not damning his name either . And this is coming from a religious white Christian man who doesn’t drink alcohol , smoke marijuana , smoke tobacco , use street drugs or go to strip clubs . From Wikipedia :

    ” “Happy Ending” was released as the album’s second single on October 13th , 2017 , along with an accompanied music video , which portrays him visiting an Asian massage parlor and being given a massage and sex by Asian women in exchange for money . The music video received backlash as it presented Asian women in a racist and sexist manner , portraying them as being fetishized submissive sex objects , which are common negative stereotypes surrounding Asian women . It was further criticized for making light of a far more serious issue , as female sex workers in Asian massage parlors are actually victims of human trafficking and modern day sex slavery . The original upload of the music video was removed from YouTube due to nudity . ”

    Yes —- Drake on his latest album is free to say any self-glorifying sexist thing that he wants because the mainstream music industry is hideously corrupt . If you look at guys like Drake , Nas , Kanye West , Eminem , Dr. Dre and Chris Brown this is a terrible double standard . The indpendent emcee is punished and the mainstream shills are rewarded .

    Also , who are these mainstream Google hacks to “slut shame” sex trades professionals and assume all Asian women who work at massage parlours are stupid , naive , being abused or easily manipulated ? Some of them are using the money to pay for their university or they are single mothers or are supporting disabled or elderly family members . I believe for these and many other reasons brothels and adult massage parlours should be legalized , regulated and taxed in my home country of Canada .

    Who are rich (monogamous / married) politicians / legislators to tell women (or men , trans people , non-binary people , agender persons , as well) what and what not to do with their sexuality ?

    And fuck Drake for using his music as a veil for his true mysoginy .

  9. Also I should mention that sex trades professionals who work at adult massage parlours (far less than full time hours) make a good amount of money — more than the average full time worker . As if they would be working for free . Drake probably has an adult massage therapist on call 24/7 — as well as a regular R.M.T.
    . The greedy fucker !!!

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