Plot Twist: We actually didn’t need an ‘all rap’ OR ‘all R&B’ album from Drake
By Alexis J
Scorpion was just okay as f.
If you’ve been following me and my writing thus far (you can even go a few posts back), you know that I champion Drake as my favorite artist time and time again.
So critiquing him is never easy, but I have to be fair!
After a couple days of digesting I realized that #Scorpion is not a summary at all. It’s spaced out, seems like Drake was trying to hit every mark that would make it acceptable for everyone (and streams). A few definite hits on there, but still.
— DJ 100 Degrease (@DJJordanJetson) July 2, 2018
Knee jerk reaction, Scorpion is his Blueprint 2. The high spots are high, but it seems bloated. No real cohesion, just a collection of good bops and some songs that could’ve been on the cutting room floor
— Kazeem Famuyide (@RealLifeKaz) June 29, 2018
My first thoughts on #Scorpion are:
Side B > Side A#RatchetHappyBirthday is one of Drake’s worst songs.
“8 out of 10” is as close as we will get to a response and it is weak as hell.
I’m ready to see the ladies dancing to “In My Feelings” all summer.
Not feeling the MJ feature. pic.twitter.com/eWz2L44P7f
— Nigel D. (@NigelDPresents) June 29, 2018
Once again, I have no expert background knowledge or experience in the music industry so if you’re looking for that kind of review, google is your best friend. I, however, would hope you are here because you are just a casual hip-hop and r&b fan like myself who has an opinion on the music that you take in on a day-to-day basis.
So here it goes.
My first take: The album was too long
It was just way too much to digest. I actually couldn’t even remember what content matched with what song title when people asked me about it after I was already 3 listens in.
“That’s How You Feel”?- ‘Oh, yeah, that’s the one with Nicki talking on it right?”
“In my Feelings”?- ‘Wait, that’s not the same song I was just talking about?”
“Nonstop”?- ‘Is that even on the album? Oh, that’s all the way at the top… what’s the intro even called again?”
It was tooooo much. And granted, I’ve enjoyed double albums before and do believe they can be successful. I’ve also taken into account that Drake’s last album Views was 20 songs compared to an additional 5 on Scorpion.
So why did this album feel so exhausting to listen to?
Perhaps it was Drake’s own exhaustion in his tone from song to song. He actually says “I’m exhausted and drained. I can’t even pretend,” on “Emotionless.” But Drake has echoed sentiments of being fed up with everyone and everything before, so maybe that’s not why, I thought to myself on the fourth go-round.
Was it because the album is on a streaming platform and it’s physically structured like a run-on playlist?
I admit I do miss the days of (dare I say it) COMPACT DISCS. I liked having the thick packaging of the I am… Sasha Fierce double disc and being able to pause my ears and listening experience when switching from one disc to the other. That small 30 second break mentally prepared me for more music to come, while cueing up a mood switch from “If I were a Boy” vibes to “Single Ladies.”
And even that project was 46 minutes compared to Scorpion’s 1 hour and 20.
But I love Drake almosssssssst as much as I love Queen Bey, so I should have still been welcoming this album into my ears like a kid on Christmas morning.
And then on my fifth listen, as I got to the 12th and last track on Side A cleverly titled “Is There More” it finally dawned on me.
My second take: I don’t want to hear that much rapping from Drake. I also don’t want to hear 13 songs of singing from Drake.
As much as black twitter begged for Drake to make a rap album, complained that he sings too much… as much as us emotional women (and guys too) fantasized about an all R&B album from Drizzy over the years (which he clearly acknowledges in his album description)… the truth of the matter is, I think that Side A, Side B formula played to his detriment this time around.
By the time I got to “Can’t Take A Joke” I was completely uninterested in what Drake had to say. Was he even saying anything?
Yes, Side A includes some melodies, and Side A also has songs with really good content or catchy bars like “Emotionless”,” 8 out of 10” and “Sandra’s Rose.” But I just got tired of hearing Drake rap in THAT particular order. (and I do listen to albums in order. It matters. If you listen the first time around on shuffle, you can’t be trusted)
Then once I got through Side B, I was tired of hearing Drake sing. I skipped past “Peak”, “Summer Games”, “Blue Tint” and even the song with Michael Jackson “Don’t Matter To Me.”
And this is not to say that the songs I skipped were BAD songs. I actually don’t mind the songs as individuals.
What I’m saying is that Drake has been so successful thus far because he CAN and DOES do BOTH. He has mastered the art of mixing melodies with incredible bars so that while you’re listening to an album like Take Care, Views or IYRTITL (IN ORDER) you don’t know what kind of track you’re going to get next.
This point is even further proven in the fact that many people said they plan on taking a good 13-14 songs off of the entire project and making a playlist in their own preferred order.
— bee. (@_mszBee) July 2, 2018
Drake NEEDS that balance…and so do we. I commend him for hearing us out (even though he called us out for complaining) and attempting to give us the best of both worlds.
I just think he needs to stick to combining those worlds into one.
Final notes on the album:
Most of the songs were TOO current and make for less replay value (thanks Pusha :/ )
“Talk Up” was a waste of a Jay-Z collab- Hov’s verse was fire, but did they even know they were on the same song? Still dk what that song is about.
“Survival” is Drake’s weakest intro thus far.
The “In My Feelings” mashup is doing way too much for my liking, but I’m sure it will bang in the club.