Album of the Summer? A FULL review on Drake's Scorpion.
By Jalen Nash
Yesterday, Drake Dropped his SEVENTH studio Album, Scorpion.
As with any Drake album, the first twenty-four hours after its release are crazy. Media outlets declare it “Drake Day”, fans argue on whether it’s a classic (it’s not), and Twitter feeds are flooded with the latest relatable Drake quotes. All of this can be overwhelming.
Throughout his decade-long career, Drake has skated the line between styles: whether its R&B on Take Care, trap on What A Time to Be Alive or dancehall on More Life. If you put a Drake album on shuffle, you’ll never know what sound to expect. He switches styles often- which brings both praise and criticism from fans.
As a double album, Scorpion features twenty-five songs. With so many styles, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what you want to hear. To make it more digestable, we’ve classified the album by Drake-Type: ‘rapper-Drake’, ‘lyrical-Drake’, ‘R&B-Drake’ and ‘combo-Drake’.
Rapper Drake - ‘Rapper-Drake’ makes an appearance on about a quarter of this project. Like most of his songs in rapper-mode, they have a simple, hard knocking beat, designed to make heads nod. Once your head is nodding, these songs sound pretty good. Songs like Elevate, I’m Upset and 8 Out of 10 each follow this format. Over the beat, Drake flexes: rapping about his tremendous success and feeling like he is unstoppable.
“Never a question of could I, it’s should I?”- 8 Out of 10, Drake
On some songs, he plays off the styles of others. Non-Stop features ad-libs like “hit the floor” or “give me my respect!“. Popularized by Migos, and typically reserved for younger rappers, this is a new style for Drake.
On Talk Up featuring Jay-Z, you can recognize a flow similar as the late- Xxxtentacion’s on his breakout song Look at Me. While this may continue the accusations he stole the same flow on KMT, Jay- Z’s final line of the song, “Ya’ll killed X but let Zimmerman live?.. Streets is done,” seems to confirm that the similarities were intentional.
Mob Ties uses a similar background chords as the classic Nas song, Got Ur Self A... This song reflects on his frustration with the industry. He’s “sick of these niggas” wants to “hire some help (and) get rid of these niggas.”
Drake even used one of his own flows as inspiration. His wavy, stumbling flow on the track, Can’t Take A Joke, sounds a lot like the flow from his earlier song, 6 Man.
Lyrical Drake - ‘Lyrical-Drake’ only made a few appearances on this album. He raps about the consequences of his success, complicated relationships and problems with society. Like most of his lyrical songs, they used a classic sample with a simple, un-distracting beat to encourage listeners to focus on the lyrics.
Survival, is the intro track. Without the knocking beat, the emphasis is clearly on its lyrics. However, much like ‘rapper-drake’, on this track, Drake continues to rap about his success and greatness proclaiming, “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions.”
Emotionless is deep. On it, Drake raps about the people, relationships and accolades that have fallen short of expectations. He touches on our attention-crazed society and urges us to “Look at the way we live!” These comments lead to the notable bars, “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid.”
Is there More? is my favorite song on the A-side of the album strictly for its message. Rapping over a faded sample and looped beat, Drake searches for deeper meaning in his life asking, “is there more to life than digits and bank accounts?” … there is more.
Sandra’s Rose and March 14 are the most introspective songs on the album, as they address his personal life. On Sandra’s Rose he raps about the relationship with his mother, and overcoming obstacles to get to where he is today. He uses March 14 it to address the rumors circulating around his newborn son.
“I’m the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves.”- Sandra’s Rose.
R&B Drake - Much of Drake’s mainstream appeal comes from of his ability to make emotional and relatable R&B songs. Peak, Jaded and Don’t Matter to Me are some of the slower songs on the album. About unreciprocated love and complicated relationships, their tempos are kept by a looped knock and clap, which soothingly blends with Drakes high-pitched singing voice.
R&B Drake spices thing up on songs like, After Dark and That’s How You Feel? On After Dark, Drake recruits the talents of Ty Dolla $ign and Static Major for a smooth R&B song about a late-night hookup. That’s How You Feel? is about another one of Drake’s failed relationships: while he has feeling for the girl, she is too caught up in her own ambitions to reciprocate.
“I know you like to drink ‘til the sun up, grind ‘til you come up, work all winter, shine all summer.” –That’s How You Feel?, Drake
Summer Games sounds like a pop song. It reminds me of “Fireworks” without the dope bars to balance it out. It’s an ode to the quick (and destructive) nature of summer romances. Similarly,
Ratchet Happy Birthday also sounds gimmicky- an attempt to make another Birthday song in the lane of “Birthday Song” by 2 Chainz or “In Da Club” by 50 Cent.
Combo Drake - In many ways, Drake has transformed the relationship between hip hop and R&B. There are some fans that like Drake exclusively for his rap, or exclusively for his R&B. Lucky for them, Drake combined the two a lot on this album.
'If You Love the R&B Side and the Rap Side, This Album Is for You'- Kenny Burns, Music Executive
On the song In My Feelings drake uses a similar singing/rap flow as on his hit single, “Gods Plan.” Drake had a few different girls who said they’d never leave his side… they left his side, now he’s in his feelings.
On Blue Tint we get the first Drake-Future pairing since What a Time to be Alive. While it sounds nothing like the bangers on that project, it is still pretty nostalgic. Drake agrees singing, “what a time it is to be alive for this shit”.
Final Fantasy is a personal favorite. It starts with bars from Drake, saying “Yeah, I never really talk about dick that I wanna give you, Or places I wanna get to, Neck grab, head grab, Arch back, heart attack, cardiac.” These first few bars set the tone as he flows into song, complimenting a girl who’s sexy and “Freaky like the red-leather Michael.”
God’s Plan and Nice for What are the two other combo songs on this album. Released as two singles, it’s clear that Drake knows his strong suit.
Since 2009, Drake has been our therapist, our friend and our hit-maker. He’s touched our emotional sides with his singing. He’s been tested (and won) as a rapper. He’s given us multiple quotes of the day as a lyricist. And he’s carried himself to greatness with his combination of all of these.
Scorpion is a reflection of Drake's career: his ability to switch between styles, his ability to show emotions, his ability to make catchy hooks and his ability to capture the moment through song.
“The things I can’t change are the reason you love me”- Jungle, Drake
Ultimately, his versatility is the key to his success. While you may not like every song, or every style on this album, it’s important to remember there’s someone that does. Where Drake doesn’t hit you, he hits millions of others- which is why your timeline is filled with “🦂”. His reach is unparalleled, and in that sense, he should be considered one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all-time.