Summer 2018 has already been one to remember thus far with marquee album releases, but it also marks the return of Drake, who – as promised – came back to give us the summary. It’s quite the summary. Scorpion, the two-part, 25-song marathon of an album has had its share of anticipation. The hype intensified just before it’s release after Pusha-T threw a haymaker at Drake in the form of a diss record just one month prior: “The Story of Adidon.”
In the song, Push claimed Drake has a child who he’s hiding from the world, fired shots at his baby’s mother, Drake’s parents and even Drizzy’s right-hand producer/engineer Noah “40” Shebib. What came next was an internet frenzy. Memes, rumors, slander and debates flooded social media feeds.
Has Drake really been hiding a son? Nah, can’t be true… Right?
Fans waited for a response from Drake, practically drooling for another rap beef and iconic diss track – or even just an explanation to the allegations. We’ve seen a handful of great diss records from Drizzy – whether subliminal or unmistakable (see “Charged Up,” “Back to Back,” “Diplomatic Immunity,” etc.), but not this time. Instead, all fans got was a J. Prince cop out: claiming Drake had a track that would damage Push, but J. Prince advised him to take the high road and not release it. It was a disappointing, anti-climactic moment for all the drama, but it made sense. Drake had to be “the good guy.” This wasn’t something Drake could brush off and ignore though, it had to be addressed. He did just that, in more ways than one, on Scorpion.
The two parts on Scorpion allude to Drake’s two personas and styles. Part 1 has the heavy hitters – the bars – while part 2 exemplifies his ability to create catchy R&B hits (where he’s at his best).
But the real highlight of part 1 comes on a track called “Emotionless,” where Drake admits to having a son. Claiming “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid”. A testament to our new generation’s obsession with social media, public image, and status.
There are plenty of subliminal messages as well; some directed at Kanye: “Too rich for who? Yall just got rich again” Drake raps on “8 Out of 10,” as a direct response Kanye’s recent debt problems and his line on Ye’s “No Mistakes” where he says he’s “Too rich to fight you” directed at Drake. There’s no shortage of subs directed at Pusha-T and his exes either–nothing new here!
Personal life surprises aside, Scorpion reveals a handful of notable features. The guest list isn’t long, but it’s heavy. Drake somehow managed to keep a collaboration with Jay Z a secret. Outlandish–considering the two have been sparring with each other for the past few years. DJ Paul provided a sinister sample of N.W.A.’s “Dopeman” for the two heavyweights to rap over on “Talk Up”. The first time we’ve seen the two on the same track since Drake’s Nothing Was The Same (2013). I wonder if Drake is still cool with Pippen.
The remaining guests include Nicki Minaj (via soundbites), Future, Static Major, Ty Dolla $ign who can’t seem to miss on a feature). Michael Jackson also is featured on a track– Yes, the King of Pop is featured on Scorpion. How Drake’s team was able to clear an MJ sample, who knows; but it’s impressive.
Scorpion may be the most vulnerable we’ve heard drake since Take Care (2011), but don’t let it fool you. Even on an album so personal, Drake still provided songs to consume the charts.
Among others, “In My Feelings” stands out as chart monster, partially thanks to a viral dance challenge sparked by social media comic “Shiggy.” The internet is amazing. Nearly a month after its release, 21 songs from Scorpion are nestled on Billboard’s Hot 100, with “In My Feelings” at the pinnacle.
When you strip away the singles on Scorpion, you have a body of work displaying all of Drake’s strengths. Nonetheless, 25 songs doesn’t seem necessary. While Drizzy’s competitors decided to go with shorter-length albums this summer, he went against the grain. An album that has the same run time as The Lion King (1994). I found this album to be a better experience by hand-picking songs from the album and putting them into my own customized playlist. Scorpion can feel like task to listen from top to bottom. All 25 tracks are undeniably worth listening to. They just didn’t have to be in the same package.
Love him or hate him, Drake will go down as of the most colossal artists of this generation. Scorpion isn’t perfect, but it only adds to his legacy. October’s Very Own gave us something to add to the soundtrack of the summer once again.
By: Dallas Coronado