Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and we’re going to talk about Drake. Need I say more? Okay, I might need to say a bit more.
Drake has become one of the most recognizable names in modern hip hop. He’s basically become the poster child of pop rap music. Drake was one of the first people to popularize the style of “sing-rapping”, and if you turn on any rap station nowadays, you know that Drake has had a lot of influence on modern culture. He’s been making major waves this year with multiple hit singles (which I’ll get to in this review) and features. Hell, he single-handedly got someone on to the XXL Freshman List for 2018, because don’t tell me you ever listened to BlocBoy JB before “Look Alive”. His beef with Pusha T also got his name out there some more before the album, so everyone was ready for this album to drop. But, does it live to the hype? That’s what we’ll find out. This album is twenty five songs long, so I’ll try to keep my analyses of the tracks short, but I’ll make sure you all know my opinions on every one (because that’s what I’m here for).
Before I start, though, there are a couple songs I have already reviewed that are on this album, so if the name of a song shows up blue, you can click it and find a more fuller version of my thoughts on the track.
This album is actually two discs, so this is the intro track for “Side A”, and to be honest, it’s a pretty good intro track. The first disc of this album is focused more on Drake’s rap/hip-hop side of his music than his R&B side, and having him rap the whole way through this song makes it a good opener. Not only is the beat really nice, he also has some clever lines like “All of this disorder, no addressin'” and “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions”, so this is definitely a track worth listening to.
Already, we’re dipping down in quality a little. I feel like this song is a watered down version of “Look Alive”, which I mentioned earlier was a hit that he did with BlocBoy JB, and since both songs have the same producer, they sound very similar. But, I think Drake put a lot less thoughts into the melodies on this song. The stuff Drake sang on “Look Alive” really sticks with you, but nothing from this song does. Also, I don’t like the sample that much.
This is one of the many songs on this album that basically offers me nothing of value as a listener, so I don’t remember much from it that well. It is more memorable than some of the other songs later in this album, but there was only one thing that stuck with me in this song; The beat doesn’t fit well with Drake when he sings in his upper register. That’s about all I can say.
Gosh, it’s going to take me a looong time to write this review…damn…
Luckily, Drake decides to throw us a bone for this song. The way the sample is used with the beat in this is phenomenal. On this song. Drake talks about his perception of fame, and we get some pretty telling lyrics, like talking about his past idols and the dangers of social media. It’s truly a highlight of the album, as everything it has going on in it works to the song’s favor, so it is definitely not one you should skip.
#5: God’s Plan
I’ve covered this one before, so let me make it quick. The beat is trash, Drake’s flows are trash, and the lyrics are a sloppy combination of all the Drake-isms he could muster. I try to avoid this track at all costs.
#6: I’m Upset
Drake comes with another dud on the album for this single. The beat is nothing impressive, and the lyrics are pretty petty, but the most offensive part is Drake’s flow. He goes up on the end of every line, kind of like what Imagine Dragons did on “Thunder“, but sounds so incredibly whiny when he does it. It’s like listening to a child! If I wanted to listen to an immature kid rapping, I’d just find one on Soundcloud.
#7: 8 Out Of 10
I wasn’t really into this song the first time I heard it, but it’s positive qualities have made me more attracted to it after a few listens. The glitzy, glamorous beat is very well produced, and Drake handles the subject matter of talking on his immense amount of fame and success quite finely. My favorite lyric probably has to be “The only deadbeats is whatever beats I been rappin’ to”. The one major downside is that awful Plies outro. Like, nobody cares about him anymore. I bet you haven’t heard his name in over a decade. I have no idea why he was sampled on here like this.
#8: Mob Ties
Sorry Drake, but sampling Nas won’t make this song any less forgettable than it already is.
#9: Can’t Tell A Joke
Two incredibly forgettable songs in a row. I would give Drake an award for that, but I already forgot what the award was for.
#10: Sandra’s Rose
This song is pretty much the same as “8 Out Of 10”, but that doesn’t make it any less of a good song. The beat is is kind of mellow, but it still feels big and important. Drake’s lyrics are good here, too, as he comes with witty lines like “Every title doin’ numbers like I’m Miss Adele” and “N*ggas want to hang but I’m too busy doin’ dirty work/Hit ’em back and say we’ll link up on the 33rd”. So, it’s a decent track.
#11: Talk Up (ft. JAY Z)
The best part about this song is, without a doubt, the beat. DJ Paul is the sole production credit for this song, so I have to praise him. The way the “Dopeman” sample is used is epic, as it puts a modern spin on the old song. When it comes to the artists, though, the song is a bit lacking. Drake’s verse was pretty bland, and it’s not hard to tell that Jay didn’t put his best foot forward for his verse. Nonetheless, I would not call it a bad song.
#12: Is There More
Closing off “Side A”, or the first disc, this song takes the route the first track did by rapping throughout the whole track and skipping out on a chorus. Personally, I think this is an underwhelming ending. There were some good tracks in this first part, and this song doesn’t really encompass that. The worst part about this track, though, is that whenever I listen to it, I always think my name is being called for some reason, and that’s because of the weird, spacey beat. I can’t really hold this against the song, since it’s more of a personal thing, but I really don’t like that.
This is the first track on “Side B”, and the whole second disc focuses more on Drake’s R&B side rather than his hip hop side. Since this is the intro track for the second disc, I think it represents “Side B” perfectly…in that it sucks! I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though, so let’s just focus on this song in particular. The autotune on Drake’s voice sounds terrible, his lyrics are kind of all over the place, and the grainy synth used after the chorus is garish enough to make me cringe. Oh, this review just got soooo much longer.
#14: Summer Games
Luckily, we get a slight increase in quality after “Peak”. “Summer Games” is about Drake feeling heartbroken after a rocky relationship, and his lyrics are less self-satisfying and conceited than I’ve heard in some of his other R&B songs, so I’m glad for that. Like “Talk Up”, the beat is the best part of this track, as the bouncy keyboard synths actually give the song a little bit of a summer feel. This is far from one of the worst tracks on this second disc, but it’s not exemplary either.
This song perfectly displays the conceit in Drake’s R&B songs I was referring to in “Summer Games”. He talks about the crumbling of his relationships and blames it all on the other person. This is not terrible for all songs, for it could work in some ways, but when this motif appears in a multitude of Drake’s songs, it comes across as extremely short-sighted. Listening to this, it becomes much clearer why he hasn’t settled down with someone yet.
#16: Nice For What
This was another Drake song I reviewed before, and it’s one of the best tracks on this disc. The beat is superb, and Drake’s feminist lyrics actually work. Good job, Drake.
I adore the melancholy, melodramatic beat, but that’s about the only good thing on this track. I mean, you can really tell Drake wants this relationship in the song to work out with lines like “You and your sister/Too hot to handle”.
#18: Ratchet Happy Birthday
I honestly can’t tell whether this song is supposed to be taken seriously. I mean, it kind of sounds like a troll song, but the lyrics are taking themselves pretty seriously. If you really want a birthday rap song, just go listen to “In da Club”.
#19: That’s How You Feel
This has to be the most forgettable tracks on this whole project. Like, when I look through the tracklist, I always forget this one is on here. The only memorable part is the fact that the refrain is a live Nicki Minaj performance, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the song.
#20: Blue Tint
“Blue Tint” probably stands out the most on “Side B” just by how different it sounds from the other songs on this disc. While it feels lyrically out of place from the other songs on “Side B”, the beat is actually okay, and Drake has some pretty catchy vocal melodies on this. I would most likely not go out of my way to listen to this song again, but I would not turn it off if I just wanted something to listen to without caring about the lyrics.
#21: In My Feelings
I’m genuinely surprised no one told Drake how terrible this song is before he released it. Like, he’s trying to get with FOUR DIFFERENT GIRLS on this song. I can only think of that one SNL sketch where Eli Manning is playing a guy in court who has to reveal his fifty-some text messages to girls all saying “you up?” or “what’s up?” to try to get some “love” so he can prove his innocence, and that’s not a good way to portray yourself. The samples are also used terribly. They’re spattered throughout the song like the engineer just pressed a bunch of random keys to place them, and they sound awful. The “Lollipop” sample isn’t even in the right key, and he uses the same sample from “Nice For What” multiple times! How has no one noticed this? But, I have to move on, because we still have more tracks to cover.
#22: Don’t Matter To Me (ft. Michael Jackson)
The instrumentals on this are really good, and Drake put some good effort in his lyrics for this song, but the worst part is actually Michael Jackson. It’s not his fault, obviously, since these are posthumous vocals, but they put so many effects on his voice that it barely even sounds like him anymore. I’m honestly a little angry that they treated the King of Pop like this. Just let the man rest in peace!
#23: After Dark (ft. Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign)
On this track, Drake tries to appeal more to older R&B fans. While I kind of like Ty Dolla $ign’s verse, I’m not a huge fan of this song. It just doesn’t really appeal to me. I could understand why someone would like it, though, so just take my critique with a grain of salt.
#24: Final Fantasy
Drake actually decides to rap for the first time on “Side B” for the penultimate track of this album. It’s not too bad, with the line “I hope that the apocalypse is the only thing that doesn’t come now” actually making me chuckle the first time I heard it. But, for what the subject matter is, I guess it could be a bit…dirtier? Also, the outro sucks, so that does not help the song’s case.
#25: March 14
Finally, the last track, and the album leaves on a good note! This is the first time Drake openly talks about his relationship with his son on this album, and it’s really great! He goes into details that I would never have expected him to. The low-key beat fits well, too. The outro, like the previous song, is a bit weak, but for this song, it fits very well with the themes and even expands upon them, so I’ll give it a pass.
This was a long album, which means this review has gone a bit long, so I’ll try to keep this finally summary short, but there is a lot to unpack. Frankly, I’ve never listened to a Drake album in full before, and I was expecting it to be nothing more than a decent project, but I was really let down. Firstly, the album is way too bloated. Clocking in at 90 minutes, there are a lot of songs that could have been cut to make this a better experience. In an album that long, variety is key, but with his R&B songs and hip-hop songs being split onto two discs, listening to this whole thing all the way through is a chore. While both discs have their ups and downs, the second disc is demonstrably worse than the first. Most of the R&B on here feels lackluster, and when it isn’t, there are many other factors that play into its badness, whether it be the lyrics or the flows or whatever. And again, like I said, there should have been cuts on here, even within the tracks. There were so many unnecessary outros to try to make this album sound more important than it is, and that just gets on my nerves. At this point, I think Drake believes he does not have to try as hard anymore because he will still get the views, and with 25 songs, he’ll get many more individual song streams than if he were to make a 10 or 15 track album. This lack of effort, though, just brings the album down.
My favorite track is “Nice For What”, which, ironically, is on the second disc. The beat is a big factor in this, but Drake also has some great lyrics that are very empowering, and it’s something no one would expect from him. My least favorite track is “In My Feelings”. “Peak” was a close second, but “In My Feelings” is so broken on a technical level that I had to deem it my least favorite. Plus, the lyrics make him sound very desperate, and it’s pretty pathetic.
Overall, I would give this album a 2.5 out of 10. Do you agree?
Thank you for reading my “Scorpion” review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have a song or album you would like to see reviewed, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep listening to good music! I know I will.