Drake is at war.
Scorpion, the international megastar’s seventh solo album (IYRTITL and More Life are albums), comes at a time when his reputation is embroiled in the fiercest opposition of his career. Deadbeat dad allegations, and questionable social media retaliations during rap battles have hijacked the Scorpion roll out and held the public’s attention hostage waiting for Drake to pay enough attention to the issues to get it back.
For 25 songs, and 90 minutes, Drake addresses and takes aim at the battles we’ve all been waiting for, and a few that have been simmering for the majority of Drake’s career.
Here are all the battles he won and lost on Scorpion:
Drake vs baby rumors
Ever since Pusha T indelibly etched you are hiding a child into the national consciousness with his knockout song The Story of Adidon, the main topic people wanted Drake to address was the veracity of the claims, and he does so with some of the best writing on all of Scorpion.
On Emotionless he raps: I wasnt hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid/from empty souls that wake up and look to debate/Until you look at your seed, you can never relate. Some may perceive this as a cop-out, but celebrities of Drakes rarefied stature, like Beyonce and Donald Glover, attempt to control how much their child is exposed to the world, and the criticism concomitant with fame.
There may be cringe-worthy lines like she not my lover like Billie Jean, but the kid is mine (Emotionless), but Drake meticulously breaking down his internal struggles with being a single parent raised in a broken home, only seeing his child once, and celebrating when he found out he was a father on the confessional album closer March 14th is endearing enough for me to side with the lord of the north on this one.
Definitely a W for Dad Drake.
Standout Lyric: I wasnt hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from the kid/From Empty souls that wake up and look to debate/Until you look at your seed, you can never relate. (“Emotionless”)
Emotionless, a song by Drake on Spotify
Drake vs Pusha T
The only parts on Scorpion more predictable than Drake addressing baby rumors, is him taking veiled shots at Pusha T. The problem is that on the few songs where he responds to slander from Pusha, he sounds like hes tap dancing around the invisible barrier J. Prince established in his faux treaty, which leads Drake down a disappointingly contradictory path. To him, his foes are lucky that hes settled into my role as the good guy (8 Out of 10), but they should also fear that hell hire some help, get rid of these niggas (Mob Ties).
PointsOnTheBoard is a podcast where The Shadow League’s Managing Editor, Kyle Harvey breaks down the top stories from sports, culture and more. In Episode 4 of #PointsOnTheBoard we discuss: NBA Playoffs – Cleveland’s getting ran.
The same man who responded to photos of him in blackface with a tone-deaf note on Instagram that has since been deleted is sticking his chest out to rap niggas pulling gimmicks cause they scared to rap (“Non-Stop”). Did no one pop their head out of the OVO writers tent with a mirror and smelling salts to wake this man up to the reality that hes dissing himself with that line?
This is Pusha T L is the L that keeps on giving for Drake.
Standout lyric: Seen this movie 100 times, I know where its headed/Realize somebody gotta die when no onell dead it/Niggas gambling with their lives for some content/Thats the type of lottery that could get your top picked.- “Survival”
Survival, a song by Drake on Spotify
Drake vs social media
Drake has a strange relationship with social media on Scorpion. He both derides the clout chasers social media proliferates and gives a bit too much credence to what people say about him on certain platforms. On Emotionless he details a few women he knows that seek validation from strangers through captions and travel photos. But, a few lines before that, he admits to scrolling through life, fishing for praise.
On Scorpion, you get the sense Drake is one of the millennials who hates social media and hates that he loves social media. Unfortunately for Drizzy, there arent enough self-aware lyrics addressing that dichotomy for his fluctuating critiques on social media to not fall flat. He also sounds childish rapping about my mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts on the same “Talk Up” song as Jay- Z rapping about how he ain’t on the ‘Gram, they record who I am.
This is an L for Champagne Papi.
Standout lyric: I’m tryna see who’s there on the other end of the shade/Most times it’s just somebody that’s underage/That’s probably just alone and afraid/And lashin’ out so that someone else can feel their pain. (Emotionless)
Drake vs legends
Drake has embodied the ethos of the phrase kill your idols since his vicious bars on 2011s “Dreams Money Can Buy,” and Scorpion keeps the iconoclasm in abundance. Hes breaking speed records on roads these niggas paved (“Emotionless”), and his Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions (“Survival”).
Raps reigning king even goes bar for bar on the DJ Paul-produced “Talk Up” with Jay-Z, a former foe, and presumably one of the heroes he mentioned are going from bad to worse on album standout “Emotionless.” Hov’s verse may very well be championed in the land of the memes with his lyric I got your president tweeting, I won’t even meet with him/Y’all killed X, let Zimmerman live, streets is done.
Y’all Killed X, & Let Zimmerman Live -Hov https://t.co/EQuCMGweFG
Ya’ll killed X but let Zimmerman live. Streets is done.” (c) Jay-Z I feel a podcast episode coming on. Because. This line. Is just. You know what. Nevermind.
But Jay sounds uninspired bragging about the gangster life he survived, and his verse has that similar lethargic feel his “Pound Cake” verse had on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same album.
Sorry, but maple syrup Jordan gets the W against his idols.
Standout lyric: I cant even capture the feeling I had at first/Meeting all of my heroes, like seeing how magic works/the people I looked up to are going from bad to worse/Acting out of character even when they rehearse.-“Emotionless”
Drake vs heartbreak
Heres an unpopular opinion: Drake is low-key a creep to women on Scorpion. There are moments on the album that are, at best, of a scorned lover trying to reconnect, and at worst, of a scorned lover not above overstepping boundaries to stay connected. On Blue Tint he confidently says we not together but I get the info because Im nice to your friends/They shouldn’t have did it but they did. That sounds like the precursor to an order of protection against Mr. Graham.
Now, usually, listeners can reconcile Drakes ostensibly predatory behavior with the caring soul normally associated with him by the fact that his lyrics on love offer nuanced looks into its complexity. None of that is on Scorpion. Instead, we get half-baked, Hallmark card philosophies like I always felt like sticking around is the same as being stuck, and like guns with the ink in, youre getting under my skin (Jaded).
This is the saddest L Drake took on this album.
Standout lyric: none
Jaded, a song by Drake on Spotify
Drake vs Drake
For all of the emotional intelligence Drakes success is predicated on, he seems adverse to in-depth self-analysis. Hell say hes learning the true consequences of my selfish decisions on Nothing Was The Same track From Time, and a few lines later will tell an ex of his who is now engaged that shes settling. Scorpion has some of his most introspective bars of his career.
Is There More is a heat rock, and the closest we may ever get to Drake having existential quandaries. On the song, Drake ponders is there more to life than digits and bank accounts/is there more to life than saying I figured it out? The only gripe I have is the fact these self-reflective lyrics are few and far between on a 25-track, 90-minute album that addresses anonymous haters and clout chasing than they do diving into the man behind the music.
Im calling this one a split decision.
Standout lyric: Single father, I hate when I hear it/I used to challenge my parents on every album now Im embarrassed/to tell them I ended up as a co-parent- March 14th
March 14, a song by Drake on Spotify
To hear more reviews on Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ album, take a listen to Grass Routes Podcast’s breakdown.