New Album, New Team: How Drake, LeBron Are Underwhelmingly Connected

    Last week, the world realized that its superheroes are in fact, human. 

    First, it was Aubrey “Drake” Graham, the first true victim of Pusha T’s brand of ether. During this era of short 7-track albums, Drake goes against the grain that was created by his former Clipse nemesis and Kanye West, by providing a double disc album like Pac’s Life After Death or All Eyes On Me with his latest release, Scorpion.

    Instead, what fans received was a 12 and a 13 track spattering of random mediocrity from one of the most over-exposed creative personalities on the planet. We feel that we know much about Drake and now with Pusha T playing the exorcist of Graham’s ghosts, we know even more. However, the pressure to remain the best comes with a cost. And for Drake the toll is due. 

    Drake – I’m Upset

    Music video by Drake performing I’m Upset. 2018 Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records

    Thus far, the young man has turned in a solid body of work with enough hit singles in tow to fill a Brinks trunk. But in hip-hop, it’s about pushing the envelope. And unfortunately for his fans, Drake lies in the ethos of corporate, commercial rap music with a dash of true school culture to round out the pseudo-culture-vulture leanings.

    Drake has raised a generation of rappers to become crooners that actually believe they can sing. His start down this road and eventual success have warped the ear of many to what real harmony and melody sounds like. 

    With Graham you get so much of it, you too might be brainwashed with each track except if you hadn’t heard the sing-song style melodies and cadence exactly the same way, song after song. Drake constantly shows his deep Southern influences and reverence for the lyricism of his Young Money teammates on the album, but we all know that ship is sailing over the edge of a cliff.

    In that context, it makes the album sound more like Drake’s All Eyez On Me in the spirit of Tupac Shakur wanting to fulfill his label deal so he could be free. Drake underwhelms tremendously from track to track, aside from the syrupy pop hits we’ve already heard on the radio, and the effect a double disc is supposed to have is lost in translation. 

    Drake – I’m Upset

    Music video by Drake performing I’m Upset. 2018 Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records

    Like LeBron James, who has championship rings and made us all believers, from the pre-game magical hand chalking ritual to the ease with which he handled the competition, you can’t go at it alone and expect to win the gold. 

    Drake finally took an ‘L’ from Pusha T and in the process, it humanized what seemed like an impenetrable fame campaign. You can’t take away the Grammy’s, tours, and much more just like you can’t take away LeBron’s success in Miami and Cleveland, but that doesn’t guarantee more rings. 

    LeBron going to L.A. to incubate an emerging team is just that, an incubation period. He will shine, make the young guys better, and sell a lot of tickets. They will gain a true leader in the interim. However, the move can either do nothing to LeBron’s legacy or actually yield him another chip before he eventually retires.

    For Drake, regardless of the accolades, major media market bum rush and more, it is a pretty widely accepted notion that he crapped out against Push and is now reeling from the fallout. Is Scorpion a solid album that will be cited as one that contained some of Mr. Graham’s most pop-friendly singles? 

    Absolutely. Will it advance his campaign to considered rap’s unofficial GOAT? The jury is still out.  

    Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.