“Late at night, I catch a buzz and I write.”
“D.A. got a witness, lawyer can’t explain it.”
“Behold the uncontrollable, I keep the whole world in drama.”
I know who loves me. I know who’s coming to get me if the pigs lock me in one of their government-issued cages. I know who’s going to let them thangs fly if they hear I’m shot and bleeding. I know who’s going to make sure my story is told properly after they put flowers on my casket. I be knowing.
Kids, don’t do drugs. But if you do, don’t be stingy. Share your drugs. Let me hit it.
I remain amazed at how people are more than willing to believe blatant lies. It’s like some twisted type of escapism. I guess it’s easier for them to believe a lie than it is to accept reality. I don’t need to be specific. You can insert your own pertinent example. You and I both know how nasty it is outside.
Drake released his 94th studio album last Friday, titled For All The Dogs. It’s a 23-track effort filled with guest appearances from the likes of 21 Savage, SZA, and Bad Bunny, amongst others. With the exception of his collaborative album with 21, I’ve purchased the last six Drake albums, including the fake Jersey Club album. I haven’t copped the latest release, mostly because I didn’t want to spend the $11.99 (I still purchase all my music in case you didn’t know) just yet. I’m going to get it. Drake is the overall best artist of his era not named Kendrick or Jermaine. Hold that thought...
Black America’s favorite podcaster, the incomparable Joseph Budden, had some choice words for Drizzy’s new album. He said that the project was a solid effort but contended that Drake hasn’t grown as an artist. Drake immediately fired back with a blistering IG post that accused Joey of hate and took direct shots at Budden’s [failed?] rap career and perceived jealousy. Some have contended that Drake “ether’d” Joe; others have chosen to agree with Joe. Where, exactly, do I stand on this American/Canadian standoff? Let’s talk about it...
To be perfectly clear, I stand squarely in the middle of this “beef”. Both men had their subjective points. I agree with both men to a certain extent on said points. I’m a Drake fan. I’ve been a Drake fan since So Far Gone, the mixtape that catapulted him to stardom (outside of Wheelchair Jimmy and Degrassi) and a deal with Weezy via YMCMB. He’s made music that I feel is genuinely amazing. Having said as much, I’ve always contended that NONE of Drake’s studio albums are what I consider to be classic material; Nothing Was the Same came closest IMO. I do feel that So Far Gone is a classic, and even though it was initially released as a free mixtape, it has since been repackaged as a “for sale” release. That makes it his only legitimate classic album to me. This doesn’t mean that Drizzy hasn’t released classic material; he has what would amount to a double (or triple) album of classic songs/singles. It simply means that none of his label releases have met my personal threshold for the classic moniker. I feel that this is the result of the crux of what Budden said. Drake hasn’t truly grown as an MC. He’s made legendary growth as an artist and game-changer, to be perfectly clear. But as an MC I feel that he’s been stagnant for some time. Drake has chosen to mimic the sound of what’s been popular on the scene. The first example I can think of is when he jumped on “Versace.” I’d never heard of Migos (I was in my “most of this new shit is trash” phase as a rap junkie), so having Drake on the track made me want to listen, as Drake had already established himself as a stalworth in the rap game by that time. Let’s be honest – Drake jumped on the track and mimicked what’s now regarded as the “Migos sound.” He did an excellent job. That track catapulted Migos into mainstream limelight. They have since gone on to become the best group of their era. RIP Takeoff. Drake continued the trend of hopping on up-and-coming artists’ songs in the following years. How many of y’all remember “Look Alive” by BlocBoy JB? Exactly. Apparently, Drizzy continued the tradition on FATD, featuring up and coming artist Yeat on the track “IDGAF.” I did some quick research on Yeat. He’s a young Cali artist that is a part of the sub genre punk rap, which some have associated with mumble rap but is officially titled Twizzy language. I am actually listening to the track as I type. Yeah...if I do purchase this album, “IDGAF” will be a smooth skip for me, doggie.
This was the perfect segue into Joe’s “angst” for Drake’s new music. Drake’s “willingness” to incorporate new artists and their styles into his repertoire is a part of his “stagnation.” Does it move the needle for him as an artist? Yes. It continuously allows for his “style” to be current, which is almost always endearing to the average listener. Does it stagnate him as an MC? Yes. Stylistically, I couldn’t distinguish the 23-year-old from the 35-year-old on the track. Herein lies the issue. For Drake to truly be remembered as timeless, his sound must evolve organically. Jumping on the next artist’s popular song and mimicking their style isn’t the route to evolution. I understand that his ardent fans disagree. I’m not mad at them. If the product is official, why question it? You question it because a lot of us feel that Drake has the ability to step his game up lyrically and stylistically. I think back to his additional verse at the end of the “Aston Martin Music” dirty extended version. His flow was immaculate. That man left earth. “And no, I’m not saying that I’m the nicest, I just live life like it.” At that point, I thought that Drake would eventually claim his seat at the table of great MCs. What followed was the current recipe. That song is over a decade old. At the end of the day, I think this is what Budden was trying to convey. It always comes across as hate if it’s any type of criticism. That’s how popular culture is wired these days. Does Drake need to evolve for popularity’s sake? Fuck no. For history’s sake? That depends on who you ask. I don’t even have an answer, as perception is reality nowadays. There’s a percentage of listeners who already consider Mr. Graham to be the GOAT. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to being the GOAT MC. As far as the GOAT artist? Shit, he may already be there. Congrats on the latest release, Drizzy. Keep on doing what you do. Joey and I are in the minority. Mr. Budden, you don’t usually miss. You’re on point as usual.
Y’all thought I was going to let Aubrey get away with that fuckery he posted on IG? Y’all must got me all the way fucked up. Sure, Budden’s rap career didn’t reach the heights many of us initially thought it would. But Joseph’s legacy is not limited to “Pump It Up.” That man made some really good MF music, both as a solo artist and as ¼ of the Slaughterhouse collective. A Loose Quarter is one of my favorite mixtapes EVER. “So Good” and “So Hard” are bona-fide classics to my trained ears. That man was an elite MC. I will not let you casuals forget his Mood Muzik series. Some would contend that Budden’s candid nature and willingness to speak on issues of the mind, heart and soul made him a predecessor to the “Drake sound.” And, and...wasn’t Aubrey once a vocal supporter and fan of Joe Budden the MC? Y’all correct me if I’m mistaken. And I refuse to let you casuals forget when Budden dropped that 4-piece diss collection to which Drizzy never replied. The irony in Drake’s IG novel is that he was silent when Joe was an MC and repeatedly dissed him on Front Street in broad daylight. Once again, there was nary a reply. To diss him and attack the worth of his career now that he’s retired was a low blow. But shit, I play without a ref every time I step into the arena. I’ll allow it.
Welp, that’s all, folks. I didn’t know the Drizzy/Budden segment would take up so much copy. (Sly Stone voice) I’m through, mane. I promise the first audio #MNR soon come. Matter fact...
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P.S. – I’m never calling Twitter X.