Real question..how do u want ur music to be remembered? By the quality or how much it sold?
— Aaron Busby (@MrBusby4o8) March 24, 2015
If you’re reading this, it’s too late, Drake dropped another project in the year 2015 – yes, DJ Khaled, “Another one” and of course the fans are getting their just thirsts satisfied with everything that Drake throws their way, which seems to be a lot. With 2015 being one of the more dominant years in his career since he released Take Care in 2011 and went on a run with features in 2012, it’s as though we haven’t gone one calendar year since 2009 without anything from Drake whether it’s original music or feature verses. It makes a lot of sense that his most recent collaboration with Future (who’s having a hell of a 2015) is entitled What A Time To Be Alive, because truly, it is a great time to be alive, despite all of the world’s negatives circulating (that’ll always be around, but in the grand scheme, the world is relatively safe). This has been a year that music fans have had most of their favourite new artists drop music whether they’ve been longstanding or brand new (I mean, Dr. Dre dropped an album and I awoke to news that Adele is doing the same in November). It’s a good time to be a Rap fan, because it’s one of the best years this decade and arguably one of the best in the past 10 years as a whole, but let’s just turn the metaphorical microscope over to a one Aubrey Drake Graham and focus on him. 3 studio albums between 2010 & 2013, and 2 mixtapes (who have been classified as albums by most) in the calendar year of 2015 with one more quarter still to go and there’s a chance Views From The 6 might drop before it ends. In the famous words of the glorified meme on Twitter “dis tew much” (translated: this is too much). And where people have been comparing Drake’s run this half-decade to Jay-Z’s from ’96-2003 (first of all – no), even the great ones take breaks so that they have an opportunity to be missed, and that’s where I come in with my hands folded across the desk at the Principal’s office.
I feel (I feel) that Drake needs to take some time off to do some other stuff, because where he is this generation’s perennial & consistent artist in terms of delivering the hits, here’s my problem; between all of the work he’s done, there’s not a chunk of variety within his music because it’s as though you get more of the same with some twists on production, but you pretty much know what to expect whenever a new song or tape comes about. He’s wrapped up in this thought process where he doesn’t feel as though anyone of his peers can challenge him. In the numbers game? Likely not. In the overuse-of-lines-on-social-media? Again, not happening. But in terms of quality music that doesn’t sound watered down for the masses and not stepping out of your comfort zone, he’s behind on that. Where we have a year that J. Cole released a self-involved album with no features (and went platinum), Kendrick dropping a Jazz-Rap-Funk infused album that is one of the best creatively expressed projects (sold a million worldwide), Lupe Fiasco dropping his best work since The Cool with Tetsuo & Youth, and even Big Sean coming back with a force to drop his best album to date, perhaps the key is stepping away from the booth to get a new sense of creativity that can transcend the sound from basic & routine to surprising & intuitive.
I partially blame the microwave era that we’ve embraced and because of the infinite access to music everywhere, it’s easy to listen & move on quicker than any other time period, where most people would be stuck on one album for months on end, heck, even a year or two. People (like myself) gripe about Frank Ocean not releasing anything since 2012, but in that same frustration, at least you have the opportunity to be like “damn, I really miss Frank Ocean’s music, man” while still having Channel Orange and/or Nostalgia/Ultra on a regular rotation. That’s the effect of providing good music for fans to simmer over. Even if you want to talk about The Weeknd. Everyone and their mother knew that Kissland was ‘meh’ at best, and he took almost 3 full years to drop a new album, while having some loosies scattered about. It’s the emphasis of missing the artist that builds up the anticipation of new music. In comparison, yes I know that Drake has fans that will always soak up anything he drops, no matter how mediocre it may be (I mean let’s be honest, that Tell Your Friends Freestyle was terrible and unnecessary), but even most of his Day 1s reaction to him dropping something new is “again?” We’ll still check for it, but again…more of the same. I’ll give him credit for If You’re Reading This however, because that was the most ‘different’ project since SFG, and the problem is that because of that sound influencing a new generation of artists, I feel like it’s necessary for him to switch it up a little bit (or a lot a bit). Now it’s been said (rumours are basically as good as Tabloid magazines) that Drake is focusing on a different wave of artistry that will step outside of his zone, and that’s great, but I think a break is needed. He’s fed the fans, the charts, and the hearts with his solo work, features, and collaborations over the course of these 6 years to date going back to him cementing his place in the game with SFG. Look, even Michael Jordan took time off to come back for the 2nd 3peat.
I’m not here to explain what is a real fan or a fake fan. Fans show up from the most recent single to being there from literally day one. However, there are the fans who just need to accept the fact that sometimes you have to understand that oversaturating the market isn’t all that good for business, regardless if he still puts up numbers. Numbers only mean so much because they’re always determined by having a loyal fan base. Example, the projection of WATTBA is 500K for the first week, and it’s not exactly Watch The Throne (more like Watch The Kids While I Go To The Store). When you reach a level of comfort, you’re inclined to not put out your best work because you just know what to expect. Aubrey could sing the word “Yes” over a course of 3 minutes with bad autotune, fuelled with cello strings in the background, and it’ll still go platinum. He’s built that hype around himself, but that doesn’t mean that he still needs to go away for a while. It’s like how Rihanna fans are highly anticipating R8 (if it’s even still called that) because it’s been 3 years since Unapologetic. I feel like that’s what Drake needs. An extended leave of absence to let his music marinate and for him to retool his artistry.
The beauty of having an opinion is that he could drop some genre-defining project tomorrow and this whole piece could be viewed as null & void, but from the perspective of a fan (certainly not as big of one since 2011), this is just how I feel. How do you feel? Should he stay or should he go? Are you cool with the steady stream of music? Are you in the contingent that would want him release music for 10 straight years? Let it all sink in, but turn off the lights as you head out.
That’s My word & It STiXX