He’s arguably one of the biggest rappers in the world. But sometimes that just isn’t enough.
I continually remind myself that I ought to have listened to Drake’s most recent album. Actually, I’ve forgotten already. After a month, the reviews have circulated and the topic has been thoroughly discussed in popular culture. Usually, I would have been streaming it the day of because I love listening to music, even from artists I don’t necessarily like. Why hadn’t I browsed the 14-song tracklist as my other artistic friends had?
I then realized that Drake makes me feel icky. I’m over him. I’m tired of his crap. Yes, I enjoy some of his music, but I find him annoying. I find it slightly irritating. Yet why?
The term “ick” refers to the feeling of being immediately turned off when someone does anything that disgusts, bothers, or agitates you. They might use a baby voice or blot their nose with the back of their hand, for example.
But sometimes it’s difficult to pin down exactly what it is about someone that conjures up that strong, unpleasant stench of displeasure that makes you want to avoid them at all cost.
While many will disagree, I wanted to learn the truth because I believe that many more people will.
When I was researching Jorja Smith for a future essay, that’s when I first recall having feelings toward Drake. I accidentally came into a connection between the two. She was 19 and he was 30 years old. Fans believed that the couple’s relationship was hinted at by the lyrics of Drake’s song “Jaded” from his 2018 album Scorpion: We coulda waited, I wasn’t rushin’ differences in ages/ You’re old enough, but you’re still a baby. Oh, sure.
I’m not saying that people of legal age shouldn’t be able to date if both parties agree, but that wording is… dubious. Right? Speaking of talking with teenagers, Drake also came under fire a few years ago after pop diva Billie Eilish and Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things both admitted in interviews that Drake contacted them when they were both under the age of 18. Again, there is nothing wrong with a generational mentoring relationship, but why?
Additionally, Drake has an alpha-bro mindset that shows up in his “beef” with other rappers. The entire situation is, at its best, tiresome and shallow with no genuine depth. His most recent collaboration with Kanye personifies a yawn, and I’m still not convinced that it wasn’t all staged.
It appeared to be a feeble and tame effort at a Biggie/Tupac “beef” because they were both dating Amber Rose, both competing for the top place in the “rap game,” and had an on-and-off love/hate relationship that only ended when J Prince forced them to apologize to one another. It resembled a playground fight where more egos were hurt than anything else.
Then there was the dispute with Meek Mills over charges of ghostwriting, Tyga’s relationship with Kylie Jenner, and a fight with Pusha T after which the rapper revealed Drake’s secret son.
When I saw the 2014 video of him and Wiz Khalifa snorting marijuana on stage (which sparked the question, “Does Drake Even Know How To Smoke Weed?” -) I was shocked. Then, in 2019—a little too late, I’d say—his weed company More Life Growth was launched. It doesn’t appear that he does, by the way.
Next, there was the unfortunate Variety interview in which his father made an effort to defend R. Kelly. R. Kelly, indeed.
“I hate that it’s happening to him. There’s a reason why women come out after the fact. He has my support 100 percent,” Drake Senior said in the cursed interview.
“She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old. She’s one of my best friends in the world. All of my adult life I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me. She’s a living breathing legend in our industry,” Drake chimed, presenting her award.
“Waiting through that speech was probably the most uncomfortable part. I don’t like too many compliments; I don’t like to be put on blast,” Rihanna said in a 2018 Vogue interview where they describe her as “wincing” when they mention Drake’s name.
“We don’t have a friendship now, but we’re not enemies either. It is what it is.”
Drake unfollowed Rihanna on Instagram a short while thereafter. Think about making Rihanna feel icky.
The moment Drake was heckled on stage at Tyler The Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Music Festival, this ick became firmly embedded in culture and was visible to all. To be fair, and in my opinion, the only reason he received the shouts was because Drake was supposed to be the surprise headlining act and Frank Ocean was instead, but I suppose a boo is still a boo.
“Sorry Drake: You’re Not Cool Anymore,” read the reactive title from NME a week later.
“Once the vulnerable man who taught us about love and heartache, he’s now a moping mess. I understand everyone goes through heartache, but I don’t want to hear Drake cry over the same Susan for the next 10 years,” wrote Kyann-Sian Williams. Harsh, but it looked like Williams had the ick too.
The Washington Post wrote, “Drake Was Booed at a Music Festival Because He’s Drake.”
“Authenticity, an unofficial tenet of hip-hop since its early days, has always been a question when it comes to Drake,” Bethonie Butler said.
Now, if you’re looking for a more in-depth and balanced review of why Drake became a “clowned rapper” – as the celebrated platform HipHopMadness put it – look no further than their Youtube video “Why doesn’t hip hop respect Drake?”
“Undeniably, Drake is one of hip-hop’s biggest game-changers ever and has a good chance of becoming a bestselling hip-hop artist of all time,” narrator, Pro, says.
“But despite his big status, the shift in the masses from celebrating Drake to hating on Drake was quick and intense.”