Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ruining a Good Thing

Question: Is it possible that simply by becoming the "in" thing, that someone could lose all credibility and likability?

That's what I've been struggling with the last few months as a certain former teen-drama star has become the new Lil' Wayne in hip hop. Drake. Right then you either fawned to near fainting, began awkwardly singing "Best I Ever Had", said "that boy's the future", or you all the sudden got a bad taste in your mouth. I happen to now fall in the very last category. When I intro'd dude for the first time on my blog, he was catching stride but not yet even close to a household name. Now he's ... a household name. Somehow his mixtapes completely transformed without ever being touched in my iTunes. Three efforts by an up-and-coming artist, only known to teenage girls as "Wheelchair Jimmy" on Degrassi, used to be overlooked and darn near underground classics. The guy could throw around a metaphor pretty hard and then later came on with a little bit of singing to balance this catchy, well-rounded approach to his music that could possibly hit a target demographic pretty effectively if given the right lane.

Apparently the right lane was a bunch of songs with Lil' Wayne. The tattooed gremlin freak who has been inauspiciously running commercial and internet rap music since a garbage feature on the Destiny's Child comeback single, "Soldier", had a new lil'er bro who he wanted the world to hear. A few featured autotuned moans and poop metaphors later and the entire world now had a face to the future of hip hop! A dying genre was now renewed and the balance of power was settled as insurance just in case Kanye stayed eight-oh-eighting while his heart kept breaking. He had a brand new revolutionary sound that would push rap into the next decade and provide the next generation of dudes a role model and girls a heart throb.

And just what did this new musical savior bring to the game that wasn't being brought before? On his breakthrough street single, "Brand New", he sang in autotune while questioning if any of his sexual advances and techniques were of different quality than his woman's past experiences. It's just what the world needed; a rapper using the T-Pain voice to sing about sex! Oh, but it didn't stop there! How did the prodigy follow up his magnificent foray into the spotlight? He dropped a guest verse on the Young Money posse cut, entitled "Every Girl", in which the chorus is "Cuz we like her, and we like her too ... I wish I could f*** every girl in the world, I wish I could f*** every girl in the world, I wish ..." and he asks the given girl he's met at this party to remind him of her name because he's exceeded his quota of alcoholic beverages, passing the threshold of sobriety, and can't separate her from the multitude of sexual playthings he's met at that given party/club/bar/orgy. I don't know about you, but I think the music industry has sorely been depraved of misogynistic binge-drinking anthems. And with such lyricism that hasn't been seen in ages, I can't wait until the Kidz Bop version has been unleashing to fully tap this song's teaching potential to a broader audience. But Drake wasn't content with simply tearing down these two previously unapproached walls in rap music; he had a third single as a clincher to cement himself in legendary, boundary-destroying hip hop lore forever.

"Best I Ever Had" is his current radio-dominating hit, a groundbreaking love story of a successful man who has an amazing relationship with a woman whom he cares for very much. Their relationship is so well founded that they skip all other antics and get straight to the Fred Flintstone (... bed-rocking). She's so proficient in the acts in which they partake that the man passionately indulges to her that she is "the f***in' best, you the f***in' best, you the f***in' best, you the f***in' best, you the best I ever had." But that's where the plot thickens to a level of unparalleled genius. The woman gets hounded by her best friends because, though the man cares for her deeply, he seems to be eerily unreliable in how much he's actually there to spend quality time with her. And on top of that, there are ... rumors going around. Is it possible? Could he in any sense of humanity actually be unfaithful? A successful entertainer who only shows up for physical favors and could possibly be doing the same with other self-respecting, strong women ... how could that be? And that's when it hits you! Spoiler: This story is not only about the individual woman in verse one! The man tells every woman that he has sexual encounters with that she is the best he has ever had! Do you get it? Oh, the irony. This Drake fellow is on some other level of musical ingenuity that simply cannot be touched or even fathomed by anyone in the game right now. It's quite remarkable. And that's not even speaking of the video he and Kanye dropped for it (which I'll let this parody video explain).

Now let me do my clean up on this smidgen of a column I got going right here. I have no problem with Drake's music. He defined his sound before the radio spins came into play, so I can't exactly call him a sellout as the music that's becoming popular was made prior to everything. Now while he's sonically inseparable from a Trey Songz/Weezy ripoff to me, that's beside the point. I respect his catchy song-constructing ability and the fact that he's taken full advantage of the connects that he's assembled in the industry. He has all the right in the world to become a huge artist and get more money than any other new rapper going. I mean, I still sweat his joint "Successful" with Songz, regardless of everything I just wrote. But what I don't respect is the average unintelligent music fan who puts Drake on a pedestal above anyone else in the game. Do not act as if he's the only emcee out there who can hold a tune. Cee-Lo, Phonte, Andre 3000, Mos Def, and plenty others should burn down your house if you do. Do not act as if dude's spit game is actually that nice. He goes for easy punchlines with an actual, respectable eye-opening line sprinkled in every third verse or so. And while he's going to be getting features on everybody's singles approximately for the next two and a half years, do not claim that he's doing something to change the game, no matter how Jay-Z, Mary J, or Jamie Foxx would tell you differently to coercively promote their personal ventures pending on dude's buzz. My God. I will personally shoot you in the face with a Nurf gun full of appropriately shaped glass shards if you do.

Alright ... I'm done. Go back to humming along with that stupid song on the radio with your idiot bandwagoning friends. You're the reason I can no longer enjoy that stupid So Far Gone mixtape that I used to actually play on repeat. Ugh.

... but do take my word for it. iTunes Drake "Best I Ever Had" link


  1. first time reading this blog... nice, for sure, will probably visit again.
    On Drake - you say you liked him, but aren't so sure now. Did his music change, or did your view of the music change? And why?

  2. people get big, deal with it. im no bandwagoner i hear shit on hiphopearly that i like, i will listen to it. and lil waynes best shit was da drought 3. he does that autotune now to be more versatile, like he did when doing rock songs. dont hate.

  3. his music didn't change. like i said in the paragraph under the video, he had his sound and THEN the radio jumped on it. maybe i just enjoyed his music more when it was "underdog" status. it definitely isn't his fault, but it just bothers me to ever hear someone call him the best rapper out or the future of hip hop.

    and i guess i took it at face value and enjoyed it at first, but when he became popular, i started looking for real reasons as to if his music was quality or not and couldn't find many. he just mostly brags heavy or rhymes about sex.

    but my only real purpose in writing this i guess was to finally have an all out vent about the dude. i like wayne, but i don't like how people perceive wayne. i like drake, but i don't like how people perceive drake. that's all.

  4. well, wayne and drake are def not the best rappers, but wayne is up there when it comes to rappers who the masses can listen to. true lyricists, who treat hip hop as art, are above the average person intellectually, and therefore the greatest MCs usually go unheard by far too many.
    it's more of a balencing act with these guys - too much lyricism and you get no money, not enough and the "purists" dont even want to mention you. just because wayne and drake aren't rapping about anything profound doesn't mean they aren't doing it well

  5. same dude from before. i will say wayne is good one of my faves. BUT, when i want to listen to real shit, songs that have real good meaning i listen to mr. lif, cannibal ox, and atmosphere. I swear some of their lyrics are unreal. I also like brad new for a rock band they are underground too, and have great lyrical meaning.


so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?