HomeMusicReview: Drake, 'Scorpion'

Review: Drake, ‘Scorpion’

Looks like Drake didn’t get the memo. In a year where attention spans continue to dwindle, the hottest viral rap hits are under two minutes long, and even veterans like The Carters, Nas, and Kanye West released their shortest projects to date, Toronto’s favorite son returns with a 90-minute, 25-track double album. The nerve. The audacity.

Scorpion is defined by the contradictions, narcissism, and pettiness millions of fans have come to love from Drake, but the boy’s craft is at an all-time low. With over two dozen songs to sort through, listeners may find it harder than ever to distinguish between what’s worthwhile and what’s worth skipping. Tracks drag on with repetitive beats, stale flows, overindulgent outros, and inconsequential skits from the likes of Plies, Stefflon Don, and WBLK 93.7 DJ Al Wood.

The decision to split Scorpion down the middle into a rap-centric Side A and R&B-leaning Side B proves especially troublesome—Drake’s defining trait is his ability to effortlessly shift from rapping to singing, so why group so many similar-sounding tracks together? Perhaps this album was a different beast before May 29th, 2018, when Pusha T dropped the ruthless diss track “The Story of Adidon” and set fire to the quietly simmering rumors of Drake’s fatherhood. 

There are moments throughout where it’s clear Drake went back in the studio in the past month: “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world, I was hidin’ the world from my kid”, he insists on “Emotionless”, one of the few headline-worthy tracks here. Even then, as with several others on Scorpion, the track is more compelling for its beautiful sample work than any of Drake’s lyrics.

The prospect of unexpected paternity would be enough to humanize a different artist, but Drake chooses to spend more time critiquing the social media behavior of women and half-heartedly bragging about his success than on earnest reflection. When the time finally comes for Drizzy to grapple with fatherhood on album-closer “March 14”, a track directed at his son Adonis, he demonstrates a shocking lack of tact:

“Realize I gotta think for two now

I gotta make it, I better make it

I promise if I’m not dead then I’m dedicated…
…October baby for irony’s sake, of course

I got this 11 tatted for somebody, now it’s yours

And believe me, I can’t wait to get a hundred more”

Even when faced with something more substantial than sex and money, Drake makes it about his ego. The very end of “March 14” drives this point home even further with an interpolation Boyz II Men’s “Khalil Interlude”. “I’m changing from boy to a man,” he croons, but said evolution is utterly absent on Scorpion. Let’s hope for Adonis’ sake that his father grows up sooner rather than later.

Scorpion Rating: 4/10



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