The music world and Drake’s fans celebrated the three-year anniversary of Drake’s last studio album “Scorpion.” The sprawling 2018 double album offered several successful singles including “Nonstop,” “In My Feelings,” “I’m Upset,” “Nice For What” and the most popular song of Drake’s decade long career, “God’s Plan” which debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 charts, staying there for 11 weeks. The music video for “God’s Plan” and has received over 1 billion views on YouTube since the video premiered on Feb. 6, 2018, and the single received a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song the same year.
Following the 11-year anniversary of Drake’s 2010 debut studio album “Thank Me Later” on June 15th, Drake’s fans have had the rare opportunity to ruminate on the lifespan of the Canadian rapper’s career, highlighting the first and last studio albums which chronicles the evolution and consistency of Drake’s music. Both albums embody a rap feature from Jay-Z, but the albums are vastly different in that Drake’s hope and dreams in “Thank Me Later” had become realized over time, but in “Scorpion,” it is easy to recognize that the rapper had become angry, bitter and disappointed by his heroes. And the most glaring difference of both albums is that Drake had become a father during the time he was creating “Scorpion.” He has gone from being a boy to being a man, creating a continuation of his story that is at times uncomfortable and dark.
“Scorpion” can be considered Drake’s Black Album, which is a metaphor of an opus that is beautiful and penetrating but explores the underbelly of his perception of the world. The opening song on “Scorpion”––“Survival”––talks about his painful relationship with Jay-Z and the trials and tribulations he has experienced with violence and the lack of recognition of his accompaniments. He asks “Who do you really love? Well, that’s sure to be in question.”
The bones and DNA of the album is rooted in darkness, but Drake made sure to offer a nearly equal amount of songs where he is singing and songs where is rapping, wanting to give his fans a balanced opportunity to experience their favorite elements of Drake’s music.
The massive 25-track album is a nod to iconic artists like Biggie Smalls and Tupac’s legendary double albums “Life and Death” and “All Eyez on Me.” The album didn’t receive as much critical acclaim as past albums like “Take Care” and his career-defining mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” possibly because of the length of the album as he chose to steer away creating a concise, digestible collection of music that would be more appealing to critics.
“Scorpion” was released on the heels of his 2017 mixtape, a globalized music exploration entitled “More Life” and followed his 4th studio album 2016’s “Views” which won two Grammy Awards for the album’s bonus track, “Hotline Bling.”
But “Scorpion” holds nothing back. Drake is known for his deep personal soliloquies and ebbs and flows confidence and depression but this album defines itself for his examination of fatherhood and a new level of sensual, almost comforting bleakness mixed with pop offerings that offered a summer dance craze based on his song “In My Feelings.” Drake does not toe the line, he creates bodies of work that expand and grow over time, allowing listeners and fans to embark on sonic journeys that know no bounds unless one considers his consistent recycling of emotional content a limitation. In the case of “Scorpion,” Drake undoubtedly took a chance on creating such a lengthy album, but it turned out to be in his favor in the end.