DRAAAAAKKKKEEEE, The Sensitive Rapper That Changed Hip-Hop
If you were to ask DJ Kool Herc when he was back in that Bronx’s basement godfathering in hip-hop, if a rap artist would ever break one of the Beetles' records, I’m sure he’d say no. I’m sure he’d be so baffled by such a question that his rebuttal would be who’s your dealer, confident that you were high. In the years since that basement party, hip-hop has grown into this ever-evolving octopus adopting new genres like sprouting tentacles, that spans across the entire globe shaping popular culture. In hip hop’s continued metamorphosis it has birthed Drake. Only Drake is capable of breaking the 54-year-old record set by the Beetles for having the most simultaneously-placed songs on Billboards Top 10. The previous record was five. Drake had seven just last year, in 2018 when he released his fifth studio album, Scorpion.
If you would’ve asked me ten years ago in 2009 if the actor from Degrassi would dominate hip-hop for the next decade, I would’ve proposed the same question Kool Herc asked. Where’s your dealer? My opinion wouldn’t be genuine if I were to tell how life changing this mixtape was to me and how much it means to me. Being fully transparent my first impression of Drake's music in ninth grade, I thought it was trash. Now before you call my opinion blasphemous, allow me to give you some background on what my ears were accustomed to hearing. My Zune, filled with Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, and OJ Da Juiceman, stayed with me everywhere I went. I liked rap that sounded like traditional rap. Hard and gritty is what I sought out of my artist. I wanted to feel like I was walking in a jungle, getting ready to fight a bear with a toothpick, anytime I pressed play. Drake was the exact opposite of this. He was a bi-racial kid from Canada who sung as much as he rapped. He wasn’t for me but for the girls who wanted to hear him swoon. What happened to my hip hop. How dare some kid come out and sing “Best I Ever Had,” then have the gall to claim he’s a rapper?
Drake encountered a plethora of naysayers just like 14-year-old me. He did not let these negative comments stop his progress, but quite the opposite, he used them to fuel the rocket that shot him to the top of the hip-hop charts. Drake never hid from his feelings even while becoming the epitome of soft light-skinned stereotypes. No, he doubled down and owned it. He fully embraced his sensitive side.
Drake embarked onto the world in 2009 with the release of So Far Gone. He planted his flag and pioneered an entire movement in hip-hop. Where would artists like Young Thug, Future and Chance The Rapper be without an artist like Drake coming and clearing the minefields? Drake took a lot of blows first coming into the game with his sing-song rap style because of hip-hop's reluctance to change. Now in part to him, we have discovered one of the most diverse eras in hip-hop.
As much as Drake has done to change the game, he still has some questionable moments and if he is actually rooted to his Black side and the culture besides the music. With the recent controversy with Gucci and blackface, we have seemed to forget that Drake at one point had his own little situation regarding
the matter. I couldn’t in good conscience finish writing this and not address his Blackface picture. As most of us, I was thoroughly disgusted by the photo. It seems especially relevant to bring up again with the recent issues with Gucci and Katy Perry. Drake did address this photo by explaining why he took the picture. But never once did he apologize for the picture. Drake never discusses Black issues in his music nor stand for any Black cause publicly, but I say this only from what I’ve noticed, and I could be wrong. Until that moment, it is hard for me to accept that his intentions were pure in taking that picture. The Black community tries to hold brands who are not run by us or controlled by us accountable ( Gucci and the Grammys) but barely held Drake accountable ??? As fast as the picture came, it went because I guess Drake is bigger than Blackface. And as it shows So Far Gone is bigger then just another mixtape from 2009. Are we at a point where Drake is so big we continue to give him a pass, and not even dare make him apart of the "cancelled" movement??
Regardless if you cancel him or not, lets be real. So Far Gone had hits, and goes down as a pretty good project. As So Far Gone hits its 10 year anniversary, it is finally available on all streaming platforms for the first time since its release.
When it first dropped what was your initial thoughts on it? Do you remember where you were when it first came out. We want to hear from you and give some time to get nostalgic.