A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


In Defense of Drake

In both my most triumphant times and darkest moments, he has always been there

Drake doesn’t seem to be having a great time. If we’re being honest, the past few months have been rough for him — from the moment I saw an ex-classmate burn his CD of “Views” on his Instagram story, I knew Drake was screwed. Drake-bashing has been on the rise, but it all culminated at Camp Flog Gnaw on Nov. 10 when he was booed off the stage after being revealed as the festival’s secret act.

To be clear, disapproving the crowd that forced Drake to step down mid-set at Camp Flog Gnaw seems to be within the majority. Love Drake or hate him, being booed off stage is an embarrassing thing to happen to any performer. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Despite this cultural consensus that booing artists off stage is unacceptable, this occurrence has struck a chord with me because of how formative Drake has been in my own life. It goes past just being respectful — in light of what has happened, I am taking the time not only to defend Drake, nor just give him the benefit of the doubt; instead, I am giving him thanks.

Once upon a time, Drake was a fresh face in the music industry. After graduating from the Canadian teen drama series “Degrassi: The Next Generation” — still known by his real name Aubrey Graham at the time — he landed into the mainstream rap scene in 2009 with the single “Best I Ever Had,” though his rap career had been bubbling for years with the release of his mixtape “Room for Improvement” in 2006.

Through my most triumphant times and darkest moments, he and his music have always been there. I genuinely don’t recall a school year that wasn’t accompanied by an annual Drake anthem: in my senior year of high school it was “God’s Plan,” and in sixth grade, it was “The Motto,” my introduction to the YOLO mantra that was so pervasive, Zac Efron got a freaking hand tattoo of it. And since had it removed. Yes, that’s how long Drake has been around.

If you grew up in Gen Z, or even as a millennial on the cusp, you know that Drake was everywhere. Whether you reveled in late night drives to nowhere cry-screaming the chorus to “Marvins Room,” or you avoided rap music at all costs and stuck to your coffee-shop indie tunes, at the end of the day, it was his music you danced to at prom. So when did this seemingly unstoppable force in rap lose its focus?

This NME article doesn’t exactly pinpoint the moment Drake became passé, but suggests that Drake lost major cred when he was accused of stealing other rappers’ flows. The article states that the roughest blow was when rapper XXXTentacion called Drake a “bitch” for copying his hit “Look At Me!”

Since then, it’s been an uphill battle for the Toronto-based rapper, and his 2018 album “Scorpion” did not help. While singles like “Nice for What” and “In My Feelings” received major radio play, and the latter was even the center of a viral video challenge, the bulk of the album felt admittedly like more of the same.

Could this uninspired, samey-sounding music be the reason hip-hop fans have ventured out to different rap styles? From mumble rap to religious rap to “hot girl rap” à la Megan Thee Stallion, it seems like everyone except Drake is having a moment – a well-deserved moment, I’ll add.

However, choosing between artsy neo-soul rap by the likes of Tyler, the Creator and mainstream rap is a false dichotomy; Tyler has even said so himself. In the wake of Tyler’s hand-picked special guest being booed at his own festival, Tyler expressed how disappointed he was in a Twitter rant reading, “Y’ALL REPRESENTED ME AND FLOG TO MY GUEST AND MADE US LOOK SOOO ENTITLED AND TRASH.”

I see where all the Drake hate is coming from, and I get it. Has Drake been phoning it in? Yes.

He has kind of sold out. He’s made some questionable artistic choices. And NME is right – he isn’t that new, youthful face revolutionizing the hip hop industry anymore.

But to say that Drake got left behind by the zeitgeist of a more prevalent mumble rap or art rap is a bold statement, especially when Drake was the one bringing new life to rap for years.

In the wake of the booing incident, Twitter user @SRDtv wrote “After 10 years, Drake just hit the reboot on his own career. He’s the underdog again.”

And in the words of a 20-year-old Aubrey Graham, he ain’t ever been nothin’ but a underdog, and he ain’t gonna never let anyone hold him under, dog.

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About the Contributor
Skye Salamat, Author
Salamat is the pop section editor for SAC.Media.

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