Chances are, Drake’s name has been on your lips lately. It’s okay, these hip-hop heavyweights and I understand. Maybe it’s his Scorpio magnetism or the way he seamlessly flows between bars and bridges — but most likely, it’s because Drake is the future of music in the present.
If you cringed at that statement, then it’s very possible that you are one of a multitude of hip-hop fans who refuse to evolve past the boom-bat beats of the 90s, and can’t wrap your head around the fact that Drake isn’t trying to do that. You also might be someone who can’t get over Drake’s role on Degrassi. However, if you are of the former mentality — the dogmatic group of folks who has a clear definition of what hip-hop is and what it can’t be — I just want to say:
"That's just the way it is
Things'll never be the same
That's just the way it is"
The hard truth is, change is inevitable and when it comes to classic old-school hip-hop, change is not only a good thing, it's necessary. For decades, hip-hop’s misogyny, fetishization of violence and drugs, and often aimless braggadocio has been growing staler and staler. Popular hip-hop was sonically stagnant and stuck having the same conversation with itself. “Conscious” hip-hop was more often corny than not. Pop music was being taken over by indie bands comprised of angsty suburban youth, and country music was on the rise. The hottest hip-hop artists of 2009 were The Black Eyed Peas and T.I.. No shade, I just want to put that out there.
For many, Thank Me Later was like a light at the end of the artistic dearth that was the late 2000s — a reminder that music can have variety. Ever since, people (primarily salty dudes) have been hating on him for: 1) not being hard enough/genuine 2) not really coming from the bottom 3) having feelings/being effeminate. All reasons that say more about the hater than Drake. While Drake is out here making some of the most enjoyable bangers and jams ever, hating on him for doing things his own way is about your own insecurity. Judging Drake the way you would judge someone like Kendrick Lamar or J.Cole, is a statement on your inability to see that Drake’s doing something intentionally different.
Here’s Drake talking about what he does with Elliott Wilson:
In many ways, Drake represents the tension between those who want hip-hop to stay in the familiar and those who want to see hip-hop be limitless. Just look at who his haters and fans are.
Meek Mill: recycles the same subjects hip hop has been stumped on for decades. Yells everything.
Diddy: Self-professed ghostwriter user. Mad because Drake made a dope song out of the “0 to 100” beat. Is not an actual MC.
Tyga: Has never made a memorable album.
Kanye West: Is Yeezus.
Ghostface Killah: ...Wu-Tang
A$AP Rocky: Lord Pretty Flacko. Continually reinvents hip-hop’s relationship with different creative realms such as fashion, film, and art.
At this point, we really should just cut off everyone hating on Drake for not being enough of a hip-hop stereotype, because there’s more to life than policing gender and melodies. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late just went platinum, “Back to Back” is literally playing everywhere, and dissing Drake for not being "hard" is like dissing an apple for not being an orange. Move on, everyone. From the senseless Drake hate, and the refusal to let hip-hop progress.