After much anticipation, Drake finally dropped his fifth studio album “Scorpion” June 29. The “6 God” artist gave his fans an extra helping of music though, as “Scorpion” turned out to be a double LP. The track list totals 25, clocking in at just under an hour and a half.
When Drake drops anything, it is guaranteed to be a chart success immediately. He is the king of streaming, and his first week numbers are always insane. “Scorpion” is no different. The album broke streaming records on basically every service, and has racked up seven tracks ranking in the Billboard Hot 100’s top ten. This latter feat has only been achieved by three other artists, and they are some legendary names: Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. Drake is the first to have all seven tracks in the top ten at the same time, largely attributed to the immediacy of streaming.
“Scorpion” was received by the internet with many praises, and a large wall of defense. A minor contingent expressed their annoyance with his Spotify takeover, but that didn’t stop the overwhelming amount of tweets defending Drake and promoting the album. One of the tweets I saw most throughout the week following the album was some variation of “Before you insult Drake, remember hating popular things doesn’t make you cool.”
While I enjoy many popular things, this album is not one of them. It’s long as hell, and not worth that amount of time. I am not a fan of short albums either. I often feel slighted when artists decide to deliver 40 minute albums after two or three years, but an hour and a half is movie-length.
On top of the length, a lot of it sounds either too familiar or too similar to the other songs on the album. You can feel the success of other acts’ influence on the album too. “Nonstop” is a copy and paste of a Migos track, and the heavy use of samples is reminiscent of Kanye West and Jay Z. Many of the album’s tracks fail to distinguish themselves from the next, and they end up blurring into a long interlude of bass and hi-hat between those destined to be singles.
The most talked about part of this album is not any song. It’s the secret child Drake has been hiding from the world. Those who follow Drake feverishly will remember last year when Sophie Brussaux told TMZ she was pregnant with Drake’s baby. Drake never responded publicly, the child was born, and the story went to the back of our minds. But, Pusha T brought it back when he released “The Story of Adidon” in May, calling out Drake for not “claiming” his son.
On multiple tracks of “Scorpion,” Drake acknowledges that he does in fact have a kid and tries to rationalize not telling the public. Most of it seems insincere and contradictory; one song claiming he’s not a deadbeat dad and another talking about not wanting to pay child support. The track “March 14” is the song that everyone was waiting for after “The Story of Adidon.” He raps directly to his son, Adonis Graham, and tells the whole story of what transpired.
The subject matter of the rest of the album falls mostly into the classic Drake fodder: sad boy who wants you to stop posting on social media and pay attention to him. While it has worked well in the past, Drake is 31 now, and a father. Amongst woke content from Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Jay Z, it seems like it might be time for Drake to mature.
The one nod I will give Drake is to the minimal use of features on the album. Most rap albums have so many it is easy to forget that it is a single artist at the center of the project. “Scorpion,” on the other hand, has only four credited features. This is impressive for the length of the album, though he does cheat a little through the use of samples. Nicki Minaj is weirdly featured on “That’s How You Feel” with audio lifted from a live performance.
Beyond the singles that were released before the album, the standout track is “Don’t Matter to Me” which features the late Michael Jackson. This is one of the few songs that really held my attention while listening to the album in full.
“Scorpion” as a whole is disappointing. He could have cut the project down to a single LP and it would be a much better experience. Still, the release is definitely another success for Drake. He maintains his chart success and radio presence, and has put his name among music legends.