For the past two years, Drake has been one of the hottest acts in hip-hop. From high profile guest appearances to a ubiquitous presence on urban radio, it is nearly impossible to follow hip-hop and not get regular doses of the Toronto-born rapper.
I hate him.
There I said it.
To be clear, I donâ€™t have any personal beef with Drake. While Iâ€™ve never met him, I donâ€™t doubt that heâ€™s a decent and well-intentioned person. Still, I hate him. And you canâ€™t stop me. Why? Because he represents several things that I find troublesome about the current mainstream hip-hop scene.
First, thereâ€™s the music. While thereâ€™s no doubt that Drake is very giftedâ€” even if he too often wastes his talent making radio-friendly confectionâ€”he leaves much to be desired as an rapper. Instead of relying on his intellectual and artistic gifts, he too often resorts to tired concepts, lazy punch lines and predictable one-liners. This wouldnâ€™t be such a problem if he werenâ€™t constantly being hailed by the rap world as a dope lyricist rather than what he actually is: a pop song writer.
To call Drake an MC in a world that still includes Black Thought, Lupe Fiasco, Jean Grae, Pharoah Monch, or even Eminem is an insult to people who think. As evidenced by his humiliating Blackberry â€œfreestyleâ€ on Funkmaster Flexâ€™s Hot 97 radio show, Drake has mastered neither the art, science, nor stylistic etiquette of MCing. From his frantic attempts to stay on beat to his inability to improvise even slightly, Drake represents a dangerous historical moment in hip-hop culture where rapping has overshadowed other dimensions of MCing, like freestyling, battling, and moving the crowd.