After finally getting through the double-disc, 25-song project that is “Scorpion,” I left with more questions than answers from Drake.
After Pusha T’s freestyle exposed Drake’s hidden child and baby mother, Sophie Brussaux, “Scorpion” was set up to be a public relations frenzy. Drake was basically cornered into openly discussing his hidden child, Adonis, and the other allegations of his lack of parenting that Pusha T made.
“Survival,” “Nonstop,” “8 out of 10” and basically the whole first disc fell short for me. After the first listen, I basically skipped over the rap-filled disc one and headed for the R&B-filled disc two. Although Drake’s flowy cadence has gotten him to where he is today, I’m more interested in his R&B and dancehall beats at this point.
Disc one did have a few gems though — “Elevate,” “Emotionless,” and two of the singles dropped before hand, “God’s Plan” and “I’m Upset,” have made their way into my makeshift Scorpion playlist, which only includes songs I wouldn’t skip off of the album.
Although disc one had many samples throughout, Drake’s use of samples really came to light on disc two. “Peak” did not really do anything for me, and neither did “Summer Games,” but “Jaded” is when the album really began to hit a spot of continuous listening for me. Drake’s voice seemingly glides over a drum set with subtle Ty Dolla $ign vocals in the background.
At first I was infatuated with this song — from the lyrics to the delivery, it quickly became one of my favorites. “We coulda waited, I wasn't rushin', difference in ages/You're old enough, but you're still a baby,” lead fans to believe that “Jaded” was about the UK musician, Jorja Smith, who is ten years younger than the rapper.
As I looked more into the lyrics that Drake was singing, tones of possessiveness and insecurity became more apparent. The line “You had potential, I coulda shaped it,” left a sour taste in my mouth. Even more so when the song came to light as an ode to Smith being that she is younger, and newly creating a career for herself in the music industry. Drake seems to come from a place of power and advanced age, and becomes upset that Smith was not accepting of his advances — thus “Jaded” was born.
“Finesse” and “Ratchet Happy Birthday” were both a miss for me. But track seven on disc two, “That’s How You Feel,” began to pick up and proved that the last portion of the album is where all of the gems were placed.
“That’s How You Feel” sampled vocals from rapper Nicki Minaj from her live performance of “Boss A** B*tch,” that showcased the old Nicki’s strengths and talents that most fans seem to miss.
“Blue Tint” was also an instant favorite for me with inclusion of the additional vocals from rapper Future. We all love a Future feature.
Probably the best song on the album had to be “In My Feelings,” a sample-filled catchy hit, that seemingly sticks in your head, even hours after first listen. The song sampled four different pieces of work, including: “Smoking Guns” by Magnolia Shorty, City Girls’ vocals, Lil Wayne lines that were pulled from the 2008 hit “Lollipop” and a clip from an episode of Donald Glover’s "Atlanta." Each of these elements came together to create the summer bop that is “In My Feelings.”
I also enjoyed, “Don’t Matter To Me (feat. Michael Jackson).” The only thing that upset me with this track was the unjustified use of the late Michael Jackson vocals. Since Jackson has passed, he had no say in how his vocals were used in this song, which could’ve easily been compensated with XO’s The Weeknd. With similar vocal styles, and the fact that he is still alive and has creative power over his vocals, I believe The Weeknd would have been a better fit.
Another one of my favorites was “After Dark.” Ty Dolla $ign’s feature is what really made this song for me. With his recent work and features on Kanye West’s “Ye,” Ty Dolla $ign is proving to be the one that is called on for features this summer, and I’m not mad about it.
Both “Final Fantasy” and “March 14” were throw-aways for me, except for the fact that Drake has an in-depth discussion about his son Adonis on “March 14.” I don’t love the song, but can appreciate the honesty in his lyrics.
Overall I was disappointed with more than half of the songs off of “Scorpion,” but the ones that I did show interest in, I really fell in love with. I think that Drake’s facade seemed to crack at the seams, exposing more of an insecure, less confident rapper than he leads us to believe.
On one side it humanized him, but on the other it showed some things that the rapper may need to work on. The album art and typography used (or lack thereof) suffered as well. Lastly, I will say that I was disappointed with the lack of features from his OVO counter-parts, and was left craving a PARTYNEXTDOOR feature.
Shayla Cunico is the culture editor and music editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShaylaCunico.