6 Reasons Why I Think Drake Is The Best Rapper In The Game (Right Now)
“They take the greats from the past and compare us/
I wonder if they’d ever survive in this era/
In a time where it’s recreation/
To pull all your skeletons out the closet like Halloween decorations/
I know of all the things that I hear they be pokin’ fun at/
Never the flow though, they know I run that” – Drake [Lord Knows]
After hearing these lines from Drake’s Lord Knows, I felt as though it was the perfect answer to JC’s Lionel Messi post. At times I feel like we (myself included) seem to take for granted the amount of talented people we are blessed with, be it in the world of sports, business or entertainment. For whatever reason it seems as though we have this mentally embedded notion that there will never be greater talent than those in the past. For example in the countless sports and music at the local barbershops, the is a rally of uncles and elders collectively vouching for Jordan, Rakim or Maradona as the greatest to have ever done it. Seen as I was a mere pickney when these guys plied their trade, the suggestion of Kobe, Jiggaman and Big Ronaldo seems to be brushed aside with “Small boy, you don’t know the ting…”.
So you could imagine the backlash I received from the brothers, when I made the statement that Drake is lyrically on par with 2pac. I know you are probably amped up right now and looking to wile out, but hear me out. Although 2pac was arguably one of the greatest icons of recent history, we have to keep it real, lyrically he was no better than a large number of rappers of his time. (Okay, I can see that those last few words have not even registered and you’re still amped, so lets stick this argument in the memory bank for my next article.)
I will try to define lyricism from my perspective and explain why Drake is up there with the best in the game right now and hopefully back my argument above.
6. Lyrically one of the best rappers in the game
Lyricism – Noun: “…An artist’s expression of emotion in an imaginative and beautiful way; the quality of being lyrical.”
That is the dictionary definition of lyricism and “imaginative”, “beautiful” and “quality” are subjective. This has nothing to do with the content, which would suggest that the most “commercial” rapper can be deemed more lyrical than the most “conscious” rapper, because lyricism is about expression of emotion. For me the one of the main components of lyricism is wordplay (the ability to manipulate language for effective delivery). This could be punchlines, similes, metaphors etc. In saying that, there are a million and one punchline rappers who do not fit the bill, because they lack the other key components consistency, staying on topic and delivery. If you lack any of these components it is evident that you are only putting words together to rhyme and not much thought as gone into your lyrics. Drake shows all of these on arguably one of the best verses this year.
Remember the song is about Scheming, yet Rick Ross and French Montana are rapping about not wanting to go court, 35s and 75s. Drake on the other hand stays in topic, showing consistency, quotables, wordplay and good delivery.
It bothers me when the Gods get to acting like the broads/
I just ask them when you see me you speak up nigga thats all/
Don’t be ducking like you never wanted nothing/
Its feeling like rap changed, there was a time it was rugged/
Back when if a nigga reached it was for the weapon/
Nowadays niggas reach just to sell they record/
Me and my G from DC thats how I roll around/
Might look light, but we heavy though/
Million dollar meetings in appollo lounge/
Shawty wanna tell me secrets ’bout a rap nigga/
I tell a bitch its more attractive when you hold it down/
Kobe ’bout to lose a hundred fifty M’s/
Kobe my nigga I hate it, had to be him/
Bitch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym
(Bitch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym)
Bag her like we in Publix and take her ass out in public/
Ordered it a filet tell her butterfly she’ll love it/
She used to soda and nuggets she really just out here thuggin’/
5. He is the most “hated’ artist in hip hop right now
A great UK lyricist once spat the words:
“..when Amir [Khan] hit the canvas, everybody cheered like Amir had been abandoned/ I realised when you are the best or the champion/ nobody wants to see you rest in that phantom…they want to clock (spot) the mistakes but not the triple rhymes/ don’t want to cop the mixtapes…” – Wretch 32 [WestWood Freestyle]
For some reason that is just the way that fans of sports and music react to success. When you are the underdog you are their favourite, but when you are at the top of the game they want you to fail as they root for the new underdog. Hate = misplaced love in Hip hop, and right now dude is subconsciously getting the most love.
4. He has the most quoted line in hip hop this year
“Bitch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym”
Part of the art of being an MC is the ability for your lyrics to resonate with your audience, by making a statement that they don’t only relate to but not have found a better way to deliver it than the way you can. These tend to be the most quoted lines within the respective years of release.
Here are other examples over the years.
“Eminem murdered you on your own sh*t” – Nas
“Why they let the Terminator win the election…?” – JadaKiss
“I am out for presidents to represent me/ I am out for mother*** dead presidents to represent me” – Nas
Get the drift? right.
3. He sells records AND tickets
As I mentioned on my article about Commercial vs Conscious rap, the whole point of making music is being able to sell units and tickets. All this “I am doing it for the love” is good, but lets be real bills need to be paid at the end of the day. We can argue that he has an unfair advantage as he is signed to a major label, but so is Gudda Gudda, Tyga and Jae Millz. I don’t see them selling out the O2 and pushing 640,00+ in their first week.
2. He is inspirational to open-minded listeners
Pessimistic people will always hear what they want to hear. They will listen to a rapper talking about wealth and see it as a rapper who is out of touch with the rest of society, whereas other people would see it as an inspiration on what can be achieved and how to go about it. Its funny how people claim that Drake is inconsistent when you can cross reference lyrics from various songs and see that he is one of the most consistent with his message.
“I can tell a lie if you ask me my whereabouts
But I might talk that real if you ask me what I care about
Rap and bitches, rappin’ bitches, bitches
And rappin’, rappin’ and bitches until all of it switches..” [UnderGround Kings]
Now, the things I care about aren’t in line with Drake, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn from how he went about acquiring his goals.
“And these n*ggas got them diamonds glowing in they mouth
And they rockin’ furs like it’s snowing in the south
And every pretty girl tell me that’s the shit that she like
So why am I in class if this is who I’m trying to be like
So I drop out, lessons I was taught are quick to fade
As soon I realize that turning papers in won’t get me paid
And if I don’t do nothing, I’mma ball
I’m counting all day like a clock on the wall
Yeah, I need that, making major changes to the life I’m living
I had no choice, I had to prove I made the right decisions” [Undergorund Kings]
Yeah you might call him a simp and say he did it for girls, but as Don Kwelu stated a majority of things we do is linked to the opposite sex – subconsciously. Also allegedly one of the reasons Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook was to impress a female. The inspiration comes in realising what it is that you care about and then going hard to achieve it.
“While all of my closest friends are out partying/I am just here making all the music that that party to” – [Light Up]
It was all for the pretty girls? but guess what?, off the back of impressing the pengers [attractive females] he is now 25 and allegedly sitting on 25 mill. YOLO!
“I guess we’ll never know what Harvard gets us
But seeing my family have it all
Took the place of that desire for diplomas on the wall” – [Crew Love]
It’s refreshing to see a rapper who is proud of their comfortable background and not have to be forced to showcase sobering stories of hardship or living in the ghetto – also showing pride in both his black and Jewish heritage which is what hip-hop has become – transcending culture and demographics.
1. The fact that a hater cannot name me a bad verse from Drake
Its okay….. I will wait….
There you go, 6 reasons why I feel that Drake is at the top of rap game right now. But feel free to agree and disagree, and tell me who you think is at the top and why.
So readers what’s your thoughts? Do you agree with The Yak’s points made? Is Drake the best rapper in the game right now? If not, who is?
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