Weekender

Listen to This: Drake could have used a hard edit on ‘Scorpion’

If you’re a rapper and thinking about putting out a 90-minute double album, I’m humbly asking to you to think about whether you actually have enough material to make a double album interesting.

It’s becoming increasingly popular in the hip-hop scene to release these bloated double albums basically as a way for rappers to scam their way to the top of the Billboard album chart. There are some very complicated algorithms involved that I don’t fully understand, but the practice essentially boils down to “the more individual songs people stream from an album, the higher it goes up the chart.”

In the past year, we’ve seen many major hip-hop acts do this: DJ Khaled, Migos, Post Malone. And now, enter Drake’s newest, “Scorpion.”

“Scorpion” is a 90-minute monster of a double album that only has enough interesting material to fill, by my estimate, somewhere between an EP and a standard single album.

However, at least Drake does muster up a bit of a concept for the record. The first half is more of a straight hip-hop record, where most of the good songs are found, while the second half focuses on a slightly more regrettable R&B sound that just feels a bit more uncomfortable for Drake.

Leading up to the release of “Scorpion,” we got a handful of singles that saw Drake performing at his most Drake — here, I mean that as a complement. When Drake is focused, he can make some of the best pop-rap out there.

Just look at the song “Nice for What.” This track is so, so much fun. It’s a bouncy, dancehall-style track, and Drake’s vocals sounds smooth as velvety butter. It’s easy to picture this song becoming this year’s song of the summer; it’ll definitely be in my heavy rotation.

Other singles like “God’s Plan” are similarly catchy and are likely to be blasted at bars and clubs around the world for months to come.

But much of the rest of the record feels rushed. Many tracks seem like they were hurriedly thrown together in the past few weeks — and with numerous references to Drake’s recent beef with Pusha T and Jay Z explicitly referencing the June 18 death of rapper XXXTentacion, it seems pretty likely this was the case.

And at many, many points on the record, Drake comes through at his most Drake — this time, that’s an insult. Corny bars abound on “Scorpion.” In “Survival,” the opening track, Drake drops this doozy on us:

“Who do you really love? Well, that’s sure to be in question,/My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions.”

Yeah. Drake is whack.

Serious fans of the emcee will, of course, find things to like on “Scorpion.” But I highly doubt they’ll be listening to the whole thing through more than once or twice. Instead, they’ll cherry-pick a few songs to drop into playlists and never bother with the rest again.

And as much as I hate to admit it, that’s exactly what I’m doing too.

Drake released his latest record, ‘Scorpion,’ on June 29.
https://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_drake-scorpion-album-cover.jpgDrake released his latest record, ‘Scorpion,’ on June 29.
Listen to this

By Patrick Kernan

pkernan@timesleader.com

Album: ‘Scorpion’

Artist: Drake

Label: Young Money, Cash Money, Republic

Length: 89:44

Best Track: ‘Nice for What’

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan.

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