“You’re welcome.” That is the theme of this album. Drake and complacency go hand in hand nowadays. Views underwhelmed. More Life satisfied, though it wasn’t anything truly special. I’ve been hard on Drizzy in the past. It sucks because I don’t want to be that way. Drake gave me more light-skin anthems than any other artist over the years. I appreciate him for that, and always will. However, he continues to compromise vision for commercial success. Is that really so bad? Well, it depends how you look at it. We praise Drake when he boasts of his accomplishments. When he reminds us of his status in the rap game, we love it. At least, I do. Yet Aubrey’s songwriting no longer consistently reflects elements of genuine introspection, emotion or vulnerability. He merely sings and states things in a tone which gives off the impression of effort.
The proof is in the product. It seems as though Drake’s heart rests in some other endeavor. He has a great team around him. His flow sounds closer to habitual than purposeful these days. Clearly Drake is a one-of-a-kind talent. He’s a hitmaker with the Midas touch. Right? Time and time again he has proven to achieve excellence in the pop-rap field. Nevertheless with only three or four impressive cuts in a batch of 25, Scorpion fails to push the Drake narrative in a positive direction. It begins with a familiar copycat pattern. “Survival” features a dominant sample of Claude Larson. I don’t dig into crates like the pros, but I do have friends who pay attention. Lil B’s “I’m Tupac,” produced by Keyboard Kid, samples the same song. Both tracks are identical in sound and delivery. Drake’s just a better rapper by definition.
Forgive me, Based God. Additionally, “Mob Ties” is essentially a hi-fi Playboi Carti track. However, Drizzy’s flow on there slaps. There are some solid tracks here, if I’m being honest. Side A goes hard at times. During the album’s first third, Drake brings energy to the booth. “Nonstop” is a low-key stank-face banger which sees Aubrey on a new wave. The mumbling, almost whisper-like ad-libs work wonders. Although minor, I applaud this experimentation. “Emotionless” should have been Scorpion’s opener. That Mariah Carey sample is slick as hell. Similar to “Free Smoke” from his More Life playlist, “Emotionless” has soul. His mention of hiding his child will echo in the Twittersphere for months on end. I’m indifferent to it. But lines like “They’ll be mourning you like 8am” and “Lead the league in scoring, man, but look at my assists” leave me with this frame of mind: I’m not upset!
Drake has multiple moments throughout these 90 minutes (that’s not a typo) where he flashes greatness. Despite its corniness “I’m Upset” gains value over an extended period of time. Look, it’s not a dope single whatsoever. However, Drizzy’s flow and energy on the track are a signature moment. The tagline “I’m upset!” is so Drake that it makes me want to hurl. But that’s just who he is sometimes. If only the instrumental matched the vibe completely, and if Drake actually sounded pissed, it could’ve been a universal 2018 staple. The lead synth sound is rather flimsy, thus stifling the single’s potential. A fairly noteworthy album hides within this tracklist. Unfortunately, sifting through 25 songs is nothing short of a burden. Fifteen tracks should suffice, as long as their sequence receives the proper attention.
All Scorpion needed to do was not bore us. But I guess that’s too much to ask in 2018. Songs like “Ratchet Happy Birthday” and “Summer Games” deserve a quick trip to the nearest garbage disposal. Drake’s pettiness between GOOD Music seeps down to his OVO homie PartyNextDoor. There is no way his name should be affiliated with something as awful as “Ratchet Happy Birthday.” It’s the most pointless of this bunch. Also, Aubrey’s vocal performances on Side B of Scorpion are difficult to sit through without the temptation of hitting the skip button. “Peak” and “Summer Games” kick off the latter section horribly. Ty Dolla $ign comes in to salvage what he can of this mess of an album. Even his contributions can’t save Drake nonetheless. Although there is some heat here, Drizzy’s fifth studio album lacks passion, vision and self-awareness, resulting in a just-good-enough, stream-troll disappointment.
After extended listens, though, “Ratchet Happy Birthday” ain’t half bad. The smooth sample and steady backing vocals from PND give the track a nice lil’ sway. Some of this album has indeed grown on me. It’s still underwhelming overall. However, I am able to come out of Scorpion with a positive state of mind. My edited tracklist helps me tolerate this album. Like I said, a decent album exists here. Dropping basic tracks like “In My Feelings,” which feature recycled flows, repetitive refrains and awful vocal chops, gets people excited for some odd reason. Fans won’t stop tweeting about or dancing to the song despite its shortcomings. Drizzy carves out a space in hip-hop history due to his unique ability to ignite house parties, drunk texts and solo smoke sessions simultaneously. This project is no feat. Yet it manages to make its presence felt nonetheless.