Scorpion-Drake: In-Depth Review

In the unlikely event that someone reading this is unaware, Drake released his newest album, Scorpion, five days ago. The album is currently shattering several streaming records on various platforms. Upon release, the album drew large amounts of praise from loyal fans, its fair share of hate from those predisposed to disliking Drake, and mixed reactions from various media outlets. As I have confessed any number of times before, I am a huge Drake fan. This inevitably impacts the way I view the album. If my take comes off as too biased, there are plenty of other reviews out there, including one from a self-confessed Drake hater at Mid-American Culture, available here. For my review, I will go song-by-song and briefly say what I liked or disliked about it and at the end, I will give my final thoughts on the album.

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A Side

Survival- Drake never disappoints on his intros. Pretty much every intro he has done has been solid. I really liked the “Mount Rushmore” line at the start of the song. I love me some overconfident Drizzy.

Nonstop- This track appears to be the most popular new song on the album, which upon first listen, I did not see coming. However, after a few more listens, I can somewhat see it. The track is catchy and Drake’s delivery is pretty enjoyable.

Elevate- I didn’t find this track to be anything particularly special. It isn’t bad by any means. It just doesn’t stand out to me.

Emotionless- This is one of my favorite tracks on the entire album. The production on this track is absolutely outstanding and Drake addressing real issues in his life always makes for enjoyable music.

God’s Plan- Released before the album, the song is a huge hit. The video is amazing and the song is solid.

I’m Upset- Also released before the album. Average Drake song. Not bad, not amazing.

8 Out of 10- I love the delivery of this track. The way Drake hits the beat running, so to speak, is awesome. The beat is solid and this is one of the more standout tracks from the A Side of the album.

Mob Ties- Another standout track, Mob Ties has a catchiness that not a lot of songs have. Drake changes up his delivery a good bit out of his typical comfort zone here and I found it really enjoyable.

Can’t Take A Joke- This track features some of the best bars on the album. The beat is one of the better ones and I like this track a lot.

Sandra’s Rose- I was expecting this one to be really deep and passionate, given it is named after Drake’s mother. I was wrong. The song isn’t bad, but it’s not anything that stood out to me either.

Talk Up- This is my favorite song on the A Side. The track features one of the hardest beats Drake has ever rapped over. I’m not a big Jay-Z fan by any means but his guest verse is phenomenal. The last few bars of his verse are stellar.

Is There More- This track is very meh. It didn’t do much of anything for me.

B Side

Peak- Not a bad introduction to the R&B side of the album. The instrumentals and overall production are top-notch.

Summer Games- This song is a brilliant commentary on modern relationships. It’s songs like this with relatable aspects in which Drake is at his best.

Jaded- I don’t know who broke Drake’s heart, but the world needs to take a moment to collectively thank them. Jaded is one of Drake’s all-time great feels songs. I love it. It is probably the best song on Side B.

Nice For What- Released before the album. This is a solid club banger.

Finesse- The chorus of this song is excellent. As stupid as this sounds, I love the way Drake says “finesse”. It is definitely my favorite part of the whole song.

Ratchet Happy Birthday- This is the worst song on the entire album. It has few, if any, redeeming qualities. With that being said, I’m probably still going to bump it when my birthday rolls around.

That’s How You Feel- I wasn’t feeling this song at all until the Nicki Minaj snippets. They kept me hyped up for the rest of the song.

Blue Tint- This is a Drake and Future song about being rich. It is a classic formula that rarely disappoints. This is a solid track.

In My Feelings- I was very let down by this song. When I saw it on the tracklist, I assumed it would be a Marvin’s Room caliber feels song. It isn’t a bad song by any means. It just isn’t what I expected and it is very hard to get past that.

Don’t Matter To Me- This is the song that I was most excited for on Scorpion. I love Michael Jackson and the concept of the biggest music stars from two different generations on the same song together is very appealing. I think MJ would have approved. I know I did.

After Dark- This is another one of the stronger songs on the entire album. The Ty Dolla $ign feature is superb.

Final Fantasy- This is the most underrated song on the entire album. I have hardly heard anyone really talk about it. I can’t overstate how good it really is.

March 14- This is the song that everyone who followed Drake’s drama leading up to the album release was waiting for. He addresses his son and the controversy that surrounds him. In my opinion, he handled the entire situation in the best way possible and listening to this song makes me happy. You can hear the love Drake has for his son and it makes me smile.

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Overall, I give the album a 7.5/10. I think this is probably Drake’s 4th best project. This sounds negative,  but given how highly I think of the top 3, this is actually a fairly complementary ranking. Scorpion sounds fairly similar to the sounds of Views and More Life. If you enjoy this type of sound, you will like Scorpion very much. If you do not enjoy the more recent Drake projects, there is a good chance Scorpion isn’t for you. Myself being such a big Drake fan, I highly recommend the album and feel that Drake certainly delivered, as he always does.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture.

My twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter:@M_American_C

Drake’s Most Underrated Songs

We are a mere two days away from the release of Drake’s highly anticipated album, Scorpion. This is the perfect time to write another piece on the great Drizzy Drake. My intense Drake fandom is well documented, both on various social media platforms, as well as in some of my previous pieces on Mid-American Culture. In my opinion, Mr. Aubrey Drake Graham is the greatest hip-hop artist who has ever lived. His discography has produced a countless number of classics which span multiple genres. There are also a number of hidden gems mixed in that never received the critical acclaim or commercial success that they deserved. The latter is what this piece will focus on. Here are some of what I consider to be Drake’s most underrated tracks:

Wu-Tang Forever

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Upon listening to Nothing Was The Same for the very first time back in 2013, I immediately identified Wu-Tang Forever as one of my favorite tracks on the album. It wasn’t until much later, however, that I realized just how good it really is. Wu-Tang Forever serves double duty, both as an emotional and reflective track about a former love interest and as an introspective metaphor for Drake’s journey through the rap game. The song is both a great storytelling piece and a sonically pleasing song. In short, Wu-Tang Forever is classic Drake at some of his finest.

Find Your Love

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In my earlier piece, Ranking Drake’s Major Projects, I boldly stated that if Find Your Love were to have been released today at the height of Drake’s popularity, as opposed to his first years in the spotlight, it would be his most successful song ever. I still firmly believe that. This is not to say that the song did not receive its fair share of acclaim. However, it could have and should have been infinitely bigger. This song has the credentials required to be a chart topper in multiple different genres, being Pop, R&B, and Hip-Hop. It beautifully fuses the three in a way that only Drake can. I don’t think I will ever stop raving about just how good this song really is.

Cameras

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I think what makes Drake truly great is his ability to create music that feels as if he is consistently flexing his superstar lifestyle, while still being honest, deep, and relatable. Cameras is a perfect example. In the song, Drake uses a very passive, almost uninterested flow to try to calm the concerns of a certain woman about his glamourous and public lifestyle. He argues essentially that the man, Aubrey, is different from the superstar, Drake, portrayed by the media, particularly by the paparazzi. My favorite part of the lyrics is that while Drake acknowledges a number of his suspect behaviors, he never once apologizes for them, instead portraying them as an unfortunate side-effect of his fame and lifestyle. This is a brilliant commentary on popular culture, and a huge part of what makes Cameras so brilliant.

Can’t Have Everything

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In recent years, Drake has transitioned further away from rap, opting instead to focus on musical experimentation. With Can’t Have Everything, he reminds the world that he is still a dominant force in the rap game, willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone and everyone. Drake replaces his generally emotional tone for one of aggression and utter disgust at the criticisms placed on him by some of his peers. Drake essentially spends an entire song flexing the hunger he still has while still citing his status on top of the music world. The song concludes with a voicemail recording of his mother, in which she addresses her son’s recent spat with Meek Mill, and asks her son to let go of his resentment and return to his more positive tone. She concludes by paraphrasing Michelle Obama’s famous “when they go low, we go high” line. This is some of the most brilliant contrasting we’ve ever seen from Drake and only adds to the aura of this song.

5 A.M. In Toronto 

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5 A.M. In Toronto is the song that Drake haters love to pretend doesn’t exist. The song is nothing but pure greatness. It is 3 minutes and 30 seconds of Drake at his absolute best. However, this is certainly the most controversial entries on this list. Most major Drake fans rank this song among his best. However, the more casual fans very well may have never heard this song. It doesn’t appear on any major albums and it doesn’t appear on Apple Music or Spotify. The lack of availability  of this song is an utter travesty because I consider it to be the best track of Drake’s career. For me, 5A.M. In Toronto is the song that cemented Drakes status as one of the all-time greats. With it, he put to rest any claims that he is not a superb rapper who deserves a place on music’s Mount Rushmore. It really doesn’t get any better.

While there are any number of underrated tracks I could have added to this list, these are the 5 that I felt most needed to be shared. I have been listening to more than my fair share of Drake lately in preparation for Scorpion. Next week, I will do a My First Impressions article on the album, and will likely provide a full, in-depth review of it the following week. Prepare for an abundance of Drake content from me in the coming weeks. Until then, check out some of the other great content on Mid-American Culture. Thanks for reading!

My Twitter: @BigRedAFerg

M.A.C. Twitter: @M_American_C

The 3 Best Things About 2018 So Far

We are just under two months into 2018. This year has certainly had its ups and downs. These last two months have certainly been eventful. From Jennifer Anniston splitting with her husband, to Elon Musk’s Space X rocket launch, to the tragic Parkland shooting and everything in between, 2018 is shaping up to be one interesting year. After the somber tone of my last article, I decided to brighten the mood of the Wednesday articles a little and write about three things that have happened this year that made me smile (anyone who knows me knows how rare an occurrence that is).

3. Fortnite

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I know, I was a little late jumping onto the Fortnite wave. However, I did finally jump on and I haven’t gotten off since. I started playing right around the new year. I can honestly say that Fortnite resurrected gaming for me. I hardly ever used my Xbox for anything other than Netflix until I started playing the game and now I play it almost every day. I’m going to paraphrase a tweet I saw a while back… Fortnite brought back the all night gaming with your friends, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Modern Warfare 2 days. Honestly, that is so true. Fortnite has undoubtedly made my 2018 better.

2. God’s Plan

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In my 20 years of existence, I have never enjoyed a music video more than I enjoy the video for Drake’s “God’s Plan”. Something about seeing Drake give away the entire $996,631.90 budget the video made me extremely happy. As big a Drake fan as I already was, seeing this video made me like him that much more. Hopefully, more celebrities will follow I his footsteps and spread this kind of love in 2018.

1. The demand for stricter gun laws

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Something great seems to be coming from the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. While the shooting itself was horrific and completely avoidable, students from the school have taken the opportunity to use the platform given to them by the shooting. They are demanding that the government take action to prevent anymore tragedies like this from ever happening again. Students, adults, and many lawmakers across the nation are calling for increased gun control measures. President Trump even signed a memo calling for the banning of bump stocks, which were used by the Las Vegas shooter who killed 58 in October of last year. While this is absolutely not enough, it shows that even the far right can be pushed to do the right thing if the people demand it. This could save a significant amount of lives. If real gun control measures are implemented in 2018, then that would be a revolutionary step in the betterment of society. Seeing the victims of the horrible tragedy rise to the occasion and call for change is one of the more empowering things I have ever seen.

2018 is sure to be an eventful year. I’m looking forward to seeing how this list changes as the year goes on.

Twitter: @ BigRedAFerg