Drake In His Feelings: Reflecting On His Fatherhood

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Superstar Drake wants you to know he is not one of the bad guys. On his new song "8 Out of 10", he says, "As luck would have it I've settled into my role as the good guy". This is probably the reason, then, that he decided to place his beef with Push-T on hold while the world anticipated Drizzy's album. Drake recognizes what he stands to lose if he does not handle his paternity scandal appropriately. With his reputation at stake, Drake must toe the line of being both an influential music mogul and a sensitive hip hop star. 

Drake has faced a fair amount of adversity in the hip hop industry. Fellow artists of his genre have often criticized him for not fitting the typical profile of a rap star. He is a mixed race Canadian artist who is frequently mocked for making songs geared towards women regarding, his more sensitive subject matter. Yet, because of his eclectic background, Drake appeals to a mass audience, making him one of the most successful artists of his time. His Instagram boasts an impressive 43.1 million followers, and his latest album, Scorpion, was so heavily promoted on Spotify that users complained and demanded subscription refunds. 

The Toronto rapper's fifth studio album is jarringly lengthy in comparison to the competing hip hop albums released thus far this summer. Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label has released four seven track albums during the month of June, equaling approximately twenty-three minutes each. The Carters' surprise album Everything Is Love features a similarly short nine tracks. Scorpion, however, is a double album, presented in the style of a traditional record or tape with sides A and B, totaling twenty-five tracks. The album was released on June 29, 2018 and went platinum the same day. Drake albums are always highly anticipated for the catchy club tunes he always delivers.    

"God's Plan" and "Nice For What" served as key precursors for Scorpion. They quickly became feel-good radio hits, with the latter being a favorite for song of the summer. The song, featuring a pitched up sample of Lauryn Hill's beloved 1998 hit, "Ex-Factor", is an anthem encouraging women to invest in themselves and their own self worth rather than seeking it in someone else.  Drake's purported awareness of the female psyche is evident continuously throughout Scorpion, such as "Emotionless", where he calls out women who post pictures from previous vacations to maintain a false image of constantly being on location living lavishly.  

But perhaps even more influential in the sales for his latest project was the rumor that Drake was hiding a son. Drake's back and forth feud with Pusha-T in May began with "Infrared" on Push's album Daytona. Drake responded with "Duppy Freestyle" and criticized both Pusha-T and his mentor, friend, and collaborator, Kanye West.  Push's follow-up, "The Story of Adidon", has become notorious for exposing the fact that Drake has a son named Adonis with former pornstar Sophie Brussaux. Push additionally described Drake's intention to reveal his son in unison with his Adidas line. 

Drake did not follow up with this previous diss track, causing fans to speculate that what Pusha said was true. This silence inevitably aided in skyrocketing the sales of Scorpion as the world tuned in to hear Drake's side of the story. Drake faced the difficult task of telling the truth to his fans while maintaining their loyalty.   

He first touches on the paternity allegations on the appropriately titled "Emotionless". Drake uses the track as a critique of the hypocrisy of sharing on social media as a means of justifying his decision to stay silent about his son. The lines, "I wasn't hiding my kid from the world, / I was hiding the world from my kid", quickly caught fire on Twitter. Drake was announcing his son, and he was not doing it via an Adidas press run as Pusha predicted. 

Scorpion is peppered with heartfelt and vulnerable tracks, like "Summer Games" and "Don't Matter To Me", along with heavy hitters, like "Talk Up" featuring Jay-Z. Drake is trying to accomplish a lot on this album. He doesn't want to put himself in a box as being too emotional (so much so that he teases himself on "In My Feelings"), yet he doesn't quite have the authority or weight to pack a street-smart punch. And Drake is also trying to be honest without losing fans. It is a nuanced task, which is probably why the album is so extensive. 

On "March 14", the final song on the album, Drake addresses the rumors and Pusha-T's accusations. He discusses how the unplanned pregnancy occurred despite his mother's warnings and his nonstop lifestyle that prevents him from being a present and engaged father.  This separation weighs heavily on him as he was raised by a single mother and did not always have a positive relationship with his father. He raps, "I used to challenge my parents on every album, / now I'm embarrassed to tell 'em I ended up as a co-parent / Always promised the family unit / I wanted it to be different because I've been through it". 

When rumors hit that Drake had gotten Brussaux pregnant, TMZ released screenshots of text messages from Drake in which he encouraged her to get an abortion. They continued to have a volatile relationship, but after learning the official paternity test results, Drake vowed to make amends: "Hopefully by the time you hear this / Me and your mother will have come around / Instead of always cuttin' each other down". The greatest way Drake could disappoint his fans, his son, and himself would be to live up to the stereotype of a deadbeat dad, as Pusha-T called him. On Scorpion, Drake acknowledges his shortcomings as a single father. He has not been as involved as he would like to be, with his schedule touring and working on new projects.  Yet, on Scorpion, Drake publicly affirms his conviction to offer his son the stable and fulfilling childhood that he always wished he had. He backs the album with tongue-in-cheek bars that suggest a deeper understanding of the female subconscious, and while some observations are insightful, the take-away from his latest album is a portrait of Drake attempting to remain in control as his charming facade is jeopardized.