Who is the greatest team in NBA history? Apparently, it isn’t the 72-10 Chicago Bulls nor is it any of the Boston Celtics squads that claimed eight consecutive championships. According to superstar, Aubrey Drake Graham, it’s today’s Miami Heat. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with the guy – not his spurious basketball knowledge but his shameless testament to being a total knob.
When folks ask what the difference is between rap and hip-hop, I find it difficult to answer concisely without straying off on the usual graffiti, beat-box, and turntable tangents. But nowadays, the answer is as quick as ditching a friend for an excuse you haven’t fully developed yet.
The difference between them is Drake.
Somehow, he’s made himself the perfect dividing line between culture and practice. But his deleterious effect on hip-hop may not be his fault entirely. He is from Toronto, after all. He grew up a child actor, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, and suffered through the divorce of his parents which, you know, is horribly uncommon – all the usual struggles of an up-and-coming hip-hop artist, right?
In his latest video, “Headlines”, you’ll find the young man nursing an unlit cigar in his brand new Zara button-up, riding the elevator up to what one can only assume is Lil Wayne’s office. Now I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this Craig David, circa 1999, image if it weren’t for Drake’s self-important lines “started not to give a fuck and stop fearing the consequence, drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments” which are decent rhymes until you come to your senses and realize the mendacity. Accomplishments? Come on.
I don’t know if Drake needs to (or can) establish a bit more street-cred but I do want to know what it is, exactly, that makes him so well liked. Is his flow so transcendent that it must occupy the CD-deck of every Chrysler 300 that passes by? Do his lyrics and parlance break down our invisible walls with such force that they must be blasted from every kid’s speakerphone while they ride the bus and subway?
Tell me the truth. If your excuse is that you never really liked Lil Wayne but felt that you couldn’t miss out on the Cash Money train again, I’ll understand.
His music isn’t all that bad; people have varying tastes and that’s perfectly natural. But in a world where crybabies get everything they want, his lack of substance continues to stand out – worse, it sets him back. We allow these so-called superstars to feel so entitled, regardless of whether they’ve earned it or not, as long as they’re willing to sell out (hi there, LeBron James). The sad part is that they pretend like the iniquity is cool and, somehow, it’s working.
But what do we call someone who does that? A pop star. So after much consideration, I’ve broken it down to basic musical arithmetic: Bieber + Rap = Drake
At least Biebs accepts his pop status while Drake continues to deny it through his thug-with-a-heart bit. Seriously, dude. I like the moxie and all but when will you get over yourself; you’re Canadian, remember? You can fool pop fans into liking you, but you won’t ever convince hip-hop addicts to appreciate your use of the word “swag.”