Saturday, July 20, 2024

Is Drake Never Not Corny? And Does It Even Matter?

Making fun of Drake always feels pointless how fighting gravity or eating vegetables does—what’s the purpose? What are we accomplishing here, really? Even if you defeat gravity’s oppressive personality you’ll float away into space where you can’t breathe and eating vegetables is not only boring, but existentially, kind of fruitless—if a runaway train smashes your healthy, greeny body, it will obliterate you and you will die. Then, you’ll wish you were fat so the blob could absorb the blow.

Cynical, sure, but Drake, in so many ways, is that runaway train. A force unstoppable, a power unshakeable, and your jokes won’t change anything.

I suppose it’s important to clarify why anyone would make fun of Drake. Out of context, the urge seems misguided and plain mean. The context: Whenever Drake posts shit like this.

It’s corny, kind of dumb, and silly. Your urge is to make fun. To laugh—not with, at. As many shared fond farewells to 44th President Barack Obama, including personal memories or proud moments during his presidency, Drake created (in his mind) both. The Canadian rapper merged faces with the American president. It was his version of a salute. That Obama was worthy enough to be Drake-like.

Of course Aubrey Graham knows how it will be received. Of course he knows it’ll be teased, insulted, and—there it is again—made fun of.

Just like he was for this.

And for this commercial.

Ridiculing Drake isn’t only unproductive, it’s tired. A short list of things for which Drake’s been mocked: being soft, singing instead of rapping, Wheelchair Jimmy, lint-rolling his jeans at a Raptors’ game, the light tone of his skin color, “Marvin’s Room,” essentially jacking “Hotline Bling,” Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, J. Lo (still seems fake), having feelings, rhyming “momma” 17 times in a row, Diddy (allegedly) punching him in the face, too sensitive, virtually all of his album covers (to various degrees), acting “hard,” bandwagoning sports teams, shooting a basketball, his fake Jamaican accent, the “Sneakin’” video, the “Hotline Bling” video, the “Hold On, We’re Going Home” video, and so many more things.

This isn’t a case of bad press is good because all press is good press. That would be warranted, if not justified. This isn’t even Drake as meme rapper, or him being the first internet rapper to grasp this stuff. As much as you’re making fun of Aubrey, his endless, enormous appeal is that a) he’s tacitly self-deprecating and b) he knows you want to make fun of him.

If you’re making fun of Aubrey with fodder he provided, who’s really one-upping who? It’s Eminem rapping all his white-boy faults at the end of 8 Mile. Whatever ferocious insult about Drake you say, in some way, always originated from him (a few exceptions granted). You’re unknowingly reinforcing ideas Drake wants you to.

Because Drake is all these things: sensitive, petty, “a tough guy,” silly, great at rapping, good at singing, glorious combining both in that sing-rapping manner he pulls off. And he’s corny. Drake is really, really corny. Anytime he acts rough, like a “boss,” or when he released If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, it works because the opposing criticism has already been addressed elsewhere. Drake can pretend because he admits actually who he is; there is no mask to pull off, only to change. If you don’t believe that’s what everyone wants in the social media era, you’ve never used a dog filter.


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