Seeing that Drake‘s Scorpion is currently dominating the charts with sales and social media with dances, what can I really say to set this review up? You already know the story. Scorpion is Drake’s fifth studio album (I personally consider his eight album) and it was presided by songs “God’s Plan” & “Nice For What” with both tracks each grabbing the top spot on the Billboard 200.
I guess at this point seeing Drzzy have success isn’t much of a surprise but what is different about this album is the beef with Pusha T right before its release. Not only did Drake take his first lost in the arena of rap sports, it was also revealed in the beef (On “The Story of Adidon” to be exact) that Drake was possible hiding a new kid from the world. I’m not gonna go into detail about the Drake versus Pusha T feud but it did set up a few storylines:
- After a definitive defeat, can Drake bounce back? Well, that question has already been answered with a resounding yes as this album is already a huge success.
- Has newfound fatherhood changed Drake content? We’ll see.
- Will we get a proper response to “The Story of Adidon”. Spoiler Alert: Not really.
Okay. Without further ado, let’s get into the latest from Aubrey Drake Graham. Scorpion.
Produced by No I.D. & Noah “40” Shebib
The album starts of with Drake getting a little aggressive while recapping points in his career like his beef with Meek Mill (“I’ve had real Philly niggas try to write my endin”) to the vague and rumored run-in with Puffy (“I’ve had scuffles with bad boys that wasn’t pretendin'”). “Survival ” may have the best line on the whole album with “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions”. These reflective rhymes are over production that contains horns that punctuate Drizzy’s returns. This won’t rank up there with other Drake album intros but it’s a serviceable start to a project.
Sidenote: I guess you can say that Drake acknowledges Pusha T’s “Story Of Adidon” immediately by rapping about how his “Daddy got suits like Bernie Mac, he dresses himself” after Push clowned his father’s clothes.
Produced by Tay Keith, No I.D., & Noel Cadastre
This sounds like something BlocBoy JB would jump on. Which makes sense because the Memphis influence is apparent on the flow, the bass heavy production, and the sample. This is one for the car and the clubs with Drake flexin with rhymes like
I’m a bar spitta, I’m a hard hitta
Yeah I’m light-skinned, but I’m still a dark nigga
Memphis would be proud.
Produced by Nonstop Da Hitman & PartyNextDoor
“Elevate” is classic Drake in that he jumps between rapping and singing to good results over mellow productions. As the title suggests, Drizzy once again reminisces about his rise in the music game. In all, this feels like a standard album track you would find on a Drake album.
Sidenote: This is just to acknowledge the small French Montana cameo/sample on the hook.
Produced by No I.D., Noah “40” Shebib, & The 25th Hour
I didn’t think you could sample Mariah Carey’s “Emotions” and make a good rap song but here we are. If you were to group the songs on the album between “Songs Made Before ‘The Story of Adidon'” and “Songs After Before ‘The Story of Adidon'”, “Emotionless” is the latter. Besides covering the posting habits of women on Instagram, this is the first song off the album where Drake ultimately acknowledges the existence of his child, Adonis, in the most Drake way (“I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world/I was hidin’ the world from my kid”). Drake & 40 has always been good at sampling 90’s R&B and this is more proof of that.
5. God’s Plan
Produced by Cardo, Yung Exclusive, Boi-1da & Noah “40” Shebib
There is no way in hell you are reading this review and have not heard of “God’s Plan”. It’s a good song, is a huge hit, and one of the reasons Scorpion went Platinum on the day of it’s release. Drake may have also earned lifetime of good karma with that music video.
6. I’m Upset
Produced by Oogie Mane
It was a misstep when Drake originally released “I’m Upset” as a single (Especially seeing that it was right before the release of “The Story of Adidon”). The song stills sounds uninspired and something you might hear by any number of generic trap rappers, but it feels like it’s aged better. I wasn’t into the music video that much either.
7. 8 Out of 10
Produced by Boi-1da, Jahan Sweet, & OB
I’m surprised by how much I like “8 Out of 10”. The productions feels like an OVO version of “Incarcerated Scarfaces” (The songs share the same sample). Here Drizzy is talking his shit and reminding us that no matter what happens, people shit play his music. The crazy thing is that this song may is probably filled with subliminals aimed at Kanye & Pusha that I won’t go in depth about here (“Your wifey, your wifey, your wifey, your wifey…”). And how can you not love the Plies sample at the end?
8. Mob Ties
Produced by Boi-1da & Allen Ritter
If you thought this was a Young Thug feature, you are not alone. You still have to give props to Drake for being able to pull it off but it’s too on the nose (Especially seeing that Drizzy has been accused of taking flows before). Seeing that this song is basically a Young Thug recreation and that I’m not a big fan of Young Thug, I pass on this one.
9. Can’t Take a Joke
Produced by ModMaxx
This song feels short but that’s maybe because Drake is using a faster non-stop flow. The production is cool, but it’s not really a memorable song. Drizzy is laughing at his foes and they can’t take a joke. Okay.
10. Sandra’s Rose
Produced by DJ Premier & Maneesh
First off, can we give Drake props for getting DJ Premier on the album? I feel like the trademark Preemo drums must of been inspiring because there are some witty lines on this one:
My mother had a flower shop, but I was Sandra’s Rose
Two girls that I rope like Indiana Jones
I make them hoes walk together like I’m Amber Rose
Backstabbed so many times I started walkin’ backwards
Like Charlamagne, I see the light and see the darkest patches
This is a welcome change of pace from the songs before and one of the reasons it’s a win.
11. Talk Up
Featuring Jay-Z; Produced by DJ Paul
The weird relationship of Jay-Z and Drake continues as the rappers connect on “Talk Up”. Even more unexpected it that the production is handled by DJ Paul. Much respect to DJ Paul but the beat doesn’t match up well with Drizzy and Jigga. This could and should have been better. It’s a reason why the most you here about this song is Jay-Z’s line “Y’all killed X and let Zimmerman live, shhh, s-streets is done”. *shrugs*
12. Is There More
Produced by Wallis Lane & Preme
If you was looking for more songs that have Drake questioning if there more to life than being a hugely successful rapper over spacey production, you’ll like “Is There More” (“And all of these asses that never come in proportionate size?”). The ending of the track has Nai Palm singing lyrics to Aaliyah’s “More Than A Woman”, which is weird because why not just play the sample? This song closes out Side A (aka The Rap-ish Side).
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib
Singing Drizzy comes out swinging on Side B (aka The R&B-ish Side) with “Peak” (“Treat you like princess/Rest in heaven, Diana”). The slow track ahs Drake singing about (What else?) relationship issues. It also has clips of rapper Stefflon Don gossiping with her friends about men and dating which seems like an odd placement. The song can easily go on your bedroom playlist with no issues.
2. Summer Games
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib & No I.D.
While “Summer Games” is more Pop/Dance than R&B, it speaks to the Instagram influence relationship culture of today:
Yeah, you say I led you on, but you followed me
I follow one of your friends, you unfollow me
Then you block them so they can’t see you likin’ someone just like me
It can also comes off corny. With that being said, don’t be surprised if this one is a big hit later in the album’s life.
Produced by Noel Cadastre
Here Drake sings about being hurt by a love interest and feeling numb to relationships after. Ty Dollar $ign (who is literally on every project this year) shows up to do uncredited background vocals. A lot of people are saying this song is about singer Jorja Smith but I don’t really care. It’s your standard Drake R&B song where he sings about lost love.
4. Nice for What
Produced by Murda Beatz, Blaqnmild, Noah “40” Shebib, & Corey Litwin
I’m gonna cover this one the same way I covered “God’s Plans”. Drake came out the gate with two monster hits and this was the second one. And if you didn’t know this was one for the ladies, the music video cemented it. New Orleans bounce and a Lauryn Hill sample wins out here.
Produced by Noel Cadastre
On this track, Drake talks about dating a woman but not being able to do so in public. Their lyrics about Fashion Week, the woman having an attractive sister, and hiding the relationship from somebody (Possibly The Weekend) which has lead to people thinking this song is about model Bella Hadid. Maybe but I like the laid back feel the songs gives off. The hook is cool too.
6. Ratchet Happy Birthday
Produced by Boi-1da, Jahaan Sweet, & D10
Drake, with assistance from PARTYNEXTDOOR, turns up the Auto-Tune to have a “Ratchet Happy Birthday”. And that’s not a slight at Drizzy or Party because the results are good. The production is sorta lo-fi but charming and will be on a lot of women’s born day playlist.
7. That’s How You Feel
Produced by Noel Cadastre
Let me point out that we are 19 tracks deep in this album. Why Drake? That aside, this song once again cover Drizzy’s relationship with a woman, and not being sure her feelings. It’s okay but the thing that stands out is that it samples a Nicki Minaj live performance of “Boss Ass Bitch”. The clever use makes “That’s How You Feels” more than your average Drake relationship song.
8. Blue Tint
Produced by Supah Mario & IllMind
“Blue Tint” is a more up tempo than the past few songs and it’s welcome change. Drake talks about getting back with a ex for the umptenth time. It’s a catchy but short song that not even three minute long.
Sidenote#1: Future is one this song but to only do a few ad-libs and say the line “Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah”. Okay.
Sidenote #2: According to producer Supah Mario, this song was apparently meant for Big K.R.I.T.
9. In My Feelings
Produced by TrapMoneyBenny, BlaqnMild, & Noah “40” Shebib
After “God’s Plan” & “Nice For What”, “In My Feelings” turned out to be another huge hit Drake off this album. Hell, it might end up being bigger than the previous songs mentioned (It’s the only one that has a dance connected to it). At the time of this writing, I’m tired of hearing about Kiki, KB, or whoever. That being said, I still can’t deny the song’s infectiousness.
10. Don’t Matter to Me
Featuring Michael Jackson; Produced by Noah “40” Shebib & Nineteen85
I talked to a few people about the Drake & Michael Jackson collaboration “Don’t Matter to Me” and most didn’t like it (Some of MJ’s family feel the same way). I’m personally all for hearing the King of Pop over Noah “40” Shebib’s production. I like this song. I can do my Michael Jackson dance moves AND listen to Drake? I’m in.
I also feel this move is Drake saying that he may be one the same level as Jacko seeing that he has also broken a multitude of sales records.
11. After Dark
Featuring Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign; Produced by Static Major & Noah “40” Shebib
Is it weird that Drake has two posthumous features back to back? I guess not seeing that this isn’t the first time he has done this with Static Major (Who also shares production credit on the track). The song production sounds like something Timbaland would have made in the late 90’s and the 93.7 WBLK “Quiet Storm” air-check on the outro helps this feeling.
12. Final Fantasy
Produced by Boi-1da, Noah “40” Shebib, & Jahaan Sweet
The first part of this song is Drake talking/rapping straight foward about his sexual fantasies (He name checks porn companies Evil Angel and Vivid) while the second part has him singing and being more romantic. This parts are weirdly split by a funny clip taken from an episode of Maury that mentions Drake. I kinda wish the song was just the first part. The beat is dope and Drake talking over it reminds me of something Barry White would have did.
13. March 14
Produced by T-Minus & Josh Valle
Drake uses the final track to speak on his son and the situation surrounding his creation. While Side B is the more R&B side, this is mostly a rap song. I know there have been reports are that this song was made way before “The Story of Adidon”, but it just feels like it was made after. Still, I think Drake made all his points on the situation, his relationship with Sophie Brussaux, and wanting to be in the kid’s life so in that respect the song is a success. The end of the song has Drake doing his best Boyz II Men impression. The Boy is now a Man. And that’s the end of Scorpion.
While I can complain that Scorpion is far too long (25 tracks? Really?), I can’t really say that there is a terrible song on the entire project. Every song isn’t a total win but there is enough here that Drake made every kind of Drake song he wanted. Still, with a few song removed, the album could have been much better.
Like most people, I prefer Side A over Side B. If Drake was trying to convey different feelings for each part, he achieved that. Side B for the most part is kinda sad and in places redundant after listening to the first side.
In the end, Scorpion will probably fit in the middle of Drake’s discography. Drake stans will love the abundance of news tracks while casual fans will pick and chose their favorites. Either way, it’s another point on the board for OVO and possibly the biggest pop star on the planet.