Drake possesses that je ne sais quoi which allows his dissatisfaction with his lavish lifestyle to be endearing rather than irritating. To be clear, I use je ne sais quoi literally because “I [truly] do not know” how he pulls it off. Why do so many people adore an ostentatious billionaire whose artistic output has been devoted to dwelling on his character flaws and lamenting his failed relationships? In my opinion, Drake’s popularity comes from the intense relatability of his lyrics and, more specifically, his ability to encapsulate universal emotions in a single line (what YouTube commentator Jon Denton dubbed “Instagram caption rap”). While people take vicarious pleasure from observing celebrity lifestyles on social media, self-proclaimed “sickos” flock to Drake for a different reason. They find solace in the knowledge that everyone experiences disappointment, despondency, and even despair.
On “What’s Next,” off his EP released March 5 titled Scary Hours 2, Drake raps, “I’m makin’ a change today / The liquor been takin’ the pain away / I heard you was givin’ your chain away / That’s kinda like givin’ your fame away.” It’s Drake’s typical extravagance and swagger—as is the music video for “What’s Next,” which sees Drake roam his hometown of Toronto during a snowstorm. Like many of his videos, the atmosphere is injected with heavy doses of luxury vehicles, designer jackets, and late-night energy. Drake’s self-assured presence prevents even the most outlandish scenes from feeling incongruous.
For example, toward the end of the video, we see Drake’s frame silhouetted against the luminescent backdrop of a jellyfish tank—his shadow gesticulating wildly and his voice continuing uninterrupted and unapologetic. It is this undeniable confidence that prevents Drake’s ambitious vision from collapsing under its own weight and devolving into self-parody.
Ultimately, Drake’s enduring relevance and continued successes have proven there are only two types of people left: Drake fans and liars. As one of my roommates said, “Dude, Drake is my number one most-played artist, and I don’t even like him that much.” In due time, my friend. In due time.
Photo Courtesy of Warner Records