August 3, 2012

Draked [drayk – ed]
verb
The act of turning an ostensibly joyous situation into one that is introspective and sad. Characterized by noirish ambiance, vocals that combine singing and rapping, and an adoration for being swaddled in antique angora sweaters.

“Swimming Pools (Drank)” has been Draked. Of course, there’s a fine line between drank and Drake. And Kendrick has the right to borrow from the kvetching Canadian, even enlisting his producer T-Minus to make this beat. After all, Drake swag Dracula’d Kendrick’s flow all over Take Care, so they’re even. Also, there’s the fact that this is one of my favorite songs of the year — thus proving that I’m not actually opposed to Drake’s sound or style, just how patronizing he comes off (there is a hash tag rap joke involving Patron, but I will not make it).

Not to say that Kendrick’s ever been happy-go-lucky. Section 80’s only flaw (besides the “African Baby” rawk hooks) is that it’s never fun. Like Drake, Kendrick has the ability to turn a pool party into a failure pile in a sadness bowl (word to Patton Oswalt). What gives his music it’s power is the combination of stylistic filagrees, sincerity, and straight up songwriting ability. Oh, and he raps really really well, experimenting with alien voices, double-time patterns, singing and a whole host of manic flourishes that are always hemmed in by his need to be in control. That extends to his sobering aesthetic.

 

Kendrick’s debut is actually looking like it’s going to come out this Fall. He’s still not about to sell singles like Tyga, but he’s consistently dropping the best music of any rapper out right now. And “Swimming Pools” might be his best radio-bid yet. For one, it neatly fits into the “saturnine but sexy” lane carved out by Drake, Frank Ocean, and the Weeknd. It even extends to IDM vis a vis Shlohmo and Nicolas Jaar).

What’s most auspicious for its success is that it’s engineered to be misinterpreted as a drinking anthem by SAE’s everywhere. Just try to ignore the part about his grandfather’s alcoholism, frat bros. Total buzzkill  Then there’s the fact that this is backed by Dre. He’s come full circle from the days where he didn’t smoke weed or cess because it caused brain damage. Still, I can’t help but wonder if Snoop Lion is looking at him askance. 2012 and the best rapper out just dropped the video for what is essentially the anti-“Gin and Juice.” The moral of the story is don’t invest in Seagrams.

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