Song of the Day? – Drake’s “When To Say When / Chicago Freestyle / Not Around”

Song of the Day returns for a new week, featuring a rapper you may have heard of.
By    March 2, 2020

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Lucas Foster will not be resigning with the Toronto Raptors.

Is this your God? Playing craps with Devin Booker?

The typical pop superstar’s late career is marked by grandiosity, hijinks, and distraction. Jumping the shark after ten years or six album cycles on top is just a natural order of things. Eventually, the glitz, the excess, and the yes men cause artists to start doing ridiculous things. We just saw this happen with Kanye, who went off the deep end into Trumpism and Mega Church Christianity and now drives a fleet of Ford Raptors around rural Wyoming with his crew. Kanye is an eccentric perfectionist who spent half a lifetime seeking artistic immortality; the only way he was going out was with some extremely loud and messy antics such as these. 

Drake has always been a consensus superstar. A politician who built a broad tent coalition through wheeling, dealing, appeasing, shaking hands and kissing babies. His last album rollout featured a music video where he filmed himself paying for people’s groceries. There’s never been a rapper who has been so obsessive about his public image. This is why, ten years into a near unparalleled pop rap mega star run, he’s still so much a part of our lives. Take this weekend’s “surprise” loosie drop. 

One song interpolates a 19-year-old Jay-Z track, the other an 18-year-old Eminem track. Both beats would not be out of place in a hoops mixtape video. Drake’s traditional rap flow, which is somehow monotone and Whitney, is employed for him to remind people he still can drop bars. They are probably two of the safest tracks ever released by a super star this deep into the game. Especially when one compares those to the SoundCloud leak, “Not Around,” that “coincidentally” dropped the next day where we hear Drake singing on top of Pierre Bourne’s Godly nebulous space cloud sounds (“Not Around” was only up for a few hours before being deleted, but I’ll email the mp3 to any reader interested in hearing it).

This weekend’s drop is obviously Drake dropping feelers for what his rainbow coalition base is hungry for in the next election cycle. While we’ll pay attention to anything he does, it would be a lot more interesting if he works with Pierre or anyone else with fresh sounds and original ideas. But with Drake it’s never been about what’s interesting, it’s always been about electability.

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