Home > News & Reviews > Drake

Drake - Scorpion (Album Review)

Monday, 09 July 2018 Written by Jonathan Rimmer

A common criticism levelled at Drake over the years is that his records tend to sound the same, but it’s a jab that misses the mark. While it's true that the Toronto megastar has developed a dependable formula, delivering introverted yet accessible rhymes over new school production, there's a clear distinction between his sonically expansive early works and his minimalist quasi-dancehall records of recent years.

The turning point was the 2015 mixtape 'If You're Reading This, It's Too Late', which garnered critical acclaim and was notable for several reasons. Firstly, it presented Drake as a battle rap-inspired combatant with barbed punchlines and sharp put downs, moving away from the narcissistic, lightweight persona of previous records. And secondly, the nocturnal production was game-changing, utilising woozy reverb, dramatic piano motifs and unexpected vocal samples.

You get the impression that Drake understood the significance, too, as he's spent the past three years attempting to recreate this dynamic, albeit with a sprinkling of new influences.

On the surface, choosing to explicitly draw from neo-soul and dancehall is artistically bold given his well established aesthetic but, if anything, the biggest drawback has been an unwillingness to deviate from his comfort zone. He has cloaked his ambition by reusing the same played-out flows and rhythmic patterns again and again – and his rapping hasn't been up to much either.

'Scorpion' is a frustrating mess because it suffers from both of these problems. His flows are more simplified than ever before and there's a general lethargy that encompasses the entire release. Worse, Drake maintains this dirge-like approach over two whole discs. The single Nice For What, with its passionate vocals and bouncy rhythm, sounds like it's wandered onto the wrong album. By the end of side one it already feels as if he's run out of things to say, with most verses revolving around uninteresting personal anecdotes and platitudes about staying true to himself.

Drake's lyricism has always been hit and miss: rare highlight Sandra's Rose, brimming with similes and witty comparisons, inevitably contrasts with characteristic moping about the trappings of fame on the likes of Finesse (“fashion week is more your thing than mine / I can't even lie / I'd rather stay inside”). What's more surprising, especially in light of his high-profile beef with Pusha T, is his watered down delivery. The nadir is I'm Upset, a tepid rebuttal to recent disses where Drake lifelessly rambles over the dullest beat he's ever spat on.

Devotees seeking depth will be rewarded with the odd grower, though. Emotionless showcases some neat flows and a unique gospel-led beat while Elevate's claustrophobic production is peculiarly gripping. But for listeners tuned out to the Drake brand as a whole, not least the minutiae of his personal life being exhaustively dissected at every opportunity, there's little about 'Scorpion' worth staying for. 'Views' was panned for being aimless and needlessly long, but it at least invoked a sense of atmosphere. Ultimately, 'Scorpion' struggles to invoke much of anything at all.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




Related News

Drake Adds Extra Dates To UK And European The Assassination Vacation Tour
Fri 25 Jan 2019
Drake has added a seventh London date to the UK leg of his The Assassination Vacation Tour due to demand.
Drake Tickets For UK And European The Assassination Vacation Tour On Sale 9am Today
Fri 25 Jan 2019
Drake has announced spring dates for his UK And European leg of The Assassination Vacation Tour. Drake tickets go on general sale at 9am today, priced from £45.00 plus fees.
Drake Confirms The Assassination Vacation 2019 UK And European Tour - How To Buy Tickets
Tue 22 Jan 2019
Drake will bring The Assassination Vacation Tour to the UK and Europe this spring.
Gods Of Rap UK Tour Featuring Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy And De La Soul - How To Buy Tickets
Fri 18 Jan 2019
Wu-Tang Clan will be joined by Public Enemy and De La Soul for three UK arena shows on the first ever Gods Of Rap UK tour this May.
J. Cole Returns With New Single Middle Child
Thu 24 Jan 2019
J. Cole has shared his first official single since 2013.
European Dates Added To Gods Of Rap Tour Featuring Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy And De La Soul
Tue 29 Jan 2019
The Gods Of Rap Tour featuring Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy and De La Soul will head to Europe following a run of previously announced shows across the UK and Ireland.
Octavian Wins BBC Sound Of 2019
Fri 11 Jan 2019
Photo: Octavian Facebook Octavian has won the BBC Sound of 2019.
Loyle Carner Unveils Video For New Track You Don't Know Featuring Rebel Kleff And Kiko Bun
Thu 17 Jan 2019
Loyle Carner has shared a new track featuring Rebel Kleff and Kiko Bun.
 
< Prev   Next >