About a week ago I did a poll on my Twitter account out of curiosity. In the poll, I asked people to pick between Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Chance The Rapper. The results were not what I wanted to see.
Just curious if you had to pick one.
— Nora Hassan (@NoraHassan919) May 12, 2016
Drake?! Not only Drake but Kendrick and J. Cole with 23% each?! For me, personally, you really can’t go wrong with the other three options. I’m sorry I get that Drake is popular in pop culture, the Internet, and everything but I’m not a fan. Don’t get me wrong I used to love the guy. My freshman year of high school was strictly Drake and Wayne.
Here is why I am so adamantly against Drake. He hasn’t changed.
He’s been making the same music for the past 6-7 years.
The hip-hop game was his. The crown was his. It was Drake’s to lose after Wayne went off the map. Drake failed to take the crown.
Drake’s career, in my eyes, has been stagnating.
He’s 29 years old and still rapping about the same stuff he was rapping about at age 23. I know that every artist has a certain sound, that’s fine. I also know that as you get older your life and circumstances change and therefore what you like, do, and what matters most changes. Drake’s music has never shown this. Every song seems like just a different version of an older song
he wrote, sorry his ghostwriter wrote.
Drake has been rapping about the same stuff for 6 years. How many times can these same exact things keep happening to this same guy? I mean come on. Taylor Swift got crucified for doing the same thing and guess what happened… She changed and her music got better. She got older. She matured and with that her music matured. She created her own style and sound.
Let’s look at the other three options in the poll.
Let’s start with Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick has released two LPs. Two completely different LPs but at the same time remain Kendrick. You cannot find a song on, To Pimp A Butterfly that sounds like a song on Good Kid M.A.A.D City. He as an individual has evolved and has let that show in his music. He’s honest in his music. Music is the outlet Kendrick used to show his struggles to the world. He didn’t care about what song would go viral. He cares about making music that connected. To Pimp A Butterfly embodies that philosophy. GKMC was great, but it wasn’t truly Kendricks, To Pimp A Butterfly was.
Next, let’s look at J. Cole. J. Cole’s debut album, Cole World: A Sideline Story was a fresh injection the hip-hop industry needed. Born Sinner was a successful sophomore album. But 2014 Forest Hill Drive is one of the best hip-hop albums put out in not just 2014 but in this century. The stats speak for itself, the first album to go platinum with having a feature. The album is from J. Cole’s heart. He’s speaking about his life. He’s speaking about what he lives through every day. He’s speaking about his experiences. By doing so listeners are connecting with J. Cole as an individual and artist.
Finally, let’s talk about the youngest artist of the group, Chance The Rapper. Chance is just 23 years old and this man has the world at his hands. He’s the reason the Grammys are considering making a free music category. He’s created a revolution with his ideology and music. I have often seen people’s first reaction to Chance, they hate him. One of my best friends said, “my ears are bleeding” the first time he listened to Chance, he’s now one of the biggest Chance supporters I know. I often tell people that Chance is an acquired taste. You might not like him the first or second time but eventually, he’ll win you over.
Chance’s first mixtape, 10 Day, was a mixtape made by a boy with huge dreams and a sound of his own. Acid Rap was made by a boy coming to terms with his life, lifestyle, and dreams. Coloring Book was made by a man that realizes who he is, what his life is, and what makes him happy. Everyone single song, video, and mixtape Chance has ever made has been 100% him. Not the industry.
It’s hard for me to understand why 29% of the people that voted in that poll chose Drake over these other three. Picking one of these three was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in music.
No one can deny Drake’s talent and musical ability. I think that’s what annoys me the most. He’s got so much talent but he isn’t using it to it’s full potential. I only hope he wakes up and makes better music. If he does so then maybe he can make a fan out of me again. Until that moment, I’m out.
I’ve given Drake more second chances than I can count. I’ve listened to every album he’s put out since Take Care. He lost me after that. I’ve just gotten tired of his music. I know I’m not the only one. If he doesn’t mature he’s going to continue to lose support.
All I ask of artists whether they be as big as Drake or as small a some local rapper passing out his mixtapes at the bus stops is to have courage with your music. Take a risk. Be different. Don’t’ be content with your music. Always strive to be better than you were yesterday. That can be in anything, not just music. Drake just hasn’t done this for me.
Have courage. Make your own style. Create your own sound.
I chose Chance for this very reason.
By Nora Hassan