BRYN HAMMOND

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Drake’s latest album has generated plenty of buzz, yet its musical missile landing has been less about the content and (rather) more about the tidal wave of who’s who in the R&B and hip hop community. Scorpion, Drake’s fifth studio album, features a variety of guest appearances from the likes of Jay-Z, Ty Dolla Sign, James Fauntleroy, Nicki Minaj, PartyNextDoor, Future and Nai Palm. In addition, Scorpion includes posthumous appearances from Michael Jackson and Static Major.

 

Executively produced by Noah 40 Shebib (a frequent Drake collaborator) and manager Oliver El-Khatib, Scorpion doubles up on themes already prevalent in Drake’s established and well-oiled musical machine, offering nothing new to the turntable.

 

The album, which consists of two discs and 25 songs including the No.1 singles God’s Plan and Nice For What, can be texturised by the artist’s erratic self-loathing depths which flip reverses exhaustingly from its bleak and quite frankly tiring place of self-pity to a pumped up lover of oneself, driven purely by ego, resulting in the ultimate excess of a musical Eton mess.

 

Beyond the weary depths of pity palace Drake provides a range of suitable concept breaks with Can’t Take a Joke, That’s How You Feel, March 14 and Final Fantasy. All of these rise above the narrative of disc 1 and singularly levitate disc 2 into prize position (must have).

 

Can’t Take a Joke sizzles with an old school beat and is one of the album’s front runners. However, the tune has found itself overshadowed by the controversy that Drake’s track borrowed (allegedly) flow and the lyrical subject matter from Albanian rapper Elinel’s 2012 track Bullet. With little knowledge of Elinel or his catalogue it’s hard to say if Bullet had ever come into contact with Drake or his crew of producers and/or writers prior to entering the studio to put down Can’t Take a Joke, but in any form of creativity there are bound to be overlaps and similarities when covering a similar subject matter; overlaps and similarities are not plagiarism. No matter how original one might think one’s blueprint is, if you’re going after the same topic the mathematical equation will always be either the same or a variation on the matter. Unless there is ground-breaking, indisputable evidence of plagiarism, shut the f*#k-up and sit down!

 

March 14 is another throwback track where Drake grates prevalently on about having a hectic schedule and how his other half needs to be aware he’s on the road more than he’s home. It goes on to directly addresses fatherhood before dropping a Michael Jackson reference, or at least a direct nod to the song Billie Jean.

 

The track, produced by T-Minus, co-produced by Josh Valle with additional vocals by James Fauntelroy, is another one of the album’s highly speculated-on tracks due to its content and whether it’s referring to Pusha-T. Whatever the case, it’s a nicely crafted piece with a solid arrangement.

"Beyond the weary depths of pity palace Drake provides a range of suitable concept breaks with Can’t Take a Joke, That’s How You Feel, March 14 and Final Fantasy."

Scorpion is not an entire war zone. Yes, it’s erratic and at times executed in a way that makes it feel as if the deadline was looming and he needed to bang it out quickly, much like the service at In-N-Out! But the overall experience is on a par with his earlier efforts. Drake’s fondness for terrible punchlines is there, his ego-bruised grievances are intact, his endless nods to his inspirations are in second gear and his sumptuous over-bloated sound is back with a vengeance.

 

If you’re a Drake fan you will be pleased he’s returned, but is it a return to form? Only a super fan could answer that! I shall sit on the fence. I didn’t hate it nor did I love it. Middle ground feels comfortable on this one!

 

Scorpion is available on CD, Vinyl  and Digital download now.      

Drake is back, but did he ever truly go away? Scorpion, his fifth studio album, is a monster, but was it really worth the studio time?

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Album

 

Format

 

Label

 

Release date

Scorpion

 

 

CD Album, Vinyl, Digital Download

 

 

Young Money, Cash Money, Republic

 

 

 

13th July 2018

01-364226

Review / Published 22 July 2018 @ 20:00 PM

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