Almost a year ago, I wrote an article about Drake. In it, I talked about how I’d identified so much with his music when I was 22 — but then, as we both grew into our midthirties over the next decade, he basically kept making music for 22-year-olds. The article, predictably, got held up by Drake fans as some sort of scathing takedown of his music and artistry. But that’s how the internet works. I also got a lot of “he just doesn’t make music for you, old man*” from twentysomethings — which was exactly my point.
Fast forward to this past Friday, when Drake dropped Scary Hours 2, an EP of songs meant to keep the buzz going for his gonna-drop-at-some-point album Certified Lover Boy. The material, finally, hints at a desire to evolve beyond being the hitmaker who drops TikTok dance anthems. Not everything has changed: The hooks are still full of catchphrases and tracks that immediately topped the charts because that’s what Drake does and will always do. He’s never going to suddenly become Phonte or Black Thought. But these first few tracks have some signs of maturity.
Drake is a 34-year-old dad who pays child support and drops his kid off at school and when he gets out of bed something in his body that aches and he doesn’t quite know why. We as millennials have reclaimed our chart-topping messiah.
On “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” with Rick Ross, Drake goes on a three-minute bar-fest that’s as sharp as anything he’s dropped in years. But more importantly, he talks about going to parent-teacher conferences. That’s right: Drake is rapping about some of the washed life of a thirtysomething. Okay, sure, he’s rapping about how the other moms there hit on him — but it’s a start. On “What’s Next,” Drake has a hook that includes “Well, summer, all I did was rest, okay? And New Year’s, all I did was stretch, okay?” That’s the sound of a flag getting planted firmly on the side of the washed.
Sorry Gen Z, Drake belongs to us now, babyyyyy! Drake is a 34-year-old dad who pays child support and drops his kid off at school and when he gets out of bed something in his body aches and he doesn’t quite know why. We as millennials have reclaimed our chart-topping messiah. You hear that, kids?! Go listen to Lil Tink Tink or Baby Toddler Jones and move your arms like you’re fighting Ip Man and leave us the hell alone. Drake is home! And — wait for it — nothing was the same.
*I would make fun of a 20-year-old for thinking a 34-year-old rapper is part of their generation or telling them what’s cool, but I used to be 19 going to the clubs looking like an assistant deacon on casual fifth Sunday service because 35-year-old Jay-Z told me to wear button-ups. I get it.