Month after diss track, Drake emerges unfazed with new album

NEW YORK — A month ago, Drake’s world was crumbling.

Now, he’s untouchable.

Pusha T’s infamous diss track — where he was in full investigative journalist mode, divulging new information about Drake while also shading his mother, father and bestie — hit Drake hard. Drake’s reply — well, lack thereof, marked a low for the rapper-singer, who had surprised music fans when he won his rap beef with Meek Mill in 2015.

But Drake, who has been criticized by some as too commercial and too soft, is back on top seemingly unfazed. And those fans who enjoyed the revelations in Pusha T’s “The Story of Adidon” are likely listening to “Scorpion,” the highly anticipated, 25-track album by pop music’s No. 1 player released Friday.

“It’s not going to hurt him,” Carl Chery, Spotify’s creative director for urban music, said of the diss track. “If Drake comes out with his new single, you’re not going to listen to it? Everyone is going to run and play it. And it’s going to become an Instagram caption.”

“Scorpion,” which features songs with Jay-Z and a previously unreleased Michael Jackson track, includes the massive No. 1 hits “God’s Plan” and “Nice for What.” It’s expected to debut at No. 1, and it was already heavily trending on social media ahead of its release.

Over the last few weeks, Drake memes were also trending, but it wasn’t advance publicity he would have hoped for. Instead, the rapper — derided for being too sensitive by some hip-hop heads — was being roasted after the release of “The Story of Adidon,” which besides going for the jugular lyrically, also featured as its cover a photo of Drake in blackface (which the rapper explained was a publicity shot from his acting days from a project about the difficulties black actors face).

Pusha T started the beef with a line in his recently released album “Daytona,” and Drake responded with a whole track of digs in the song “Duppy Freestyle.” It seemed he won the battle until Pusha T released his track — and Drake went silent.

Damien Scott, Complex’s editor-in-chief and vice-president of content and development, said that he thought Drake might have gone back in the studio to re-record “Scorpion” following Pusha T’s shocking revelation that Drake was a father (“A baby’s involved, it’s deeper than rap/We talkin’ character, let me keep with the facts/You are hiding a child, let that boy come home”).

“I think that the diss had an effect on him personally and as an artist,” said Scott, who said the song wouldn’t put a dent in Drake’s professional career. “He’s never been in this space before. He’s never been on his left foot before and I don’t think he knows what that’s like.”

Scott may have been right. For the first time Drake addresses his son in a song, rapping on “Emotionless”: “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid.” On the closing track “March 14,” he raps about being a single father and says: “She’s not my lover like Billie Jean, but the kid is mine.”

For another artist, a diss track so heavy might have hurt their career — but not for Drake.

“He can still put this (album) out and get so much love in the midst of all of this other drama that’s happening,” said Cori Murray, entertainment director at Essence magazine. “He’s still beloved.”

The Grammy winner has been on a white-hot streak since he jumped from the acting world onto the music scene as both a rapper and singer in 2009, releasing hit after hit, multiplatinum albums and collaborations with everyone from Rihanna to Romeo Santos. His sound has evolved over the years to incorporate not just rap and R&B but pop, dancehall and African music.

“I call Drake the No. 1 pop star because of the type of music he makes. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory sense. I legitimately think he’s pop music in the way that Michael Jackson and Madonna were pop music, in the sense that they take all these influences and all these genres and use themselves as a filter through which they’re distilled into something brand new,” Scott said.

Murray agreed.

“Because of Drake I learned about WizKid. Because of Drake I learned about Black Coffee,” Murray said of the Nigerian singer who appeared on Drake’s hit “One Dance” and the South African DJ who performs around the world. “He’s introducing you to something (new) … so why not give him his credit for introducing us to someone we may not have known about?”

Chery said Drake’s ever-changing sound has kept him consistent — with fans and on the pop charts.

“You have to change with the times, and he’s done that,” said Chery, referencing that Drake’s recent collaborations include Migos and rising rapper Lil Baby. “I think he just really has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening. And he knows when it’s appropriate for him to jump on something and kind of incorporate it in his game plan.”

“He’s like become a tastemaker in a sense,” Chery added.

Just Posted

Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into… Continue reading

Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint

NEW YORK — Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to… Continue reading

For sake of pupils’ pupils, China to ban homework on apps

BEIJING — An eastern Chinese province plans to ban teachers from assigning… Continue reading

Parole hearing for Calgary man who strangled wife, buried body in basement

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and concealed her… Continue reading

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Still-active human rights case speaks to lasting homophobia in Canada: activists

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Just over 14 years ago, the government of… Continue reading

Alberta missionaries among the Canadians heading home from riot-stricken Haiti

MONTREAL — A Canadian couple who had to leave Haiti due to… Continue reading

Most Read