It’s 6:04 pm and I’m scampering to reset my Apple ID so that I can log onto my Macbook’s Apple Music account before Oliver and Drake go live on Beats1 Radio for the premiere of More Life (that thought couldn’t have screamed millennial capitalist if it tried to). For a minute, I had forgotten More Life’s drop date had finally approached us after waiting months on end for the highly anticipated playlist but by the grace of God (and Black Twitter) I was quickly reminded we were just moments away from a forceful follow up to Views.

 

 

Graham initially decided to call the 22 single series a playlist rather than an album solely for the vibe he was aiming for, stating in a Complex interview that the goal behind this project was to create a “playlist to give you a collection of songs that become the soundtrack to your life”. An interesting thought none the less after many setbacks and altered countdowns, millions were gathered on social media platforms to listen in on the new set of music.

But of course like with any other release, artists become fair game for scrutiny and an overwhelming sense of worship and high praises from devoted fans, but there’s something different when it comes to a Drake premiere. The 30 year old has run through hoops in the entertainment industry to get to the place he currently resides and around the time of each drop, it’s no surprise cued draft slander is ready to fall on the 6God. With Drake, it’s difficult to simply acknowledge hard work and devotion to his craft, rather a run of the mill debate occurs on why he does or doesn’t deserve to be number one in the game.

 

From speculations that his work is completely ghost written down to arguments that the only key to his success has been by way of stealing flows from other rappers, Graham has felt the pressure for years in this game. To a certain degree the 6God is most definitely a cultural spectacle in the music industry, but his ability to adapt fluidly with other cultural interest has made him a target of some serious accusations: from chopping up a “fake Jamaican” accent all the way to being accused of hopping on the UK’s legendary grime wave for another come up.

Now, I’m no cultural or musical expert but I believe it can be argued that the artists who have been deemed legendary in times prior to ours are those who are able to evolve, adapt to their surroundings, while somehow maintaining a sense of self awareness that their fans can pick up on in their music. Toronto is a cultural mosaic where language is often interchanged in daily speech, patois (Jamaican verbiage) has always been a root of Black Canadian culture, if you come to the city just about everybody uses similar terminology we hear people vehemently deny Drake for “misusing”.  But this minor insight is not enough reasoning for many because we would rather deny that a lack of cultural perspective exists across many borders than understand how certain habits come to be.

When Drake left Canada he took over new cities in the United States as his home, most notably, Houston, Atlanta, Vegas (can anyone ever forget Houstalantavegas, I’m still trying to) and capitalized on fan love in those locations to build stories off of his life experiences. Drake would return to Toronto a budding star without doubting his place in the city, only to be pulled up on for not repping where he came from hard enough while he was gone. Graham would later on capitalize on the developing district and began to expand his enterprise as an ambassador for the Raptors, dedicate a whole album to his experiences growing up in Toronto, to literally tattoo-ing an area code and tower on his body, but then it became “too much”, that Drake had no idea where he was really from just to be put on the spot for using the city as a pillar of his success rather than help building it.

As he took time away in the UK over the past year with BBK brother, Skepta and collaborated with major grime artists to make new moves toward his career we caught glimpses of More Life’s comings and now that the playlist is here another full fledged debate has begun of which Black culture played the strongest influence on this work. We have watched people argue that the city owes Drake nothing, that we were relevant before he put his name on the map and maybe arguably so, but to what extent? Drake has mastered the art of making capital out of so many cities, so many sounds and the recipe he’s using has kept him at a peak but yet we find it’s never good enough to declare he’s paying homage to something he was once unaccustomed too, he is always “riding someone else’s wave”, why is this?

If you look to creatives in Toronto at one point they might have told you this is a city that could never put you on their back, Torontonians are notorious for loving their biggest artists once they’ve left their city, but not before. Listen to Nav, listen to Tory and you’ll find they’ve found a push in the lack of  support from their peers in TO to reach their success. There’s something special about the type of love rappers receive in cities such as Brooklyn, Atlanta and Houston etc, a different type of fight not only to be considered the greatest but a sense of security that they will always be held down by their city, do we ever ask if that’s what we lack on this home front?

Maybe it is true what Graham says on “Lose You”, “Winnin’ is problematic/People like you more when you workin’ towards somethin’/ Not when you have it”, undoubtedly Drake has had his fair share of slip ups in the game, and maybe he does go a little hard with the Patois (I know I sure as hell don’t have a clue what I’m saying sometimes, but that’s another story) but his embrace of other cultures should serve as a beacon of inspiration in the music game not as a weapon against his success.  Perhaps more artists should be paying close attention to the strength of pushing outside of the city but never forgetting where you came from. The 30 year old creative keeps winning because of his ability to show us levels that we thought had gone unmatched or brought cultural spaces together some can never mix up  (seriously I never thought Passa Passa would come in line with pop the way it did on “Madiba Riddim”, just how),  proving why he remains in high demand, time and time again he comes back into the game full force with the unexpected and the higher he climbs, the more I have come to realize, that level of clout just may be his biggest weakness .