Drake concluded a busy and eventful month of June with his 5th solo studio album, “Scorpion”. The album had some very newsworthy elements to its release, first was the fact that Drake made it a double album. He’s always been known for his rapping and singing, and he decided to separate the two for “Scorpion”, as Side A was rapping and Side B was singing. The next headlines involving the release was the commercial success the album achieved in such a short amount of time. The album hilariously was certified Platinum right when it was released, due to the success of the three singles released before the album: “God’s Plan”, “Nice for What”, and “I’m Upset”. In addition, the album pulled in 1 billion global streams in the first week. Lastly, the Pusha T and Drake beef poured over into “Scorpion” as Drake mentions his child many times throughout the project.
Aside from the accolades and headlines the album has garnered, let’s take a dive into the actual content within the project and see how it shapes up.
Drake starts off the album with the “rap” side, which is pretty consistent but lacking on the trademark larger-than-life songs that Drake usually has (aside from “God’s Plan”, which was released months ago).
To me the shining star of this side is “Nonstop”, the Tay Keith-produced banger. Tay Keith’s “producer signature” that has become a custom for rap producers kicks off the bass-infused song that really gets you prepared for the album (“Survival” just wasn’t doin’ it). Tracks 3-9 give us a pretty solid stretch of Drake-rap-songs. “Elevate” and “Emotionless” will be forgotten once the album loses its luster, but they definitely aren’t skips. “God’s Plan” has lost its power with me, but it did take a few months and is always fine for a listen if it comes on the shuffle. “I’m Upset” was scrutinized when it was released as the album’s third single, but @DragonflyJonez of the Jenkins and Jonez podcast puts it best on why I think it flopped and why we should still give it credit.
“Nonstop” is the most exciting track on Side A, but the best overall song has to be “Sandra’s Rose”. The old school beat is one of the best beats I’ve heard on a Drake album in recent memory, and unsurprising to me I found out it was produced by legendary hip-hop producer, DJ Premier. “Sandra’s Rose” is Drake’s opportunity to show people he needs to be talked about among the rap game’s best rappers. The song’s purpose reminded me of “Views” off the album of the same name. Both songs are just Drake dropping bar-after-bar-after-bar, demanding he be placed among the Kendrick Lamars and the J. Coles of the world.
Before moving onto Side B, we should address the Jay-Z featured, “Talk Up”. It’s been talked up a lot since the album’s release (I’m sorry) and that’s because of one of Jay’s lyrics.
Y’all killed X and let Zimmerman live, shhh, s-streets is done
It’s obviously a reference to XXXTENTACION being murdered in Florida, which is also the home state of George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin. That’s really all I’m going to say about that line since it has many, many, many problematic layers. It’s just a shame that “Talk Up” has been reduced to that headline, because it is a good song.
After Drake’s “rap” side, we get to chill out with his “singing” side of the album. I definitely don’t consider this as consistent as Side A, as there are some DUDS in here. “Ratchet Happy Birthday” is one of Drake’s worst songs ever, and “Summer Games” sounds like it was made for a more traditional pop star and not for the Hip-Hop pop genre that Drake fits into.
The highlight of this side is, of course, “In My Feelings”. The song has taken over the internet and it’s genuinely shocking to me that this song wasn’t the third single off the album instead of “I’m Upset”. Drake must not have realized how big it would have got, and maybe it wouldn’t have ever became so big without the help of #TheShiggyChallenge dance created by The Shiggy Show.
As a result of #TheShiggyChallenge, the song has inevitably become the number one song on the Billboard charts. That achievement has given Drake some pretty eye-popping accolades:
- Sixth number one, passing Diddy, Eminem, and Ludacris for most among rappers
- First album with three number ones since Justin Bieber’s Purpose in 2015/2016
- 40th career week at number one, joining the likes of Mariah Carey (79 weeks), Rihanna (60), the Beatles (59), Boyz II Men (50), Usher (47) and Beyoncé (42)
Other than the internet-breaking “In My Feelings” and “Nice for What”, this side does boast the best stretch of the album even with its lack of consistency.
That stretch is “That’s How You Feel”-“Blue Tint”-“In My Feelings”-“Don’t Matter to Me”.
“That’s How You Feel” lowkey might be the best song on the album, injected with Nicki Minaj’s attitude in a sampled clip from a live performance of her “Boss Ass Bitch” freestyle at Power 106’s Powerhouse in 2014.
To me there’s no doubt that “Blue Tint” was supposed to be on a Future album. It just exudes Future’s style, but I guess he was nice enough to let Drake have it. I think it would have been good enough to be restructured as a Drake feature and released as a single for Future’s album, but oh well. It still works very well here on “Scorpion”.
The stretch is finished by “In My Feelings” and one of the more surprising features in recent memory, the Michael Jackson-aided, “Don’t Matter to Me”. Michael’s soft chorus fits so well with Drake’s soft singing that it makes me desperate for another collaboration in the future. Obviously, it’d be surprising if it happens again.
Final Thoughts and Official Review Score
There’s been a lot of complaints about the double album’s length at 25 total songs. I think the criticism is a little misplaced, as many other Drake albums approach this song total.
- More Life (mixtape): 22
- Views: 20
- If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (mixtape): 17
- Nothing Was The Same (Deluxe): 15
- Take Care: 19
- Thank Me Later: 14
If the skips were removed and “Scorpion” was around 16-22 songs, I think we’d be having a different conversation regarding its placement among the best Drake albums.
Speaking of which, I might as well give my opinion on Drake’s albums and mixtapes and how they’re ranked in relation to each other (I’ve never given “Nothing Was The Same” a full listen, but from opinions I’ve heard regarding it I think my placement for it is valid. Also I’ve kept “What a Time to Be Alive” off the list. First, because its a joint album with Future, and second, because I’m biased in thinking it’s the best album of all-time).
- Take Care
- More Life
I think you can argue on switching IYRTITL and Views, but Take Care is undoubtedly the best Drake project to me. I actually almost forgot More Life existed even though it was released in 2017.
I’ll cut this blog since I’m going to go over 1200 words and that’s just absurd. For another point of comparison for other Drake albums, I’ll state that my score for Take Care would be 9.2/10. That leaves my “Scorpion” score at…
Thanks for reading. You can leave your hate comments on the review at any of my social medias if you must. ❤