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Drake - 'Scorpion' Review

When the world is against you, what do you do? Here is a thorough review of Drake's new album, 'Scorpion.'

IMAGE FROM HIPHOPDX

With the Canadian rapper's fifth studio album, he finally releases a response to the controversy, the doubters, and the fans, pondering as to what he would say next. This is where the boy turns to the man.

Drake. Canadian rapper. Toronto proud. The Six God. The Head of OVO. In the wake of the controversy, he finally releases his long-anticipated double album, yes, double album. A few days before the album's release, it was reported that the project would have two sides, "A Side" and "B Side." In reports, it was stated that "A Side" would be a more rap/hip-hop orientated portion, and the "B Side" being the R&B dominant. Regardless, here is a review on his fifth studio album.

Album Review

Scorpion is a twenty-five (yes twenty-five) track album in which Drake talks about literally every single piece of controversy against him. Even in the author's notes on Apple Music address every piece of criticism that he has come to receive throughout his music career. This gives the listener everything they need to know when first listening to this album, it is a response to everything and everyone.

"Survival" is a perfect start to the album, talking about his public perception and how he is going to "go hard on the album." This track really gives a lot of VIEWS vibes, his 2016 album. But the main problem that listeners had with VIEWS was that he had the production quality on point, but lyricism wasn't as much of a focus on there. On "Survival," he finds a perfect balance in creating some really clever lyrical flows such as "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions," which I found really appealing.

"Elevate" was the next track in which I found some real substance to. Much like "Survival," he talks more about how tough he really is (which is hard to believe when you also rap about being indecisive with women in your life, but that is beside the point). The difference between this and "Survival" is that his pace has been sped up, and this constant spitting of bars talking about the women in his life makes you feel as if you're running through the forest of cold lyricism. The instrumental also helps with the grandness of its presentation to the viewer, and with that and the combination of a soft voice sitting in the back during it, presents more of his toughness.

"Emotionless" is the track in which the media is going to rave all over. In this track he confirms that he does, in fact, have a child, in the line: 

"I wasn't hidin' my kid from the world
I was hidin' the world from my kid
From empty souls who just wake up and look to debate
Until you starin' at your seed, you can never relate"

Although I'm satisfied that he did acknowledge that he does have a child, I'm not sure I agree with how he did it. You not saying a word about having a child was the main problem here, not the fact that you did not show or flaunt him around. Continuing on to the track, I love it. The Mariah Carey sample was perfect for the simple instrumental in the background; along with the piano solo to end it. If you are listening to this in chronological order, this is the most Drake song on the album so far.

The next two songs are "God's Plan" and "I'm Upset." Nothing really here to speak on, just two radio hits.

If you thought "Elevate" was the most Drake song on the album, "8 out of 10" is the most Kanye West sounding track on the album. Starting off with a solo a capella, it appears to be Drake responding to what Kanye said on "No Mistakes," which was from his solo album Ye.

"Too close to snipe you, truth told, I like you
Too bold to type you, too rich to fight you
Calm down, you light skin!"
- No Mistakes, Ye
"Too rich for who? Y'all just got rich again
Who grips the mic and likes to kill they friends?"
- "8 Out of 10," Scorpion

As the instrumental starts, it gives a lot of old Kanye vibes, which suites the tone and probable intentions of Drake. I would have to say that the instrumental is blurred between that College Dropout/Late Registration type beat. Amazing delivery and tone, very Kanye like.

"Sandra's Rose" seems to be my favorite track as of now. It has a very nostalgic and summer feel, with its slow and soothing synthetics and aesthetics. This is that drive at night with yah boys shit that you put on to end the night. What I believe to be a very good comparison as to what it wants to portray is the song "Ghost Town," from Kanye West's Ye. A very slow and vibing end of the night song.

"Is There More" ends the "A Side" of the album, nothing really noteworthy here honestly. He just ponders and questions his beliefs and motives. I felt as if the beat was kind of weird, but at least it worked with what he said and had to spit out. I don't think this will have a lot of replay value than what I have come to expect from Drake. Usually, his exits are grander than his entrances, not the case here.

"Peak" marks the start of the "B Side" of the album. Honestly, this is NOT the kind of song to vibe with yah boys, but a song to vibe by yourself, in a badly-lit bedroom, at 3 AM... Yeah. It is hard to listen to this song when you're not, you know, not in that mood. It also gave me a little bit of a "Jungle" vibe to it, a track from If You're Reading This It's Too Late. It poses similar intentions, with a slow beat and soft voice. But "Peak" has the same consistent beat throughout, and "Jungle," well sounds like a jungle, where the beat is simple but goes over the place, and even Drake's voice bounces up when the chorus hits. A good, not great, but good way to start this side.

"Finesse" was my next notable track on this side. His pacing and tone of voice serves the vibe of this track very well. A very vibing song, slow and to the point of which he speaks on. One line I feel would have been better is if he said this

"It takes some finesse
I've seen you undress"

Instead of this

"It takes some finesse
I seen you finesse"

I don't know, just my opinion.

"That's How You Feel" is the next song I felt was worthy to talk about, this is Drake almost at his peak when talking about the women that he felt indecisive if he could have a sustainable relationship with. The simple but very effective bar I loved on this track was

"I know you like to drink 'til the sun up,
Grind 'til you come up,
Work all winter, shine all summer,
Ride for your brother,
You die for your mother,
Keep that shit a hunna,
I know you wanna,
Vacate to a place where you could,
Take pictures, post on Insta,
Your friends say they miss ya,
But they don't really miss ya,"
- "That's How You Feel," Scorpion

FUCK. This spoke wonders, bro. It goes extremely well with the dark sounding beat, DAMN. Nothing else here, honestly lol.

"Blue Tint," I feel has potential to be an underrated summer anthem. Not only does he give a consistent pace throughout, but the beat is very wAvY.

One of the most anticipated tracks from the album, when the tracklist was posted on Drake's Instagram, was the Michael Jackson feature on the track "Don't Matter To Me." All the articles and memes made out of this one feature about how Pusha-T murdered Drake, only to get Michael Jackson to feature, was pretty damn funny. It gives a lot of "More Life" vibes, with its echoes of ticks and tacks; don't know how to describe it. But honestly, I liked the feature, it's simple but effective.

"All of a sudden you say you don't want me no more

All of a sudden you say that I closed the door"

"It don't matter to me
It don't matter to me what you say
It don't matter to me
It don't matter to me what you say"
- "Michael Jackson, Don't Matter To Me," Scorpion

Honestly, this is how I would envision Michael Jackson to sound like if he were still alive. Peace to the King of Pop.

"After Dark" features Ty Dolla $ign and surprisingly Static Major. This is very easy to vibe to, it's slow and consistent in its intentions. The main chorus I felt really helped in creating this and honestly wrapping it up to make it a quality song.

"In a whip so low
No one's gotta know (after dark)
Knockin' at your door
I don't gotta work anymore (after dark)
You can
Put your phone down, you're gonna need two hands (after dark)
You can't get enough
Girl, you know I set it up, for after dark"
- Drake, (Static Major), "After Dark," Scorpion

"March 14" marks the end of not only the "B Side," not only the end of the album, but also the end of all the controversy. On this track, Drake speaks from the heart on his take on all the stories about him, his child, and everything. Honestly, the whole in-depth synopsis on what basically happened and what he believes is going on with his son is very deep. Every lyric has a story to it.

Yesterday morning was crazy
I had to come to terms with the fact that it's not a maybe
That shit is in stone, sealed and signed
She not my lover like Billie Jean, but the kid is mine
Sandi used to tell me all it takes is one time
And all it took was one time
Shit, we only met two times, two times
- :March 14," Scorpion
"Realize I gotta think for two now
I gotta make it, I better make it
I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated
This the first positive DNA we ever celebrated
I can't forget the looks on they faces"
- "March 14," Scorpion

This very vivid storytelling happens throughout the track. But it's at the end where we truly see Drake accept and evolve, not only as an artist but to a man. He sings:

"No one to guide me, I'm all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I'm changing from boy to a man
No one to guide me, I'm all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I'm changing from boy to a man
I'm all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I'm changing from boy to a man"
- "March 14," Scorpion

This and the piano in the background, echoed, makes you feel as if he's leaving his old self to seek a new life. He has finally changed, from boy to a man. And with this, marks the end of Scorpion.

Favorite Songs

  • "Sandra's Rose"
  • "Finesse"
  • "8 Out Of 10"
  • "That's How You Feel"
  • "Emotionless"
  • "Talk Up" (feat. JAY-Z)
  • "Don't Matter To Me" (feat. Michael Jackson)

Final Thoughts/Verdict

Is this better than Take Care? No. Is this his best album since Take Care? Yes, absolutely. I feel as if this album was a combination of Take Care and VIEWS. A heard a lot of "old Drake" in the second side of the album, and production quality was on point throughout. But I felt there was a lot of filler, and songs that sounded similar. Songs like "Jaded" and "Finesse" could've just been one long song and the song "Summer Games" felt as if it was trying too hard to force some kind of vibe. "Nonstop" had some very questionable and cringe lyrics as well:

"I'm a bar spitta, I’m a hard hitta
Yeah I’m light-skinned, but I'm still a dark nigga"
- "Nonstop," Scorpion

Like what the fuck is that. I don't know you if you can say that on the same record where you say:

"I want my baby to have your eyes
I'm going against my own advice"
- "Finesse," Scorpion

But I guess that's the reason why you have two sides. Speaking of which, I felt as if the first side was better than the second side. The switch from the hard rap that Drake did to some softer tones is very noticeable. But I felt like the pacing was more consistent, and I feel like you can get a lot of replay value from that section, that the second one.

All in all, pretty damn good album.

FINAL VERDICT: A-