Why did everyone miss the fact that Scorpion is Drake’s cry for help?

You would think as a result of the recent deaths through suicide, this society would at least start pretending to care for mental health issues their favorite artists are going through. And maybe they would, if it was Kanye West going through another one of his Twitter meltdowns, or if some rapper was popping a whole bottle of pills to cope on video. But unfortunately, not when it’s Drake: the most successful rapper of this generation; the number one artist in the world.

I will never forget how quickly people jumped to defend mental illness in hip-hop when Drake “allegedly” took shots at Kid Cudi while the latter was in rehab. There were think-pieces left and right on how Drake is going too far, mentions of mental illness is off-limits, how much of a bully he is, and etc. In actuality though, the alleged “shots” weren’t even aimed at anybody’s mental being. As always, it was blown out of proportion on Twitter by “woke” fans who don’t miss a chance to start the Drake-Hate-Parade.

Two years later, these same fans laughed along with Pusha T when the rapper mentioned Drake’s best friend’s chronic disease, his parents’ divorce, and his newborn child. But best believe if anyone dared to say Pusha went too far, they would shove the “it’s hip-hop” narrative down your throat faster than you can blink. And I agree, it is part of the culture—and so is Drake, then how come he faced backlash two years ago? The double standard writes itself.

Ironically, Drizzy himself is aware of it and he pens it all in his new album, Scorpion. If you are a Drake fan or loyally listen to his music, then you know he hasn’t made a relatively positive album since Nothing Was The Same, and rightfully so since—as he said, he got way too big off Views. With his popularity and success came the hate like never before. It’s almost as if people would do anything but give him the credit for his success and achievements. Perhaps when he wrote, “we just want the credit where it’s due,” they didn’t hear him.

And they still don’t really hear him, or purposely ignore if they do. Because if while listening to Scorpion you didn’t notice the dark place he is speaking from, then you have shown your biased oblivion as a “woke” fan.

The album is quite lengthy, and it is no surprise that along with his life’s story, Drake gave us the mandatory summer hits/anthems like “Nice For What,” “In My Feelings,” and “God’s Plan.” Hence, it is understandable if you find yourself getting lost in those tunes instead of the ones where he is speaking his mind. But it should only take the intro and the outro of this project for you to realize that the biggest rapper in the world isn’t at his happiest place.

I mean the man literally says he almost killed himself on the first track—did the mental illness enthusiasts miss that or what?

In the past, Drake has claimed several times that he doesn’t do interviews or engage too much on social media because he’d rather tell his stories through his music. In his songs, he is talking to us—borderline venting—about what life is like at the top. On Emotionless, the first verse starts with him coming to terms with the fact that his peers can’t stand him. Imagine starting off your dream by studying your idols, and then trusting them only to have them tear you apart as they had planned all along. 

How Kanye West is a piece of shit of a person is a conversation for some other time, but surely Drake agrees with that statement. He ends the verse with these five lines, and they say a lot about how it’s more than just rap.

Drake’s paranoia is justified for, there is not a single rapper who wouldn’t kill to take his spot. We’ve seen dudes (Meek Mill and Pusha T) literally come out of nowhere to try and bring him down, fans nitpick and pull negativity out of everything he does (culture vulture enthusiasts are fuming), and if that isn’t enough, they want to take his credibility as an artist away because of some credited writers—the same ones who will praise Mr. West for originality.

In almost every single song on Side A, Drake reminds us that his fellow rappers are mad at his success—he is their target and they won’t settle until they see him fall. It’s actually sickening, and in “Mob Ties” when he raps, “sick of this shit…and I’m so tired,” it resonates deeply.

On “Can’t Take a Joke,” he says, “I’ve been kicked when I was down, none of that shit matter now,” as if he knew the lack of concern for his psyche was inevitable. And “Sandra’s Rose,” a song named after his mother, is filled with him admitting to having issues that are too deep for his uncle to try and change with just stones and crystals. Lines like, “Backstabbed so many times I started walkin' backwards,” and “When I say that they cursin' me it ain't dirty words,” make it clear that he is aware of his lonesome—he has no friends left in this business.

Side A of the album ends with, “Is There More,” and the question is repeated throughout the song as Drake continues to vent. I mean, he is literally asking if there is more to his life than what he has/continues to live through—pretty depressing if you ask me.

But that isn’t even the most depressing part of the album. I think March 14th might just be the saddest song Drake has ever written—and contrary to popular belief, it’s not a love song. It is the 31-year-old’s letter to his newborn son, a swirl of emotions and heartfelt reality checks packed into five minutes and ten seconds of rap. In the song, he accepts his doings, hopes for a better future for himself and his child’s mother, and longs for what he has always wanted—a family. The rapping stops and in comes the outro, where Drake covers “Khalil’s Interlude” by Boyz II Men. If the song itself wasn’t enough to have you feeling miserable, this outro does it.  

At this point, if you don’t notice a pattern of loneliness and longing, you might just not have a heart. When I first finished hearing the album, I came to one conclusion: Aubrey needs a hug and a long break.

Despite the hostile responses and bandwagon hate, the rapper continues to break records set by the biggest pop stars in the world—he joined Justin Bieber, Usher, and The Beatles as the only artists to replace their own songs at #1 on the Hot 100 on two occasions. He is globally the most streamed male artist on both Spotify and Apple Music and has surpassed 10 billion streams. He has now spent 40 cumulative weeks at #1 on Hot 100.  Evidently, pop fans are agitated because this Drake reign just won’t let up—perhaps their favorite artists can try making better music because talent always prevails.

Words: Simran Sharma
Photo: Theo Skurda