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When you’re in The 6, there’s an unwritten rule weaved throughout the city’s condos and streetlights that says you have to bump Drake any time the CN Tower is in view. We blast Drake’s songs and rap along to his lyrics with gumption, but do we ever stop to take in the weight behind his words?
Many view Drake as a hip hop trailblazer because his delicate tempos and emotionally charged lyrics appeal to the female demographic in a way that the genre has never done before. Others argue that his lyrics are still in-tune with hip hop’s traditionally misogynistic nature—only with a better disguise.
Are the 6 God’s lyrics misogynistic? We discuss both sides of this argument in the latest segment of She Said, She Said.
Andi: Since Drake’s first album, relationships with women (including significant others and family) have always been a central topic. On “Find Your Love,” Drake says, “I bet if I give all my loving nothing’s going to tear us apart.” In a genre filled with misogyny, it’s rare to hear a rapper say, “I will dedicate my life to you to keep our relationship intact.”
“From Time” included one of the most memorable lines from Nothing Was The Same: “My mother is 66 and her favourite line to hit me with is ‘who the f*ck wants to be 70 and alone?’” Not only does he sympathize with his mother, he admits his selfish decisions are leading him to a life much like hers. In today’s hook-up culture, we rarely hear celebrities admit that having friends with benefits will lead to loneliness and unhappiness. Though Drake mentions hooking up in other songs, these tracks show his true feelings behind all the male bravado.
Brianne: As hip hop’s version of Taylor Swift, I can see a woman’s appeal to Drake’s music. But truly, all Drake does is use sadboy beats and flowery analogies to cover up his dubious lyrics. From all of his music releases up to If You’re Reading This, Drake has mentioned the names of approximately 130 women. He interchangeably goes from rapping about being in love with Nicki Minaj to being in love with Rihanna and then being in love with 128 other women in his life.
Drake raps about Rihanna being the girl of his dreams on Rick Ross’ “Mad Men,” when he calls her “one of his baddest girls ever.” But no matter how sensitive he can be, at the end of the day, Drake always goes back to bragging about his lineup of girls in different area codes.
In the song “No Lie,” Rihanna went from being his “The One” to just another girl he wanted to sleep with: “Then I f*cked her once and never f*cked again / She could have a Grammy, I still treat that ass like a nominee / Just need to know what that p*ssy like so one time, it’s fine with me.”
Andi: Drake’s emotional music is perfect for getting over break ups. He lays all of his feelings about his ex in “Marvin’s Room” and confesses to all of the terrible things he’s done since becoming famous. “Hotline Bling” shows Drake’s evolved view on breakups, no thanks to social media. In a genre that frowns upon showing “weak,” stereotypically feminine qualities, Drake proves that showing vulnerabilities can be healthy.
Drake’s opinionated about his trust issues towards others and even himself. Also in “Marvin’s Room,” he admits he doesn’t trust his own discernment to understand whether a woman truly likes him or his celebrity status. In “Trust Issues,” he confesses that fame has affected his trust in others, and asks those around him to leave their phones elsewhere so they can’t “catch him slipping.” With our culture of constantly capturing things, aren’t we all paranoid we might be caught in an unflattering light? Again, Drake displays his insecurities in a genre that believes only women should be the ones to do so.
Brianne: Everyone knows all about Drake and his trust issues. In fact, the 6 God went as far as to lay them all out in the song “Trust Issues”: “Tell me, how the f*ck we supposed to stay friends / When you got a bunch of feelings that you don’t show?”
Whenever Drake talks about his flaws (specifically that of trust issues) and screwed up relationships, he places most of the blame on a woman. In the song “Karaoke,” he weeps, “I tried to keep us together, but you were busy keeping secrets.” In the song “Too Good,” he literally says, “I’m way too good to you / You take my love for granted / I just don’t understand it.” Pointing out his flaws means nothing if at the end of the day, all Drake does is say that women are to blame.
Andi: In “Doing It Wrong” he speaks to millennials in three lines: “We live in a generation of not being in love, and not being together / But we sure make it feel like we’re together / Because we’re scared to see each other with somebody else.” Drake understands emotions: He can look into himself and see that his current relationship is not working because it’s based on his ego’s fear of loneliness.
Drake mentions how his own ego can hold him back from true love. In “Redemption,” he says, “Cause I’m searchin’ for these words to say to you / Oh please give me time/ Cause I’m searchin’ for these words to say to you right now.” Throughout the song, he mentions how his lifestyle may have ruined any potential relationship he had with this person, pushing his ego aside to admit he’s the problem.
Brianne: Drake markets himself as the Nice Guy rapper, but consistently manages to belittle females in his lyrics. In Rick Ross’ “Aston Martin Music,” Drake raps, “I hate callin’ the women b*tches, but the b*tches love it.”
I’m sorry, Drake…what? In no way, shape or form would a male referring to me as “his bitch” make me want to giggle and tell my friends about it. And who are you to tell me how I want to be treated? Take several seats while you still have a chair.
Andi: Women connect to Drake’s music because he proves that channelling “feminine” energy isn’t a negative thing and that showing emotion is a sign of strength. He breaks stereotypes in hip hop by discussing his insecurities and the fragility of the male ego.
Brianne: The new rap music that Drake has helped pioneer is just disguised sexism. The rapper’s catchy sadboy ballads leave us ladies singing along without a clue in the world.