Sunday, July 1, 2018
On Drake On Canada Day, July 1, 2018, From The 6
This may be blasphemy given it’s Canada Day.
Drake’s not all that.
With all due apologies to my grandkid Roxy, 11, who loves him, I have a real problem with him.
He is a matrilineal Jew who grew up in TO’s plush Forest Hill and went to its neighborhood high school Forest Hill Collegiate.
I don’t hold that against his work: it’s the work that counts not the life circumstances.
It’s that he doesn’t rap, sing, the way he talks. He comes across as faux inner city, faux ghetto,
Take Biggie Smalls for instance. He refused to rap about what wasn’t true to his experience, albeit he embellished his experience. That’s ok poetic license, I think. But he impressively said, paraphrase, “I’m not poor. So I can’t rap about that. I’m not on the streets anymore. So I can’t rap about that. I’m not on the hustle anymore. So I can’t rap about that.”
So, it seems, given the nature of rap, its origins, what’s thought to be it at its best, fidelity to experience, authenticity, is *one* criterion for evaluation.
Wanna be ghetto guy, inner city G, Drake isn’t who he artistically pretends to be.
I note the distinction here between great artists who self consciously and publicly adopt a persona for artistic purposes like the brilliant Marshall Mathers, Eminem, as Slim Shady or even the mediocre Beyoncé as Sasha Fierce. Others too. But Drake, on the other side of that distinction, leaves no artistic room between his pretend self and his real self. In his work, he pretends they’re one.
Apart from the fakery, I’d tell Roxy that his work is weak, soft, essentially pop. But she’s 11 and his gussied up teeny bopperism works for teeny boppers. It reminds me of when my daughter Aviva, Canada’s greatest refugees’ rights lawyer, at around the same age liked Diana Ross doing Billie Holiday better than Billie Holiday being herself. That changed.
Anyway, on the last point I digress some.
But why not?
Happy Canada Day, eh!