OPINION: Why Drake is the most important artist of his generation
Is Drake the artist that best represents this generation? One week after he picked up a record 13 awards at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, the evidence suggests so...
Drake has changed music forever. Simple as. He represents a new breed of young men, one that the music industry was not used to seeing, and one the world wasn't used to seeing either. One that talks openly about his mistakes. One that talks about women with respect (for the most part). One that knows how good he is. Drake represents this generation.
The Canadian rapper/singer has been on top of the game for a long time now, mixing the perfect blend of pop and rap music, and creating a new breed of artist while doing so. Long gone are the days where all rappers talked about was drugs and guns.
Nowadays we have rappers like Drake with lyrics like "I gave your nickname to someone else. I know you're seeing someone that loves you, but i don't want you to see no one else." Straight Outta Compton it ain't.
This is not a slight on the genre of gangster rap, but it is the reason why Drake is such a huge success. People like to listen to what they can associate with, and seeing as the majority of the world hasn't been in jail, artists like Drake are way more relatable. After all, who among us hasn't had relationship trouble? Or who hasn't felt a lack of confidence at some stage? They say talk about what you know, and Drake has done this perfectly.
Rap music goes hand in hand with toughness, with bravado, with "masculinity". Drake took this stereotype, and threw it out the window. Because of the way he talks about his feelings, and the sincerity with which he does it, he has been labelled 'soft' by a number of his critics. This is all too common a feeling for young men these days, which is all the more reason why artists like Drake are so important.
It's not weird for a young man to talk about their feelings. It's not soft. It's normal. And not only has Drake normalised it. He made it cool. If Drake can say the words, "I needed to hear that shit, I hate when you're submissive. Passive aggressive when we're texting I feel the distance", well then why can't everyone?
After all, if the same guy who is preaching about how lonely he can get, is the same one with thousands of beautiful women fawning over him, and winning awards by the dozen, it would encourage younger men to think that maybe being so openly comfortable with their emotions is the way forward.
Drake also releases music in a unique way, as he keeps most of his music off Youtube. He occasionally puts his biggest hits on Youtube, but more often than not he keeps them on Spotify. For some people, this is just an annoyance, as it means they are forced to listen to endless Conor Maynard covers until they fork out the five euro a month for Spotify, but from a business standpoint, it's genius.
Clip via DrakeVEVO
In 2016, his song One Dance was the most listened to song on Spotify, and his album Views was the most listened to album of the year too.
Since then, he has dropped his mixtape More Life, which is currently the most listened to album of 2017. There seems to be a pattern emerging here: when Drake releases music, everybody listens to it.
Drake is aware of this. Although it is true that he is open about his feelings, and is always willing to embrace his faults, he also knows just how good he is, which is another key component of the society that he represents. To quote the man himself on his song Gyalchester "I know I said I'm top five, but I'm top two... And I'm not two." Cocky or confident, either way, it's hard to argue with the man.
This generation is not perfect, and neither is our favourite Canadian. What might be the biggest criticism of this era of young people is that they are too arrogant. Too deserving. And this could describe Drizzy himself. Any man who can refer to himself as "The best ever, don't ever question, you know better" has to be described as arrogant.
In terms of music, he is obviously at the top. He has had a clear, positive impact on young people, in terms of attitude. He is consistent. And most importantly, he embodies this generation more than any other artist in the world.