Drake: A Setup for a Punchline about a Setup for a Punchline

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Drake is currently (and usually) everywhere, his ubiquity making him feel less like a superstar and more like that dude who showed up at every club meeting on yearbook photo day. There’s no point in denying his gifts. Over the course of If You’re Reading This It’s Already Too Late, he continually wrings remarkable nuance from his unremarkable bleat, extracts limitless microtones from a severely limited palette, displays an innate sense for adapting flow to beat until voice and track are melodically and rhythmically inextricable.

But there’s no point in celebrating his gifts either. He completes his tasks with the dull self-satisfaction of a project manager who’s made it to inbox zero. His sole achievement is that he achieves. I get why young up-and-comers see themselves in Drake’s elastic self-assertion if not why they’re flattered by the reflection. If the compulsively productive digital class of 21st century America needs a motto, “I ain’t gotta do it, but fuck it somebody gotta do it / Hate if someone else did it, fuck, I may as well do it” is less pithy but far more fitting than YOLO. It’s an existential leap into action as a brand-conscious blurt of egotism, Samuel Beckett as Nike swoosh.

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