Drake as a Culture

 

When I was in Leeds in July 2016, we went to the university pub and had a “British Trivia” night. One of the questions was “who currently has the #1 track in Britain?” Four out of five people on my team, including myself, knew that the answer had to be Drake… no question. However, our last member was certain that it couldn’t be. I’m not gonna lie, this hesitance was warranted, since Drake’s latest single was “One Dance,” and the single was released over three months prior. But of course, the answer was “One Dance.” What did I learn from this? The answer is always Drake.

“Who’s your favourite artist right now?”

“Drake.”

“What type of music should we listen to?”

“Drake.”

“What was playing at the party last night?”

“Drake.”

“What’s your favourite genre?”

“Drake.”

We knew literally nothing about current British pop music, yet Drake seemed like the only possible answer because the man is everywhere and is always on everyone’s mind. Lie and tell me that you don’t know at least one person who seriously thinks Drake is the dopest person in existence.

Drake really is his own genre. I have a problem with people calling him a rapper, yet I have a problem with people calling him just a singer. Is he R&B? Yes. Is he hip hop? Yes. Is he pop? Yes.

Not only can Drake be considered his own type of music, but he is a cultural phenomenon in a way no other current artist is. Some may say that Beyonce is at such a status, but I think her appeal is in a whole different and maybe “extra” category (cultish/deity-like even). Kanye may have been close to such a status at his peak, but you can only be so controversial before people give up on you (not that Drake doesn’t have his own controversies).

Art hoe. Image: bgr.com

But this brings up the question: how did Drake become who he is? Some say that Drake is a “culture vulture,” and I agree. Let me explain what I personally mean by this.

It is evident that Drake is somebody who appreciates art and culture in many different forms. We all know how much he LOVES the Caribbean, and being from Toronto, that isn’t surprising. However, he’s made a questionable patois accent part of his image (“Cock up yuh bumper, sit down pon it” anyone?). At the same time, he’s adopted a part-time Southern rapper persona. Most recently, he’s added afrobeat to his roster of musical styles. That’s quite an eclectic identity for a suburban Toronto native.

So yes, Drake is a “culture vulture,” just as many artists are. He just takes it to the extreme and thus it has become his identity, which in return has caused him to lose his true identity as individual—at least to us, his audience. This is what causes us to no longer view him as a person, but as a culture. Answering “Drake” during the British trivia quiz was mindless, and it was unnecessary to seriously ask why Drake would be the answer; no one thinks that hard about him.

The idea of him as a culture is also helped by the endless memes of him that exist.

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