It’s no secret that Drizzy liberally borrows other rapper’s flows – these are some of the different identities he’s used over the years
In addition to Rihanna and a bevy of other guests that Drake brought out at his seventh annual OVO Fest earlier this week, the rapper called Kanye West on-stage. Right before he performed “Father Stretch My Hands”, ‘Ye turned to the crowd and shouted, “Is y’all ready for this album? I wasn't talking about Pablo. I wasn't talking about Views. I wanna ask ya’ll: are you ready for this album?”
The potential Drizzy and Kanye album wouldn’t be the first major league rap collaboration – we’ve already had Kanye and Jay’s Watch The Throne, Future and Drizzy’s What A Time To Be Alive, and Jay Z and R. Kelly’s Best of Both Worlds, while other potential upcoming projects include a Kendrick Lamar/J. Cole crossover and a PARTYNEXTDOOR/Jeremih joint – but it’s still an exciting one, albeit one that’s hard to imagine.
West and Drake’s artistic evolutions have been distinctly different throughout their discography. Where Kanye went from Roc-A-Fella producer to conscious backpack rapper to megastar hitmaker before developing significantly different projects like 808s & Heartbreaks, Yeezus, and The Life of Pablo, Drake has maintained his softer, stripper-booty-loving, broken-hearted, champagne-bottle-popping, Toronto-representing lyrics while adopting elements from each of the different artist he works with.
Earlier in his career, Drake was much more Houstonlantavegas, whereas now he’s spending a lot more 6pms in New York, 4pms in Calabasas, and time back on road with the mandem. It’s no secret Drake will adopt another artist’s flow when working together. When we look back on Kanye, we miss the old Kanye, think of that chop up the soul Kanye, or the always rude Kanye. With Drake, it’s a little bit of a different story.
Will Drake try to jack Kanye’s style and do a Dreezy, or will he dip into one of the many personalities and flows he’s built up over the years for it? Let’s examine the many guises of Drake to decide exactly who will make an appearance on the upcoming project.
‘ATLANTA IN 2013’ DRAKE
Not to be mistaken for Drake’s Future flows employed years later (see below), Drake jumped on Migos’s breakout single “Versace” back in 2013. It’s the one and only time that Drake refers to the ‘bando’ in any song, though he does point out that he is in fact “Born in Toronto, but sometimes I feel like Atlanta adopted us”. Similarly, but a little slower, we hear ATL-Migos-Drizzy on his “We Made It Freestyle”.
Gone are the days of Future sounding like ‘pre-56 Nights Future’ and Drake sounding like ‘Drake on “Sh!t”’. When they released their collaborative album What A Time To Be Alive in September last year, the typical emo-Drake vibes could only be heard on a couple of songs, like “Diamonds Dancing” and the “30 for 30 Freestyle”. Otherwise there was “Digital Dash”, “Plastic Bag”, and “Jumpman”, where he came out sounding exactly like Future, albeit with his own familiar voice.
‘RAPPITY RAP’ DRAKE (AKA QUENTIN MILLER)
Quentin Miller is credited on multiple Drake tracks, and is the rapper’s alleged ghostwriter (according to Meek Mill, the man who has taken the most L’s ever in rap). Miller’s influence is all over the February 2015 surprise release If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late – tracks like “10 Bands”, “Energy”, and “Used To” had all us all disillusioned that Drake was out here in these streets rather than Wheelchair Jimmy for a hot second. Following Meek Mill’s self-sabotage, Drizzy Drake came through with “Summer Sixteen”, taking shots at Tory Lanez, Meek, Kanye, and Jay Z to prove he had bars with or without Miller.
‘MEEK MILLY’ DRAKE
Unlike Drake, Meek Mill seems to have one flow on every song, ever. This man sounds like he’s rapping while he’s running, perpetually out of breath for every bar of his career. And during peak Meek Mill era, Drake provided a verse on “Amen” that also sounds as if he did the entire thing like he wasn’t allowed to inhale once throughout the performance.
One of the more consistent Drake personalities, songs featuring Miami Drake are perfect for whippin’ down the MacArthur Parkway en route to South Beach. Primarily from a time when Drake was actually reppin’ his Cash Money set, you’ll recognize him on tracks like “I’m On One”, “Stay Schemin’”, “No New Friends”, “HYFR”, and “She Will”. You can’t listen to these without a glass of champagne in a bandage dress while standing on the couch at the club in bedazzled six-inch heels. Later in 2013, Miami Drake made a triumphant comeback on French Montana’s “Pop That” looking like an early 2000s Diddy alongside Rick Ross in the video, and on his own album Nothing Was The Same he got a lot more stereotypically Drake-y (read: soft) on “305 To My City”.
‘WEST COAST’ DRAKE
Before Drake bit Too $hort’s entire flow on DJ Khaled’s new single “For Free”, West Coast Drake made fleeting appearances alongside California rappers. Though he didn’t make appearances on The Game’s “100” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice”, West Coast Drake is always around when he’s on a track with YG – the fact that he hasn’t used the word “brazy” in a verse or been photographed in with shorts and high white socks is astonishing. Nonetheless, with verses on singles “Who Do Ya Love?” and “Why You Always Hatin’?”, YG and Bompton’s influence on the 6 God is very apparent.
‘BAD BOY RECORDS’ DRAKE
Bad Boy Records Drake is the man who released “4 PM In Calabasas” live on Episode 32 of OVO Sound Radio, a time-stamped, city-specific freestyle about the exclusive California gated community that incorporates a classic SWV reference and a borrowed flow from Biggie and Diddy’s “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down”. It was released within weeks of Bad Boy Records’ 20th anniversary and reunion tour, and he still took subtle shots at Puff Daddy as well as Joe Budden and Meek Mill.
Stone Island, check. Air Max, check. Hit mans on the Nokia 3310, check. Boy Better Know tatted on his chest – well, shoulder – check. Ever since mans been to the ends, he only picks up peng tings with the crew and the gang. Notoriously present on OVO Sound Radio when Drake is in the building, we actually got our first taste of Roadman Drake on the intro Skepta’s smash hit “Shutdown,” opening the track with “Mans never been to Marquee when it’s Shutdown, eh? Truss mi daddi!”
Sometimes confused with Roadman Drake, Dancehall Drake is everywhere lately. Started with his mandem Skepta on their remix for Wizkid’s “Ojuelegba,” he’s since gone all the way in his patois on his Rihanna’s single “Work,” and on the Views tracks “One Dance” and “Controlla,” in addition to outro of “Keep The Family Close.”
‘BEGGIN’ FOR THE PUSSY’ DRAKE
Everyone's favourite Drake, Beggin’ For the Pussy Drake does this reverse psychology, self-loathing, introspective thing where he sings about the horrible things women he dates say about him, but still recommends whatever shorty he is singing for to comes through. It’s hot, and it produces great songs. Possibly more consistent than Miami Drake, Beggin’ For The Pussy Drake is present throughout his career as well. He’s featured on tracks like The Weeknd’s “The Zone” saying things like “Walk your broken heart through that door”, or the loosie “Days In The East” asking “Why you keep asking me about (why)? / Couple other things I’d rather do than talk ‘bout that right now”. More recently heard on “Redemption” and his late night surprise drop with PARTYNEXTDOOR, “Come and See Me”, we know this version of Drake just wants an independant woman to feel like she needs him.