ByCraig Jenkins, a Vulture music critic who also covers TV, comedy, and video games
ByCraig Jenkins, a Vulture music critic who also covers TV, comedy, and video games
Photo: Young Money/Cash Money/Republic
If you take him at his word, Drake is hip-hop’s James Bond: suave, rich, clever, vengeful, mercenary, and effective. He thinks things through to their logical conclusions before they get there. That lands him steps ahead of the competition. He knew that Meek Mill didn’t have a plan past Twitter rage in 2015; the swift, brutal two-hit combo of “Charged Up” and “Back to Back” netted the Toronto rapper a king’s ransom in tough-guy cachet. He needs that stuff because he doesn’t have street bona fides he can hang back from the comfort of a mansion and reminisce about for 20 years, like a lot of his elders do. He’s had to scratch and fight for the respect of the public. And respect isn’t some tangible commodity you can grab up and hoard, like an art collector. Actions and apprehensions affect the value of a person’s platform in real time, like stocks. Building a formidable profile is precarious; falling back to square one’s a cinch.
This year has been Drake’s most concerted — and for the most part, successful — push for unilateral love. He made everyone cry giving stacks of cash and misty-eyed hugs to families in need in the video for “God’s Plan.” Then “Nice for What” turned Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” into a bounce anthem and used the accompanying visuals to celebrate a baker’s dozen of talented black, white, and brown women in Hollywood. Both singles shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and stayed there collectively for months. Guest appearances on songs by the southern rap acts Blocboy JB, the Migos, and Lil Baby rounded out the top ten. It was a rare convergence; not even Taylor Swift, a pop tactician successful enough for UPS and ESPN partnerships, hits the top ten more than two or three times in a year. It seemed perfectly plausible that Drake’s best work was on the horizon. Then he got greedy.
By all outward appearance, the cold war between the Clipse and Cash Money, one of rap’s longest and most confusing tiffs, started as a row over who wore the streetwear brand A Bathing Ape first in 2006. Skirmishes between both camps have broken out every year since. Drake came to Cash Money as an enthusiastic fan of the Clipse but quickly found himself inheriting static with one of his rap heroes. For years, Drake and Pusha-T ribbed each other for sport: Snaps on Push’s “Exodus 23:1” begat snaps on Drake’s “Tuscan Leather,” which begat snaps on Push’s “Suicide,” etc. When Pusha closed out May’s Daytona with “Infrared,” which rebuffed questions about his street cred in Drake’s “Two Birds, One Stone” with ghostwriter jokes and darts about the failing relationship between Birdman and Lil Wayne, the Toronto star jumped at the chance to go headhunting.
“Duppy Freestyle,” Drake’s prompt, rude “Infrared” response, took the exhausted, annoyed tone of someone killing a bug, or taking out the trash. But “Infrared” was a feint, an attack seemingly waged with the express purpose of drawing the opponent into a position where a much bloodier battle could take place. The blistering, personal meanness of “The Story of Adidon” and the shaky days that followed — where Drake defended his past use of blackface, dropped a Degrassi-themed video for the iffy single “I’m Upset,” and got tagged out of the fight by the Texas rap legend J. Prince — broke the perfect peace of the rapper’s landmark year. These weren’t the unfazed moves of a champion. This was someone flustered and buying time to plot.
Scorpion is an album (his fifth) about losing, about coming to the realization that missteps, like chips and gouges in wood furniture, can be buffed and treated but never quite erased. “Survival” opens the project with memories of old rap battles and fistfights: “I’ve had real Philly niggas try to write my ending… / I’ve had scuffles with Bad Boys that wasn’t pretending.” Drake’s tired but not discouraged: “The crown is broken in pieces, but there’s more in my possession.” Over 25 songs, Scorpion attempts to address Drake’s flaws while massaging his bruised ego. A rapper less suited to this specific blend of regretful introspection and flamboyant passive-aggression might have a tougher time at it, but Drake, the maker of “Used To” (“Every time they talking, it’s behind your back / Gotta learn to line ‘em up and then attack”), “Madiba Riddim” (“I cannot tell who is my friend!”), and “4pm in Calabasas” (“I got people showing how much they truly resent me / They whole demeanor just spells envy, they trying to tempt me”) thrives under such circumstances. Across the jilted, scabrous side A and the sweeter, more reflective side B, Scorpion makes cases for Drake as the best and most hated hitmaker in rap and R&B.
Side A is a succession of angry, honest songs of spite and personal revelation. “Emotionless” uses the church-like melisma of early Mariah Carey to own up to allegations that Drake has a son he never talks about: “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid.” “Sandra’s Rose” salutes the rapper’s mother, a former florist, and fires off a Hallmark-ready line about fate: “I’m the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves.” “Is There More” is a gutting “what’s it all about?” moment in the spirit of the great, sad Drake tracks like “Lose You”: “Is there more to life than digits and banking accounts? / Is there more to life than saying I figured it out?” Side A’s stunning highs are offset by frustrating boilerplate and borrowed flows. “Mob Ties” rips Young Thug off so effectively that his absence from the song’s credits is a shock. The rubbery beat and fun-house ad-libs of “Nonstop” sound like a Playboi Carti song on a Klonopin. When pressed about the matter, Drake once admitted that he treats other people’s flows the way dancehall artists do; he borrows sounds, and sometimes he stumbles on a bigger hit than the original. But in rap, a knockoff is a knockoff.
In many ways, side B is the full-fledged R&B project Drake has been threatening since the lull between Thank Me Later and Take Care, when he covered TLC and workshopped tracks with Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, and Jamie Foxx. B’s full of songs that pine for partnerships that weren’t built to last; as such, it’s hungry but petty. “That’s How You Feel” is convinced that people go on vacation just to throw it in friends’ faces. “Jaded” accuses a young, unnamed star of glomming on for exposure, then balks at the idea that she dated someone less famous afterward. There’s more than a whiff of toxicity to all of this yearning for situations that ended badly and lovers that brought out your worst that’s not as easy to notice when there’s just half a dozen of them sprinkled across 20 tracks. As is the case with Rae Sremmurd’s 27-song triple album SR3MM, prying the raps off the R&B songs reveals how much both sides need each other.
The best of the mood music that comprises the second half of Scorpion leans into the performer’s strengths, which are a voice that sinks into shoegaze-y synths as subtly and effortlessly as his secret-weapon producer friend Noah “40” Shebib’s aqueous sounds fill any room they’re playing in. The best side B tracks double as good ambient music; strip the drums and vocals off “Jaded,” and the hissing, rolling two-note melody sounds like Stars of the Lid. “Finesse” evokes the dark organ drones of Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath, 1972. “Blue Tint” and “That’s How You Feel” sound like the otherworldly “pyoom” of a laser in a movie about intergalactic warfare. It’s a vibe established in the album’s prerelease trailer — which samples German electronic group Moderat’s song “The Mark,” featured prominently in the movie Annihilation — that could’ve been a weird new direction for OVO if it hadn’t been relegated to the non-singles in the album’s deep end.
But Scorpion is not an album about taking chances. It’s massive, but its scope is narrow. It ditches the global pulse of More Life and Views. There’s not a single foray into grime or dancehall or Afrobeats. Its obsessions are trap, boom bap, and old-school R&B. The big rap guest is Jay-Z. (This is a coup of its own when you consider the snark about fondue and fine art that has passed between the two in the last five years, but the decision tracks when you realize that, once, Jay lost a little respect in a dustup with another rapper and bounced back with 25 songs when really only 18 were needed.) There are vocals from Michael Jackson and Static Major and interpolations of Aaliyah and D’Angelo. Obsessions with singers from the past suit the reminiscences of failed relationships on side B rather well, but pair the mannered ’80s and ’90s soul fixations of the back half of the album with the apprehensive mix of nods to new rap and growling Drake-featuring-Drake bops on the front, and you get an artist at a crossroads.
Over the last decade, Drake, 40, Oliver El-Khatib, Boi-1da, T-Minus, PartyNextDoor, and all of the usual OVO suspects have created a sound that’s big and warm and special to a lot of people. The craft has been refined over the years, especially on Drake’s end. He’s a fighter who pushes himself to such an extent that playing to his old music feels like cuing up old Dragon Ball Z episodes and watching Goku stress over moves he can nail in a flash now. Drake’s powers have grown, but Scorpion is a retrenchment. He’s saving face, keeping up appearances he doesn’t have to, when this album’s blockbuster sales were set in stone months ago thanks to its singles’ streaming success. He’s fussing over people he told us he doesn’t have to answer to. He’s addressing personal matters he said were none of our business. Drake is bothered, but that’s usable energy.
The difference between the good and bad tracks on Scorpion is the difference between venting and ranting, between exorcising bad thoughts and stewing in them. “In My Feelings,” where Drake checks in on new and old friends to see if they’re still down, is the former. “God’s Plan,” where he celebrates the broskis and shades naysayers is the same. As are “Emotionless” and “March 14,” where the artist opens up about the shock of unexpected new fatherhood and laments re-creating his parents’ difficulties in getting along with the mother of his son. All the talk on side A about evil acts he thought about visiting on haters is bunk because he’d never do it. Like J. Prince said, it’s not in his character. There is nothing wrong with that. There’s too much shooting and stabbing in rap. Side B’s obsessions over who dumped him and why are the same concerns he had ten years ago. Seeking comfort in people who failed you is not growth. Both sides of Scorpion needed to drop three or four songs and get a grip. Is Drake turning into one of those 30-somethings who dates people seven to ten years their junior but can’t grasp that they want different things out of life? Is he stagnating, or is Drake’s idea of who needs a Drake, of what a Drake should be versus what he could be, too set in stone? Is there more?
*A version of this article appears in the July 9, 2018, issue ofNew York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
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How much Drake made from Scorpion? ›
How much did Drake make off Scorpion? That same report mentioned above claims that Drizzy's 10 billion streams via Apple Music, a milestone he hit in July 2018 (a month before Scorpion dropped), would've earned him a whopping $78 million.How successful was Scorpion Drake? ›
In the United States, Scorpion opened atop the Billboard 200 with 732,000 album-equivalent units, which included 160,000 pure album sales, making it the biggest first week of the year at the time.How long did Scorpion stay number 1? ›
1 album on the Billboard 200 albums chart, but the record also received its respect when it spent five weeks in the top spot on the same listing. Each one of the Toronto native's full-length releases have skyrocketed to No. 1 upon their debuts with the exception of his 2009 EP, So Far Gone — which peaked at No.Was Scorpion by Drake good? ›
It's an old-school prestige play, the most ambitious album of Drake's career, digging up Michael Jackson samples, the most expensive-sounding beats known to modern music and more songs than anyone seems to know what to do with. For the most part, it works.How much is 1ltr of scorpion venom worth? ›
A litre of the venom is worth about $US10 million, Mr Orenler told Reuters. It's previously been described as the most expensive liquid on the planet.Can you get rich from scorpion venom? ›
While a minute amount of venom can fetch a pretty penny, getting into the scorpion business is unlikely to make you a millionaire.Who did Drake surpass? ›
Drake with 30 passed The Beatles, who have 29, for the record over the list's 64-year history. The Beatles held the top-five mark for 55 years, having last reached the region in 1970 with 'The Long and Winding Road'/'For You Blue', which spent two weeks at Number 1.How much did the rock get paid for Scorpion King? ›
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson made Hollywood history in 2002. He was paid $5.5 million for his leading role in The Scorpion King, putting him in the Guinness World Records for the highest salary for a first-time leading man. Now, some 16 years later, The Rock is breaking yet another record.Was there ever a real Scorpion King? ›
The upcoming movie “The Scorpion King” is fiction, but recent archeological studies indicate there really was a King Scorpion in ancient Egypt and that he played a crucial role in uniting the country and building it into the world's first empire.What is Drake's lowest selling album? ›
Sonic Vista Studios » Drake's 'Scorpion' Is the Lowest-Selling No. 1 Album In 27 Years.
Why was Scorpion killed? ›
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
However, when he received a mission from the vile necromancer Quan Chi to steal the sacred Map of Elements from the Order of Light's Shaolin Temple, Scorpion was brutally murdered in battle by the Lin Kuei warrior, Sub-Zero.
After tallying a total of 53,857 votes, the final results have found that the former fighter is slightly more popular – with 52 percent of all the votes. Who do you choose between the two? I've personally always been a fan of Sub-Zero.Who defeated Scorpion? ›
Enraged, Scorpion seeks to destroy the Elder Gods' chance of preventing Armageddon by taking the elemental Blaze's power, but the Edenian demigod Taven defeats him. Scorpion is later killed by Sub-Zero in a battle royal amongst the series characters.Is Scorpion a one hit wonder? ›
An individual scorpion can change its internal physiology in response to what it is experiencing in its environment – and concoct a deadlier sting.Who is the smartest character in Scorpion? ›
Recurring protagonist Walter O'Brien is a genius with a 197 IQ.What is the most expensive liquid in the world? ›
Scorpion venom is the most expensive liquid in the world. One liter can be sold for around $10 million.What is the rarest scorpion venom? ›
The venom of the deathstalker scorpion costs $39 million dollars a gallon, making it the most expensive liquid on Earth. One scorpion would need to be milked 2.64 million times to fill a gallon. Scorpion venom has a wide array of medical applications, from identifying tumors to treating malaria.Why is scorpion venom so rare? ›
The reason why is pretty simple: the stuff is hard to get. Scorpions are almost always milked by hand, one by one. And one scorpion produces, at the most, just two milligrams of venom at a time.What animal is immune to scorpion venom? ›
When the grasshopper mouse attacks a bark scorpion, it barely notices the arachnid's intensely painful sting. Now researchers know why: the rodents have a mutation in the cellular pathway that controls their pain response, making them resistant to scorpion venom.How long would it take to get 1 gram of scorpion venom? ›
However, since a scorpion produces no more than half a milligram of venom every 20 or 30 days, it takes between 3,000 and 3,500 scorpions to produce a single gram of the powerful toxin.
Can scorpion venom be cured? ›
Most scorpion stings don't need medical treatment. But if symptoms are severe, you may need to receive care in a hospital. You may be given drugs through a vein (intravenously) to treat pain.Has Drake ever had a #1 hit? ›
1 Hits. Drake has tallied 11 No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 in his career, the most among rappers. Among all artists, though, he's tied with Whitney Houston for the seventh-most, after The Beatles (20), Mariah Carey (19), Rihanna (14), Michael Jackson (13), The Supremes and Madonna (12 each).Who has more hits Drake or Eminem? ›
Drake Passes Eminem As Highest-Selling Singles Artist in History. Drake just hit another milestone in his career, this time passing Eminem to become the highest certified singles artist in RIAA history. The Toronto rapper has earned 10 new plaques from the RIAA bringing his total to a whopping 184 million singles sold.Why wasn t Dwayne Johnson in Scorpion King 3? ›
The movie played a major role in launching Johnson's career as a leading man in 2002, but the actor became too busy to play the Scorpion King again. The franchise continued on without him in the form of direct-to-DVD films.How much did Dwayne Johnson get paid for Jumanji 2? ›
For 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Johnson was reportedly paid $19 million. For the sequel, 2019's Jumanji: The Next Level, he reportedly made $23.5 million.What happened when the Scorpion King ate the scorpion? ›
The scorpion was seized by the King and, despite its stings, was promptly chewed up and eaten by the Scorpion King, who in turn received an oasis from Anubis, where he could recuperate.What is the biggest scorpion ever alive? ›
The pterygotid eurypterids were the largest arthropods ever to exist and reached total lengths of more than 8 feet (about 2.5 meters). The largest have been found in the United States in New York State, and in Germany and the Czech Republic.Is anything from scorpion true? ›
While stories inspired by reality always take some liberties with the truth, the new prime-time drama "Scorpion" has its roots in a real person: genius hacker Walter O'Brien. We visited the set of the show to speak with him and get the inside story on the show's creation.Did they use real snakes in the Scorpion King? ›
The snakes we see at first are real cobras. The snake handlers use hooks to manipulate at least three real snakes into the urns. But after that the snakes are all typical CGI monsters with big fangs.What record has Drake broke? ›
Last August (2022), Drake broke the 55-year record once held by the iconic English rock band The Beatles for most songs on the top five hits in Hot 100 history thanks to his collaboration with DJ Khaled and Lil Baby on the hit "Staying Alive." The song debuted at No.
What is Drake's biggest selling hit? ›
“Laugh Now Cry Later”
It is without a doubt one of Drake's most iconic songs and still hits the same two years later.
The franchise's main Sub-Zero is Kuai Liang (Chinese: 快凉; pinyin: Kuài Liáng). Debuting in Mortal Kombat II (1993), he has used the mantle in every chronological game since his introduction.Who killed Sub-Zero? ›
Kuai Liang and his older brother Bi-Han served the Lin Kuei assassin clan faithfully until the first Mortal Kombat tournament. There Bi-Han, code-named Sub-Zero, was killed by the demon Scorpion.Who is Scorpion's daughter? ›
His daughter has no name in the movie, as she is discovered by the elder god Raiden and taken away as a baby. She is however credited on IMDB as 'Hasashi's Baby', portrayed by Mia Hall. Although that appears to be the last we see of Scorpion's daughter, she does play a pivotal role in the movie.Who is more powerful than Sub-Zero? ›
Fujin, God of the wind, is the first (full) deity on the list. And as a God, Fujin is already stronger than Sub Zero, but let's go over why exactly?Who would win noob or Scorpion? ›
Noob saibot would win because his powers have evoleved much since the first game and when noob was human he was human beat him so he can beat him again when they both have died.Why do Scorpion and Sub-Zero hate each other? ›
The feud began due to the two characters belonging to sparring clans. Sub Zero belonged to the Lin Kuei clan and Scorpion (real name Hanzo Hasashi) pledged himself to the Shirai Ryu clan.Who would win a fight between Scorpion and Sub-Zero? ›
Sub-Zero Kills Scorpion
Sub-Zero would end up winning the first battle between him and Scorpion, but it should be pointed out that Sub-Zero had the undeniably useful ability to manipulate ice at that time while Scorpion was just a renowned warrior that possessed mostly human (though certainly enhanced) abilities.
Who is Scorpions' son Satoshi Hasashi? Hanzo's son is named Satoshi Hasashi - and also known by the nickname Jubei. Satoshi is with his parents at the Shirai Ryu massacre, and despite diving in front of Harumi to stop her being killed by Bi-Han, he is ultimately killed along with his parents.
Why did Scorpion turn evil? ›
Throughout the series, Scorpion has been a misguided antagonist after his resurrection, following those on the side of evil out of revenge and anger over the death of his family and clan.Who will win Scorpion or tarantula? ›
One of the world's largest scorpions, the giant forest scorpion (Heterometrus swammerdami), can grow up to 22 centimetres long, and could use its powerful pincers to crush a tarantula. Luckily, in a pinch, a tarantula could drop its leg to get away, and regrow the leg as it continues moulting.What is the #1 one hit wonder? ›
|1||Los Del Rio||Macarena [Bayside Boys Mix]|
|2||Soft Cell||Tainted Love|
|3||Dexy's Midnight Runners||Come on Eileen|
|4||Right Said Fred||I'm Too Sexy|
Eddie Kaye Thomas, as Tobias "Toby" Merriweather Curtis, M.D., is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist with an IQ of 170, which is the lowest on the team. Toby serves the team as a behaviorist, "reading" people whom the team encounters. His gambling addiction occasionally causes trouble for the team and him.What was Ralph's IQ in Scorpion? ›
He goes to Caltech as well as elementary school. He's been shown to be able to calculate and compute at a very fast rhythm. He has an IQ of 200 as it was said in the season finale of season 3. Ralph had whooping cough as a child and had to go to the ER because of it.Is Walter from Scorpion autistic? ›
The son of an Irish farming family, he got into trouble at school “for asking too many questions.” Suspecting he was autistic, teachers recommended he be tested. The result: No autism, but an IQ level beyond genius that left him too bored to play by the rules in traditional school.How much money did scorpion make? ›
Drake's 'Scorpion' Nabbed Well Over $1 Million in 24 Hours – Rolling Stone. Music.How much did Nike give Drake? ›
As Drake himself once said, he prefers checks over stripes… or rather anything else it appears, as his deal with Jordan Brand has been estimated to be $1 billion or higher. And given the notoriety of the artist right now, it most certainly is believable that the Nike owner brand will be willing to give him that much.Where does Drake make most money from? ›
- Brand endorsements. Over the years Drake has endorsed many popular brands such as Sprite, Burger King, or Apple. ...
- Business ventures. ...
- Royalties. ...
- Real estate, private jets and all that jazz. ...
- Touring, merchandise. ...
- Drake gets all the buck.
Even when he landed a role on “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” Drake and his mother still struggled. His mother became ill and Drake's $50,000 annual salary on the Canadian teen drama was their family's only income, Celebrity Net Worth reports.
Why did Scorpion get canceled? ›
As is often the case with network shows, failing ratings led to Scorpion's end. The warm-hearted crime series became CBS' most watched drama in its debut season, according to The Wrap.How much does Drake make for one concert? ›
Fast forward and Drake has become one of the highest-paid entertainers across the globe. As AfroTech previously told you, part of Drake's net worth includes $50 million in earnings from his music catalog, as of 2021. Additionally, he reportedly earns $1 million per concert, according to Celebrity Net Worth.How much did Lil Wayne give Drake? ›
During the Young Money Reunion show, Drake revealed that support was once in the form of $30,000, which changed his life.How did Drake afford Air Drake? ›
At the time of the reveal, news outlets were trying to figure out how Drake – a wealthy but not Musk wealthy celebrity – could afford such a high ticket item. Then it was revealed that the plane was a gift from a Canadian logistics company called... CargoJet.How much did Travis Scott get paid for Nike? ›
Scott is a savvy businessman and has been involved in several business ventures with well-known brands. Scott's partnership with Nike would result in his signature sneaker line, 'Cactus Jack'. It has been estimated that this successful partnership nets him $10 million per year.How much does it cost to book Drake for a show? ›
One example fee to book Drake is in the starting range of $1,500,000-$1,999,999. Also, their speaking fee might be different than the fee shown for the cost to perform or to just appear. Popularity, career stage, along with current demand will cause fluctuations in their speaking price too.What rapper makes the most money? ›
- Snoop Dogg's Net worth: $150 Million.
- Lil Wayne's Net Worth: $160 Million.
- Ice Cube's Net Worth: $160 Million.
- Ronald 'Slim' Williams' Net Worth: $170 Million.
- Drake's Net Worth: 180 million.
- Pharrell William's Net Worth: 200 million.
- Master P's Net Worth: $200 Million.
Who is the richest rapper? Jay-Z is the richest rapper in the world, according to Forbes' real-time billionaires list. As of April 2023, Jay-Z's net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion.Why is Drake suing Degrassi? ›
Drake allegedly threatened legal action to get his “Degrassi: The Next Generation” character out of a wheelchair, according to a former writer for the show. The rapper, born Aubrey Graham, famously portrayed Jimmy Brooks, a student who was shot and thus had to use a wheelchair, on the teen drama from 2001 to 2008.Did Drake almost quit Degrassi? ›
In a recent oral history celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Canadian phenomenon, Degrassi screenwriter James Hurst said that Drake once threatened to leave the show because Jimmy used a wheelchair, which the rapper feared made him look “soft.” (As if “soft” hasn't been used to describe most Drake music since 2010. ...
What does Drake own? ›
|Born||Aubrey Drake Graham October 24, 1986 Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Other names||Champagne Papi Drizzy 6 God|
|Citizenship||Canada United States|