In less than a decade, Drake has become the most viral rapper of his generation. His lyrics become tattooable mottos, while his videos have become hits with Viners. Beyond the more humorous elements, he is also one of the most earnest voices in his genre, leaving many layers to uncover within his persona and a variety of songs and styles to parse through, so we asked our readers to vote for the best Drake song. Here are the results.
On "Marvins Room," Drake gets drunk and calls his ex. It's a simple concept and one perfected by country songs, but the somber quality of Drake's single is what made the rapper the posterboy of more emotional hip-hop.
Simple, tropical and irrepressibly catchy, "Hotline Bling" not only became one of Drake's biggest solo hits but also one of the most viral songs and videos of 2015. The dance-y clip alone became a Vine sensation, while the song almost became Drake's first Number One hit as a lead artist, though 2016's "One Dance" officially took that crown.
Above a Malcolm McLaren sample, Drake offers tender, melodious sing-rapping that fits comfortably into the more Caribbean-fusion of most of Views, even though it sounds more Eighties pop than dancehall.
"Too Much," featuring Sampha, comes in toward the end of Nothing Was the Same and is the perfect moment of self-reflection before the more luxurious final track, "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2." Above a piano beat, Drake shows off the maturity and easiness of his flow, a skill he's made stronger with every release.
The intimate piano ballad opens Take Care and showcases both sides of Drake: the cocky game-changer and the tender heartbreaker.
"Worst Behavior" may be one of Drake's rowdiest singles, spitting some of his most aggressive bars. The reckless energy of the track opens up Nothing Was the Same, a largely ambient, vibe-y album.
Two years before truly putting Toronto on the map with the phrase "running through the 6 with my woes," Drake began his love letters to his hometown with "5AM in Toronto." In April of 2013, when he debuted the song's video, he noted that he does it for the city "every time" but for the rapper, this track was particularly important.
Drake thrives with stream-of-consciousness rapping, listing his fears and successes with no break or even a chorus necessarily. He does exactly this on "Tuscan Leather," which features a sample of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" and is named for the Tom Ford cologne.
Nothing Was the Same's lead single came in the middle of a hot streak for the rapper that was further established by the success of his third album. Like "The Motto" before it, the bearer of the term "YOLO," "Started From the Bottom" appealed to Drake's trendsetter sensibilities as a pop-rapper and creating one of 2013's catchiest songs.
Drake was already a rising rap star before releasing his debut album Thank Me Later, but the LP's lead single, "Over," not only solidified that he was not going to be just some buzzy artist without staying power. Over a sweepingly cinematic beat — complete with a string arrangement — he sets the tone for his material to come, reflecting on his fame and past life as a young Torontonian and former child star.