Drake released his fifth official album, Scorpion early Thursday night. The album features a Side A and Side B – presumably split to show off Drake’s rapping and singing, respectively. Scorpion clocks in at a hefty 25 songs and features the Number One singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” (as well as the decidedly not chart-topping “I’m Upset”). Scorpion‘s release caps a tumultuous six-month rollout, which began in January with the release of Drake’s Scary Hours EP.
Drake wrote his own “Editor’s Notes” for Apple Music, writing, “I hate when drake raps. Drake sings too much. Drake is a pop artist. Drake doesn’t even write his own songs. Drake took an l. Drake didn’t start from the bottom. Drake is finished. I like drake’s older stuff. Drake makes music for girls. Drake thinks he’s Jamaican. Drake is an actor. Drake changed. Anybody else > Drake …. Yeah yeah we know.”
The album is Drake’s first project since 2017’s More Life, which he billed as a playlist. It’s his first album since 2016’s commercially successful but critically panned Views. The difference between an album and a mixtape or playlist is unclear, but it’s a distinction Drake takes pains to make.
Because of the inclusion of “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” Scorpion is guaranteed commercial success from the beginning. Songs on the album have already been streamed over 1 billion times.
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For most artists, that sort of guaranteed sales built into a release would be considered a runaway success for an album rollout. Drake’s, though, was marred by a high-profile beef with Pusha-T. In May, Pusha-T fired subliminal shots across the proverbial bow on his song “Infrared,” the final song of DAYTONA, his Kanye-West produced album. In short order, Drake responded with the cutting “Duppy Freestyle,” which was explicit in its attacks on both Pusha and West.
But it was the release of “The Story of Adidon,” a scathing diss track from Pusha-T, that made Drake look like the in-over-his-head underdog. Among other accusations, “Adidon” alleged that Drake was hiding a child, and its cover art was a newly surfaced picture of Drake in blackface. Despite rumors of a Drake response, the beef ended there. Kanye West tweeted that the beef was over, and Drake laid low for a few weeks.
Any suspicions that his beef with Pusha-T might derail the success of Scorpion were put to rest when “Nice For What,” Drake’s long-gestating Number One single, returned to its top spot after the beef was concluded, and the video for “I’m Upset” – a Degrassi reunion directed by Karena Evans – became a viral sensation.