Does Drake need to clear his name with 'Scorpion'?

A double-album suggests he’s giving himself more opportunities to fail, but if he releases his best body of work yet, it will neutralize the noise coming from the detractors.

  /  06.28.2018

On the eve of the release of Drake’s fifth studio album, Scorpion, there are arguably more questions hovering over the Canadian rapper’s personal life than ever before. Over the years, Drake has managed to steer clear of mudslingers — whether it be rappers or writers — looking to sully his name. He’s been a part of a few minor squabbles (Meek Mill immediately comes to mind), but they all end up being swept under the rug and eventually forgotten about. Whether it be Chris Brown, Kid Cudi, Common, Diddy or Joe Budden, every possible feud Drake has been involved in has managed to wash upon the shores of the forgotten by the time his album rolled around.

But not this time…we think.

Pusha T has cast a pretty significant shadow over the release of Scorpion after dragging Drake through the muck on “The Story of Adidon.” It’s one of the few — if not, only — times that Drake has been outsmarted by his opposition. After Pusha T nudged Drake on his Daytona album with “Infrared,” Drake accepted the invitation to feud and delivered a scathing response to his foe of many moons with “Duppy Freestyle.” It was venomous and had fire for not only Pusha T, but also Kanye West. Many declared Pusha T dead on arrival and began to look toward the release of yet another summer where Drake was perched on his throne.

But then something changed. Soon enough, people realized that Drake not only took the bait, but left himself bare as Pusha T began his self-proclaimed “surgical summer” by verbally undressing Drake on “The Story of Adidon.” It wasn’t just a scathing diss, it was deeply personal and pulled the curtain back on a number of unflattering situations that portrayed Drake in a dim light. From the idea that Drake is hiding a son to the controversial blackface photo, there was a lot of dirt dug up. Nobody knows how much truth there is to Pusha’s venom aside from Drake, but the problem was that Drake had to prove Pusha T was wrong. And in this wonderful world of trial by social media, you’re guilty of the charge well before you have the opportunity to prove yourself as innocent.

It can be argued that Drake’s greatest misstep was not responding. But Rap-A-Lot Records CEO James Prince put a halt to the beef before it went any further and treaded into dangerous territory. And with the recent tragic death of XXXtentacion, perhaps Prince was right to step in and pull these two apart.

Nevertheless, Scorpion has a pretty dark cloud hanging over it. There are many, many questions regarding whether or not Drake will address any of the accusations that Pusha T made. In the realm of social media, Drake already lost the battle. But if we’ve learned anything over the past few years, we know that losing a battle is not a career death sentence. As much as we want Drake to speak out on the possibility that he has a son or fire back at Pusha T, maybe the best route for him to go is to simply make great music.

Because, ultimately, that’s what matters.

The truth is, as much as Drake wants to be recognized as the best rapper in the world, he’s a pop artist. He may not like the term, but he’s bigger than any genre of music. And addressing Pusha T on his latest release would only open up a can of worms that will lead to more scrutiny and criticism. But if he simply releases an album that is recognized as one of his best, if not the best, work of his career, this entire Pusha T feud will be swept under the rung.

But Drake has to make a great album. Rumors that Scorpion will be a double album (whatever that means in the day and age of digital albums) suggest that Drake is giving himself more opportunities to fail. He could be attempting to appease both of his fanbases with a moody R&B album and a straight-up rhyming album. Of course, this is mere speculation. However, the ultimate goal here is to release a body of work that is undeniable so that the naysayers can’t poke holes in his rollout by bringing up Pusha T and the allegations.

Furthermore, a great album will put Drake’s rabid fanbase to work and essentially neutralize the noise coming from the detractors. If nothing else, Drake has fans who are willing to fall on their sword for him. A universally acclaimed album will silence most, while the rest will be drowned out by the cheers of Drake’s staunchest supporters.

So, the question is whether or not Drake needs to address anything Pusha T has said about him on this album. The short answer is “no.” The long answer is “maybe in the future.” But right now? It’s the summer of Drake and a great album is all that anyone really wants from him.

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