Written By Lauren Mac | @theellemac
Drake Wants To Be Beyonce.
Drake told us in 2013 that girls love Beyoncé. What he failed to tell us was how much he loved Beyoncé himself.
Drake’s transformation from backpack rapper to international pop sensation has truly been remarkable to watch. Even if you’re not a fan (I personally am Cosign’s resident Drake hater), you cannot deny that he has not only cornered the hip-hop market but has been able to successfully crossover and become one of the biggest mainstream acts of the past years. Unlike some of his MC cohorts, like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, who modeled themselves after hip-hop greats Nas and Jay-Z, I think Drake is modeling himself after an even bigger celebrity, Beyoncé.
Before you stop reading and just write this article off as a rant from a Drake hater, allow me to explain. Last month, in true Drake fashion, he released a summer anthem, “Nice for What”. The single was accompanied by visuals starring some of the hottest women in Hollywood right now. Drake hater or not, I think we can all safely agree that before he danced the night away in “Hotline Bling”, Drake had a history of lackluster visuals. Do you remember the short film he released for Views? Of course not. But this video, unlike some of his previous misses, caught my attention, in a good way. The track’s similarity to Beyoncé’s viral single “Formation” and the video’s similarity to the “Lemonade” visual album immediately jumped out to me.
Drake in a way has always been a “Beyonce” of sorts for his male listeners. Aubrey can tap into the emotional side of hip-hop with songs like “Marvin’s Room” and he can make you dance with his seemingly endless list of hit singles. But “Nice for What” is different from all these. It is not just a song for women who dance but not “like ballet and shit”. A Lauryn Hill sample already sets it apart and it has all the makings of a black girl magic anthem. Empowering lyrics? Check. Crazy production? Check. And who can successfully take a bounce beat with a Big Freedia feature to Top 40 radio besides Drake? Oh yeah. Beyonce.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock of the last 15 years, you’ve seen Beyonce elevate from R&B girl group singer to arguably the Michael Jackson of this generation. She is the blueprint for success in the music business. As not only a stellar singer and performer, Beyonce continues to raise the stakes of her celebrity through film, philanthropy, activism, and social/brand influence. She has become the trendsetter for how music is released and consumed. Do you remember when artists used to actually announce that they were releasing music? Could you have even imagined a visual album before Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 release? Would you have ever expected to see sold-out stadium tours globally before On the Run Tour? Not only has she created music that empowers feminists and the general public alike, she seamlessly executes her visuals, collaborates with the hottest names in music (one being Drake), and finds a way to illustrate her cultural and social values through her music and performances.
So when I say Drake wants to be Beyonce, it’s not an attack. With the release of “Lemonade”, Beyonce once again raised the bar of pop stardom. And with the resurgence of Drake after “More Life”, this Drake hater has to acknowledge that Drake is undertaking a similar feat. In the last year, he hasn’t missed. He’s collaborating with all the most popular names in hip-hop like Migos, Lil Baby, and BlocBoy JB. He’s illustrating his values and philanthropic efforts with “God’s Plan” and he’s getting the ladies in formation with “Nice for What”. So by all means, I support this Aubrey Graham Knowles Carter and I hope that the June release of “Scorpion” is his Sweet Tea to Beyonce’s “Lemonade”