Have you ever heard of Drake?
Also known as Aubrey Graham, Drake is a fascinating human who’s really captured America’s heart (even though he’s Canadian) – but that’s just it: he’s human and mortal. And if five seasons of Game Of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that a human being’s time in power can only last so long. Drake’s not gonna be top dog forever, so when he eventually falls off, (or worse: puts out a song with Paul McCartney), someone will need to take his place, lest the People not be entertained.
But who’s that going to be? Who jewels got rocks? Who else is making rap albums doing numbers like it’s pop? I’ve shortlisted a few (possible) contenders below, and while most of the following guys are very accomplished in their own right, some of them may just need a little more … vetting than others.
Drake’s current BFF, Future, stands out as a seemingly obvious successor to the throne, but would things really be the same, or would Nothing Was The Same?
He’s got the chops: he can rap, he can (kinda) sing, and he can sell a bunch of music. People respect him in the streets, but will kids respect him on the pop charts? Probably not. Future knows how to write a hook, but for some reason I just can’t see the guy hopping on a Justin Bieber song, or poking fun at himself on late-night television. Plus, what kind of meme potential does he even have? I’ll tell you: none. The best the internet can do with Future memes is Photoshopping his head into other photos. Reeeeaaaalll ccccoooolll.
J. Cole definitely has the ability to sell hip hop to a mainstream audience and he’s done so several times. Remember “Crooked Smile,” with TLC? That song was okay! The guy tries to sing on occasion, and he already has quite a proud fanbase.
Cole’s gotta step it up in the technically, though; he’s got nothing on Drake in terms of rapping. And I know I will get shit for previous sentence from Cole fanboys, but it’s not even so much about the lyrics as it is the way Drake plays with his voice and adopts (appropriates) different styles of music to rap over, pushing himself purposely into weird, unknown territory. Cole has the one flow, you know the one: “Life got crisscrossed, totally crossed out“.
Drake himself first cosigned The Weeknd, back in 2011, so that helps Abel’s case. They’re both hip hop artists with a lot of emotion and they both come from Toronto, Ontario. You know, feels recognize feels.
Anyway, The Weeknd wouldn’t really fit because (although his voice is beautiful and marketable) he doesn’t have those bars. Hip hop heads wouldn’t respect his technical rap skill, and as a result, wouldn’t receive the same critical acclaim that Drake does.
But … if we’re talking purely talking memes here, The Weeknd is right on par with Drake.
On to the next one.
Okay, now here’s an artist I can personally get behind filling the void. Like Drake, Frank is a soft, likable alt R&B figure who also happens to have potential to win over the internet (and subsequently, the masses). Besides, he has a better voice than Drake does, anyway – and his rapping talents ain’t half-bad, either.
But, when considering the lengths the trolls of the internet have gone to to make fun of Drake’s masculinity, one can’t even begin to imagine what those racist, homophobic teenagers would begin to say about a guy who’s actually gay. So, for the sake of me not throwing my phone through a fucking window (that is not covered by Apple Care), we’re gonna have to pass on Ocean.
Listen. Young Thug is a critical darling at the moment. He’s as talented as he is prolific (he’s very prolific), and he’s already demonstrated his ability to reach the top of the Billboard charts (remember “Lifestyle”?) Hell, I happen to think Thugger is an all-around better artist than Drake – but he’ll never reach the same heights that Aubrey has, for one simple reason: No one can understand a word that comes out of his mouth.
Sorry, Thug. Pull those marbles out of your mouth and then we can talk about becoming a pop star.
Rapper/singer/songwriter Ty Dolla $ign could potentially usurp the throne, but I can’t see songs with lyrics as misogynistic as his becoming number one hits. Then again (MORALS ASIDE), those collaborations with DJ Mustard seem to be doing just fine. . .
That and, every time I look at Ty Dolla $ign, I think I’m staring into the eyes of a psychopath.
Obviously Kanye West is God. But Kanye West is also a meme. And the way he got there was 50% crafting perfect pop masterpieces, and 50% acting like a fool, seemingly for the sole promotion of himself. He’s already had his fair share of “trending,” and, similar to Drake, literally becomes a caricature of himself at times.
Both Drake and Kanye are, lyrically-speaking, the best rappers in the game, but with Drake’s ever-changing relationship status, and Kanye’s caught up with – well, you know. . . I wonder if Kanye would be able to swing that young go-hard lifestyle Drake does at the moment.
Yes, I think Kanye would be the best choice to replace Aubrey, should he go anywhere. All we can do is hope that Drake’s reign over pop music never ends, although it totally will, when five seconds from now, Kanye’s seemingly mythical next album, SWISH, could drop, and I would look foolish, because “How could I have lost faith in God?” There will be another “Bound 2” and there will be more memes for everyone on your Facebook feed to revel in. Kanye West will reclaim the throne, and the world will keep turning.