When I woke up this morning at 5am ET, Drake was trending worldwide on Twitter. I thought, initially, that he’d dropped a new single overnight. But that would be an old reason to go viral. And Drake, as we’ve seen, is the artist most suited to these times, his time. Which means that, somehow, reliably, he consistently finds new ways to make new media – an unpredictable organism – work for him.
At around 1am ET last night, Drake tweeted that he was online:
Fortnite is a video game. Drake was playing on Twitch, a livestreaming platform for gamers. The most popular gamer on Twitch is Ninja. Travis Scott and Juju Smith-Schuster (he plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers) ended up joining too. It feels like I’m writing in a different language right now. But that language is spoken by millions and millions of people around the world, which is why Drake and Ninja have just set a Twitch record as more than 600,000 people watched the stream, nearly doubling the previous record. And this is why Drake’s a headline today.
He’s become a hero among gamers for putting their world in the spotlight. He’s dominated yet another platform. And, of course, he’s being memed, again. At one point during the game he hides in a bush.
Watching Drake run around as a bush is the greatest thing that's happened so far in 2018 pic.twitter.com/43qe8fbhYd— luisa (@luisagibsonxo) March 15, 2018
So, naturally, this:
Ninja : Drake are you a bush?— J!M ☜═㋡ (◣﹏◢) (@JMOxQ__) March 15, 2018
Drake : yeah, God's Plant. 😏 pic.twitter.com/7fpcNzCj1b
As I’m writing this, someone’s going to figure out how to marry this meme with Sean Spicer.
Speaking of God’s Plan though, it’s now the biggest song of 2018. And, sure, we’re only halfway through March but Justin Timberlake released an entire album last month. None of the tracks off Man Of The Woods is performing anywhere nearly as well as Drake’s God’s Plan, already one of the most streamed songs …OF ALL TIME
So he breaks records when he streams music and he breaks records when he streams video games – and it would be a mistake to brush this off as accidental, even though with new media and viral trends, the key is to make it FEEL authentic, organic, despite the strategy and the work that goes into the effort. As Uproxx points out, given that Drake’s Twitch record nearly doubled the previous one, it’s likely that the servers would have had to be ready in order to accommodate the traffic. And wouldn’t you know, Fortnite was supposed to go down for maintenance yesterday but the planned upgrade was delayed “due to an unspecified technical problem”. They ended up rescheduling downtime at 5am ET this morning – which, conveniently, is about when Drake signed off. Also? It’s spring break. He did this in the middle of the night, when a huge part of the demo would have been ready and waiting for something to happen.
Coincidence or conspiracy?
Do not sleep on Drake’s savvy.
No other artist is this good at manipulating and exploiting the culture. He’s always just ahead of where everyone else is going – not too far in front so that it’s not tangible but never, ever, behind. This is the work of Drake. How much longer can he keep this up?
A final word on Drake – when Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On The Run 2 tour dates were announced earlier this week, I mentioned that they were only making one stop in Canada: Vancouver. What about Toronto!? Every year, Drake’s OVO Fest happens in Toronto on the August long weekend. And he always brings in special guests. The August long weekend this year is Friday August 3 to Monday August 6. Beyonce and Jay currently do not have a show planned on August 3 or August 4, the Friday and the Saturday. They play Boston on Sunday August 5 but they do have another free night on Monday August 6.
Coincidence or conspiracy?
Here's Drake at the Raptors game in Toronto the other night.
Yours in gossip,