Drake has just given us some WORK. Very, very good work. Outstanding work.
Previously on Beefs, Drake released Duppy Freestyle, a diss track in response to Pusha T’s diss track, Infrared. Infrared, it turns out, was a trap. And Push followed it up with what looked like a knockout punch, The Story of Adidon. Drake did not answer to The Story of Adidon, allegedly because J Prince told him to stand down, supposedly because it would have been so fire, Kanye’s career would be over. OK.
But still. This was the biggest loss of Drake’s career. And over the last few years, it’s only been win after bigger win for Drake. The next move, then, was critical, especially leading up to the release of Scorpion, his new album. So Drake did what Drake does best: he went home. It’s hard to do these things alone. Just hold on, we’re going home.
Home in so many ways. Home is Toronto, the city, our city, that he never stops shouting out. But home is also the beginning, the places, spaces, and the friends who were there and still are.
Last night Drake announced that Scorpion drops on June 29th which is Canada Day weekend. Home.
Last night Drake dropped the video for I’m Upset which opens with him in bed…at centre court at the Air Canada Centre, where the Toronto Raptors play. Home.
He gets out of bed to go to his high school reunion. At Degrassi. Home.
He is joined at Degrassi by his castmates. HOME.
I can tell you that all over Toronto, people were freaking out. This felt like it was ours. For fans of Degrassi, and Degrassi is no small thing, it felt like it was theirs too. Like has anyone checked on Lin-Manual Miranda today? LMM is obsessed with Degrassi. So as always happens when Drake does anything, he was trending, instantly, around the world. Because this was a brilliant pivot, there’s no other way to say it. And it’s always been the key to his viral moments. He knows how to give people what they didn’t know they needed. In the process, he managed to get beyond a serious blow by doing what he does best – which is the feels. He’s the “sensitive” rapper, remember? And that’s a kind of home too.
But let’s talk about the timing. For what it’s worth, this video, Drake’s third straight banger of a video, after God’s Plan and Nice For What, was actually planned on May 25th. I’m told that Drake’s people made the call that day which, ahem, was the same day Pusha T’s album came out and the same day that Duppy Freestyle came out and the day before I’m Upset was released. They shot it this past weekend, at the ACC on Friday night and at Degrassi on Saturday and Sunday. It took them a week to rebuild the set to look like it did in 2007. They brought in an edit suite in a truck on set so that they could start on post production while they were still shooting which is why they were able to turn it around so quickly. So this is what Drake had in his back pocket all along. While remaining silent after The Story of Adidon, while everyone was waiting for his response, he knew he had a card to play that would redirect the narrative.
Nas’s new album, produced by Kanye West, drops tomorrow. Coincidence or conspiracy?
One more thing…
In the I’m Upset video, in the background, in the school foyer, there hangs a series of plaques. This is one of those plaques:
Anything jump out at you?
Here… I’ll make it more obvious:
Duana’s coming over later to record the next episode of Show Your Work. I don’t know if she’ll be able to breathe again by then.