Drake began the rollout for Scorpion six months ago. In a landscape of surprise releases and disposable moments, he’s one of the last stars standing still aiming at ’90s-style ubiquity: singles released months apart, glossy music videos (thanks to young director Karena Evans) and (perhaps not as intentionally), tabloid-teased storylines. Scorpion, his fifth official album – though ninth full-length, when counting the mixtapes and playlists in his catalog – stays within that tradition. It’s an old-school prestige play, the most ambitious album of Drake’s career, digging up Michael Jackson samples, the most expensive-sounding beats known to modern music and more songs than anyone seems to know what to do with. For the most part, it works.
While much will be made of the circumstances that led up to the album – Drake’s categorical and total loss in a rap beef with Pusha-T – it’s clear that Scorpion is not an album-length response to “The Story of Adidon,” in which Pusha accused him of hiding the existence of a son until the child could be used as a prop in Drake’s allegedly forthcoming Adidas marketing campaign. Aside from one song about his son and several sideways references, Drake doesn’t seem all that concerned with addressing the central thesis of Pusha’s surprise attack. Instead, he’s set out to make the best version of a Drake album to date. By the time “Emotionless” comes around and Drake is reeling off anecdotes about how Instagram weaponizes the worst impulses of women he knows, it’s clear that it’s not dad Drake, or sad Drake, or newly mature Drake who’s shown up here. It’s apotheosis Drake, logical conclusion Drake, final form Drake.
At an hour and a half long, Scorpion‘s heft feels like bloat. Even so, there are no obvious songs to cut. “I’m Upset,” likely the worst single of Drake’s career, works when sandwiched between standouts “God’s Plan” and “8 Out Of 10.” “Nice For What” and “Summer Games” are incongruous bright spots among Side B’s bass-drenched melancholy, but they are also two of the best songs on the album (and, in the case of “Nice For What,” the best he’s ever done, period). “Ratchet Happy Birthday” is the slightest song on the record, but it’s likely to end up the song from this album that will be played the most over the next decade or so, thanks to the bold play of crafting a birthday …
Source:: RollingStone – Music