The Rise Of Drake: What’s The Secret To His Success?

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

“Don’t think about it too much,” sings Sampha on the crestfallen hook of “Too Much,” one of the many highlights on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same, and though it’s a nice sentiment, it’s not exactly easy to do when it comes to Drake. Few artists have inspired as much hand-wringing, head-scratching and face-palming as the ascendant Canadian rapper and XXL cover star. His lyrics, his beats, his videos and even his sweater choices are subject to in-depth breakdowns and analysis that’s typically reserved for sporting events or political debates. And yet, the question remains: How does Drake keep winning? What’s the secret to his success?

And he is winning, as he loves to remind you. With the release of Nothing Was The Same, Drake will have delivered four distinct projects in the span of five years, each collection of songs showing a clear progression and growth while still spawning chart-topping hits, boundary-pushing collaborations and an infinite supply of memes. It’s a run that’s almost unparalleled in hip-hop. If we’re going to count So Far Gone as an album—which it practically was in many respects—then Drake’s four album dominance of rap is almost incomparable to any other artist. Who else has stayed this hot for so long?

To figure out the secrets that make Drake’s music tick, XXL dove deep into Drizzy’s discography, taking a closer look at how each of his albums helped him transition from being a child actor with a nice voice to a “voice of a generation” style hip-hop prophet. So Far Gone, Thank Me Later, Take Care and Nothing Was The Same combine to form a portrait of an artist drawing from outside hip-hop to refashion the genre in his own image. Nothing would be the same. –Written by Dan Jackson and Eric Diep, with additional research from Miranda Johnson

  • Zaid10

    Who else has stayed this hot for so long? Eminem…..

    • o1ne

      No disrespect; but…so many artists have stayed “hot” for this long, even decades longer.

      • Billy’s Kingdom

        three really though. artists that have stayed relevant or bigger for say a decade are eminem, jay-z kanye (next year) and to a lesser extent wayne (because he wasn’t the biggest in hot boys when they were big) Drake is hot right now, and seems to know how to stay relevant (embracing the new school, always having something with his name on it out) it’s still a little too early to say if he’ll be around in 1o yrs though. but i wouldn’t be surprised.

  • Tankocaine

    Who Else Has Stayed Dis Hot For So Long? JayZ

    • Billy’s Kingdom

      eminem and kanye

  • Lex

    Personally, i’m not a big fan of Drake. His voice is a little bit annoying for me. But i can’t knock his hustle. I can’t front, dude is mad talented. He makes great music. He has his own style, he’s not trying to be hard or gangsta. He is in his own lane, doing big things and nobody can’t stop him. I think he wil be hot for a long time if he continues to delivery great music like this last album. Me, i’d like to hear him on 100% hip-hop album, without singing. He got bars and he can get busy.