So let me get this straight: for the right price, Drake will make your R&B aspirations see reality?
Don’t get me wrong, the guy has a lot of talent, and for the most part I enjoyed Thank Me Later… after I decided to listen to it weeks after its release (or, in my case, weeks after I received my premium RapidShare account version). It’s probably a me thing, but after bludgeoning the world with a multitude of leaks, videos, track listings, interviews, photos, behind-the-scenes looks at photo shoots, sneak peaks, teasers, trailers, previews and the like, I don’t want to hear someone’s music after that promotional blitzkrieg for at the very least a cool couple months.
Eventually I’ll get to 808s & Heartbreak. Eventually.
Anyways, the guy has seemingly become the current standard for rap today: the singing rapper, or a hip hop artist with R&B sensibilities. Popularized by Ja Rule in the late 90s, swacked by 50 Cent in the Aughts and perfected by Andre 3000 and Cee-Lo Green, now Drake seems to be the flag-bearer for this decade’s “hybrid rapper.” Yet where Jeffrey and Curtis’… um… harmonizing efforts came across as forced and contrived more often than not, Drake actually sounds like (or at least attempts to sound like) he’s more comfortable singing than rapping sometimes. I’m not saying that most of it is actually good; hell, I’m confused sometimes at how the hooks to some of his songs have no relation to the bars he spits for them. I’m just saying.
Anyways, if he decides to throw in the towel on this rap game and take up another profession (word to Jeru The Damaja doing photography now), he can definitely get a couple royalty checks ghostwriting for our favorite-to-look-at R&B bitties. He’s already provided background vocals for Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige, and has
threatened to talked about dropping an R&B-tinged mixtape. Sporadic “reference tracks” have been popping up recently, each sounding like they would go to the likes of Rihanna and Ciara. Needless to say, Drake has a backup plan (if not necessarily a completed high school education) to fall back on.
To be honest, more aspiring artists should think more in that sense. I’m not suggesting they should instantly start putting out R&B albums, nor should I think they should even attempt to do so, but in the manner of expanding one’s portfolio outside of gaudy clothing lines and fraudulent oil companies. Besides, El DeBarge just came back after being away for years; the fuck I look like wanting to listen to rappers singing? At this point the only singing rapsters I’ll check out is Three Stacks and Cee-Lo. Anyways, with everybody trying to remain afloat in rap’s waters, it doesn’t hurt to try to add another article to your résumé.