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Drake Took the Easy Way Out

I finally watched the video of Weezy jumping out on stage during Drake’s Las Vegas performance, and, it was cool. Obviously scripted, Drake’s “shocked” look and all, but still cool. It’s a fair bet that when the most popular rapper in the game returns from jail, his first live appearance would be big.

Unfortunately, I was not present for the Drake show. Wait, I’m going to rewrite that sentence. Fortunately, I was not present for the Drake show. Ah, that sounds better.

I haven’t been a fan of Drake lately. Though it was cool that Weezy airlifted himself into the show. Okay, my ADD is rearing its ugly head right now. I’m just going to blurt out something that I’ve been pondering these past few months, which came to mind as I watched the video of Weezy crashing a happy, grateful, surprised, and perhaps jealous, Drake while performing.

Drake joining Weezy and Cash Money was like when LeBron joined Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat.

Yes. Take it in.

It feels good to write it out like that. Whether or not you agree, it’s the truth. Now, before you cuss me out, I want to clarify that I do not think Drake is the LeBron of the rap game. But he could be a poor man’s version, for this argument’s sake.

Think about it. Drake came into the game as a triple threat. Acting, singing, annnnnnd, oh yeah, rapping. He had hype. Hype not seen since 50 broke into the game. Granted, a different type of hype, but full on, Sylvia Rhone-backed, national heartthrob hype. He could sign with any label, join any crew, and request any amount of money, technically. People even said he could go independent and change the game. The possibilities were endless. Just like LeBron. A triple-double threat every game, with a chance to be one of the greatest.

From the outset, we knew that Drake was affiliated with Weezy. But when Interscope, Def Jam, and all the others are waving that check, affiliations don’t matter. Or so we thought. While I did not see the fine print, Drizzy reportedly received $2 million. I think he could have got a lot more from other labels, but, in the same sense that LeBron joined Wade to win the championship, Drake aligned himself with the biggest rapper in the game, for less money, but with an easier road to success.

That’s it right there. Weezy sold his millie in a week. Wade won a championship. The Heat and YM both provided the quickest road to a championship. The problem with Young Money was that after Weezy, there wasn’t much else. Mack Maine and Gudda Gudda were weed carriers posing as part of the YM rap crew until some fresh talent could be brought in. Drake and Nicki Minaj were the LeBron and Chris Bosh of YM. The future of YM is as bright as the Heat’s.

That’s when I started to sour on Drake. He could have done anything. It’s very rare when the hype that he created could reach such a national scale. When he joined Weezy, I feel like he took the easy way out. In turn, instead of becoming a star in his own right, Drizzy was reduced to second fiddle, aiding the undeniable MVP of the rap game.

That’s why when Weezy jumped out on stage in front of all the screaming teenage girls, Drake was reduced to a firefly, hovering over a fireball that had just returned to reality, scooping up every Drake fan with him. Much like LeBron could have signed with any team and made it a contender, or put up record statistics for any amount of money allowable, Drake had the same position. Whether it was a lack of competitiveness or a fear of going it alone, both the Canadian-born, formerly wheelchair-bound, high school senior heartthrob, and the New Orleans South Beach Savior took the easy way out.

It wouldn’t really be fair for me to say that I dislike Drake because of all this. Because I don’t dislike him. I just feel like he passed up an incredibly rare opportunity. He could have sold one million units out of the trunk of his car. I just simply didn’t love his debut album.

In what was one of the first times I believed a word coming out Saigon’s mouth in which he wasn’t in a booth, I found myself nodding my head along to this quote of his:

I love Drake, but I don’t think too many people are really anticipating his next album like crazy. Like, you almost know what you’re gonna expect from him: the love songs, singing.

Sai’ nailed it. Drake will probably keep selling and making hit records, but its all unoriginal at this point. He had a chance to carve out his niche and build his own brand, all without having to rely on anyone. Instead he piggybacked onto Weezy’s dreads and Birdman’s shiny baldhead, and rode them into the safe route of standard stardom. Meh. —Shlomo

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