Without a doubt, 2016 was one of the most successful years in Drake's career. He reached some major milestones, like getting nominated for eight Grammy Awards and holding the title for Spotify's Most Streamed Artist and Most Streamed Song of Summer. But for me, it was a really unsuccessful Drake year, because it was one of the most disappointing periods of all time to be a fan. This year, Drake became the problematic fave that ruined my life.
First, let me say, I have always been open about being a fan of Drake as an artist. I have talked about it in great detail with other like-minded fans, and I have proudly shown my support for him in various forms of merchandise. I once dressed up as a "Hotline Bling" girl for Halloween, and I even guest judged a karaoke contest for a Drake-themed exhibit in New York City. As "Summer Sixteen" ran its course, my loyalty for the entertainer started to waver, though.
Being a fan isn't easy when you're a woke millennial and, hopefully, know the difference between right and wrong. It breaks my heart to even have to write this, but I would be a hypocrite if I didn't speak up because these dark thoughts have been haunting me for months. I literally used to "Wake and Drake," and now I feel some type of way when his name comes up in conversation. (Or rather, I feel no ways.)
I’ve long feared the day that Aubrey Drake Graham would do something controversial enough to force me to see him as a mere mortal—to me, he has always been untouchable. He's not like the others; he doesn't make careless mistakes. But I’ve come to realize that I can still be a fan and criticize artists that I admire. I don't know Drake as a person, but I like to believe that he's a good one. Sometimes, he just doesn't choose the best company.
In Drake's own words, "I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do." That said, here are Drake’s most disappointing moments of 2016. I promise I'm not the Sydney that gave up on him in "Redemption," though. I'm just saying, Drake can do better. Fingers crossed that he rights his wrongs in 2017.
6. Drake dissed Kid Cudi about his mental health issues
Attacking someone with mental health issues is not chill at all. You don't come for someone who's seeking treatment, especially in a community where it is shamed. Kid Cudi was the first to draw blood, but Drake didn't need to turn around and bleed him out like that. Cudi clearly hurt his feelings, but did Drake consider the fact that Cudi was in a deep state of suffering from his own self-inflicted pain? Here is the lyric in question that Drake spat on the track "Two Birds, One Stone": “You were the man on the moon/ Now you just go through your phases/ Life of the angry and famous/ Rap like I know I’m the greatest.” Kanye West already settled the dispute in a civil manner, so why did Drake have to go in this direction?
Drake also won't leave Meek Mill alone, and I don't know why we still have to talk about it. I'm all for defending your honor, but find a more respectful approach. The boy needs to grow up. The only beef that Drake should keep on the grill is Chris Brown.
5. Drake's pop-up shops in New York were a mess
Anyone who had the motivation to wait in those lines knows the pain that I still feel. Who only admits five people at a time? I made the mistake of thinking I could shimmy in there two hours before closing, but boy was I wrong. Thanks to Drake, I rage blackout bought a limited-edition long sleeve off of someone on the street for $25 more. Drake made me play myself, and I will never forgive him for that. Also, the "fans" in line were some of the most annoying people I've ever had to share air with. Biggest waste of my time.
4. Drake couldn't convince Rihanna to commit to him (again)
Drake really got the whole world's hopes up with his corny confession at the MTV VMAs when he presented Rihanna with the Video Vanguard Award. I mean, I don't blame RiRi for not wanting to claim Drake right now, but come on... This might be the longest on-again, off-again relationship of all time. On another note, why is Drake rebounding with J.Lo? I suppose it's hard to stay winning when Serena Williams is tired of giving you chances. (How can you compete with the greatest athlete of our lifetime?) If Drake is so worried about all the "Fake Love" in his circle, maybe he should expand his horizons beyond his bromances with Future. Now he's trying to roll with 21 Savage, but we all know he's not really about that life.
3. Drake dropped his long-awaited album, Views
I know that this album broke streaming records on Spotify and Apple and is even nominated for a bunch of Grammy Awards, but it's still trash. Call it a hot take, but Views is garbage. Not only did Drake play the safe card, but he had us so hyped for this album that we couldn't even register how bad it was. What really bothers me is that so many other artists that released full-length albums this year took creative risks and experimented with their sound which showed personal growth. Drake is almost too comfortable, and he knows that he doesn't have to make much of an effort to convince people to buy his music.
You can't tell me that If You're Reading This It's Too Late was a throwaway project when it was stacked with hits and then put something out that makes me fall asleep. Views is 20 tracks deep, and I only listen to about six or seven of them. ("Hotline Bling" had its moment, but now it's dead. RIP.) The lyrics on this album are so weak, and don't even get me started on "Child's Play." Also, how did you not keep Popcaan on "Controlla"? All of the visual elements were on point in the "Please Forgive Me" film, though.
I would have rather waited another year for an album with substance than get what I was served on Views. (Do I even want "More Life" in my life?) Also, the album dropped the day before my birthday, so it set a weird mood for the weekend.
2. Drake collaborated with Taylor Swift
The Apple Music ad made me cringe, but that was nothing compared to hearing the news about a collaboration in the works. Part of me wants to think that they both did it for the publicity, but Drake doesn't need this. Please spend time in the studio with literally anybody else. It's a smart move on Swift's end so she can finally dip her hands in genres that she's never dared explore before, but this move basically sealed Drake's new status as the Taylor Swift of rap and hip-hop. Go ahead and @ me, I say what I mean. I vote for Drake to work with Sufjan Stevens or Shania Twain immediately. Thank me later, Drake.
1. Drake featured Ian Connor in an October's Very Own lookbook
A huge wave of disappointment washed over me when I found out that Ian Connor was featured in the editorial lookbook for the October's Very Own (OVO) summer '16 collection. For those who weren't following the situation closely, Connor is a 23-year-old stylist mostly known for working with prominent hip-hop/rap artists like A$AP Rocky and Kanye West. This past April, Connor was accused of sexual assault by two women via Twitter. Since then, more women have come forward against him.
It's easy to say that what happened with the lookbook might not have been Drake's call. Maybe he isn't directly involved with the whole casting process for OVO, perhaps he would have made a more suitable pick. (It should be noted that Oliver El-Khatib handles the retail side of the business.) Regardless, Drake's team should have known better. Having Connor be a part of this editorial is a direct reflection of the OVO brand, sending a message that they condone his actions and thereby stand for sexual assault, lack of consent, and disrespect for women. We can't make up excuses for Drake no matter how much we like him.