Canadian rapper Drake sits at the very top of the hip-hop hierarchy, and has been there for many months now.
But history shows that the top is not a very stable position, so naturally Drake is looking to make moves. On Jan. 31, 2016, he used his label’s Apple Music radio show to premiere the aggressive single “Summer Sixteen,” off of his upcoming fourth studio album “Views from the Six.” On the show, he also announced that “Views” would release in April 2016.
“Summer Sixteen” follows Drake’s most recent musical direction, which involves a healthy amount of chest-puffing over atmospheric, trap-influenced production. On his Feb. 2015 surprise mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” he proclaimed, “The game is all mine and I’m mighty possessive.” He backed this claim up with a year of outstanding collaborations and a smash-hit single, “Hotline Bling,” which became a nationwide sensation.
The new single shows Drake slinging barbs at new targets. “I’m out here looking for revenge,” he croons on the hook, drawing out the word “revenge” exactly the way one would expect him to. “Tell Obama that my verses are just like the whips that he in/They bulletproof,” he said, calling out thePresident, after he told reporters that he thought Kendrick Lamar would defeat Drake in a rap battle. No one is safe when the 6 God gets in the booth.
From there, he returns to a topic that we all thought was surely in the past. It was an established agreement among rap fans that Drake squashed Philadelphia native Meek Mill in last year’s preeminent lukewarm rap beef, but Meek re-opened the contest with a few angry lyrics on his latest EP.
Drake wastes no time before returning fire on “Summer Sixteen.” “I coulda killed you the first time/You don’t have to try to say it louder n---a,” he raps, a jab at his competitor’s emphatic yelling delivery. “It’s nothing personal I would have done it to anyone,” he admits afterwards.
This battle is far from over, as Meek Mill released the track “War Pain” just 15 minutes later, which responds directly, and effectively, to “Summer Sixteen.” Considering the impossibilities of recording and releasing a response in 15 minutes, there may have been foul play.
After addressing Meek on “Summer Sixteen,” Drake tosses out a few Golden State Warriors references and looks down the sights again, re-focused. “All you boys in the new Toronto want to be me a little,” he sends towards fellow Toronto rapper Tory Lanez, as the beat smoothly switches to a few solemn piano keys. Lanez responded by dropping a few subliminal lines towards Drake on a recent mixtape.
To drive home his point, Drake looks to a pair of rap superstars. “I used to wanna be on Roc-A-Fella then I turned into Jay/Now I got a house in LA, Now I got a bigger pool than Ye,” he boasts, referencing Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Of course, Drake is smart enough to know when to keep his ground, so he dials back the bravado a bit, “Look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine’s just bigger what I’m saying.” Recent events have told us that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of an angry Kanye West rant.
“Summer Sixteen” ends with motivational barking from professional meme DJ Khaled, who invokes one of his signature Snapchat catchphrases to urge Drake on. If Drake is anything, it’s timely. He’s displayed an incredible knack for keeping his finger on the pop culture pulse, and so the appearance of Khaled comes as no surprise.
Up next: a few months of promotion, and then the release of “Views from the Six.” If Drake’s recent output is any indication, it should be an album to remember.
Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.