While some may question Drake’s motives, I’ve always appreciated his support of underground hip-hop. I think it’s authentic, with his recent cut with k-os, “Faith“, serving as one shining example. Like Kanye West, Drake’s mainstream success is largely due to a nod of approval from underground heads. It was the music fiends that scour datpiff and 2dopeboyz daily who first scooped So Far Gone, and played it on repeat so much it spread like a cold. Who is this Drake guy? Where is he from? He can (kinda) sing and rap? Cool. Once the DJ’s took notice and gave “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful” spins on the radio, the teen-boppers of America jumped on the band-wagon, and a mainstream superstar emerged. Exact same songs, completely new demographic.
Drake is not hesitant to call himself a backpacker. In “Show Me a Good Time”, he drops J-Dilla references and complains “people start hating when a backpack rapper gets rich and starts living that life.” Not everyone likens Drake to ever being “underground”, but they fail to ignore that every rapper inevitably is at some point. They add that So Far Gone had a serious marketing campaign behind it that no other “backpack” release could compare with. Yes, having Lil’ Wayne on your mixtape gives you a marketing edge, but that was not the reason for the release’s success. Many artists have record labels shell out thousands for a Wayne feature on a flop-worthy single. Weezy got involved with the mixtape, and Drake’s career for that matter, because he knew Drake was onto something. So Far Gone was created in the true fashion of what mixtapes were intended to be. Drake took a series of beats from all over the musical spectrum and displayed his versatility on the mic. Hip-hop heads liked Bun B, teenage girls gushed overTrey Songz, and hipsters fell over their fedoras for Lykke Li and Santigold. But most of all, almost everyone appreciated the work as a whole.
Drake – Show Me A Good Time
I can imagine the hip-hop heads around me cringing while Drake explains his desire to make a number one hit with 9th Wonder, but I’m not scared. I have faith that these two will be honest with their work, and I would love for 9th to get that extra shine. Anyone can make a garbage underground hip-hop song that is “real”; but it takes a delicate understanding all different types of listeners and serious musical talent to create a number one hit. I’d much rather listen to a 9th Wonder X Drake track than another electro cut off Usher’s album, anyway.