Drake: Perception Is Reality
Hip-hop artists are reigning supreme right now because they are the only ones who have real shit. In the midst of this rock drought we are having here, I can honestly say that hip-hop is the only thing that speaks to me at the moment. That, and the latest Jane’s Addiction single “Irresistible Force,” which if you’re a dreamer of any kind, you already know why.
I’ve had a million things to say about Drake since he first broke but it was to soon to say so without sounding like a love letter. It’s not really a question of does he have the tightest raps or the best flow? And it’s not a matter of praising him for being any good at it. It’s about recognizing his ability to pull the whole thing off and appreciating the kind of calculation it takes to do it this big on the back of a mixtape.
The art of being a major player in popular culture and maybe even in history, depending on how switched on you are, is your ability to visualize a desire and then will it into reality. Drake is a brilliant example of that.
Do you think he’s dining with hip-hop royalty right now by accident? No. This is a guy who knew exactly what he wanted and that he was capable of hacking it with the best of them, and he went out and got it. Simple as that. The amazing part is that he was barely 25 and he managed two Grammy nominations before he had even released a full-length album. Excuse me, but that’s untouchable.
This is a guy who launched an entire career off commentating his own rise to fame as it happened in real time. Not only has that never been done, it’s one of those things that was so fucking real the first time it happened, anyone who tries to do it the same way again will be doing just that, trying.
Did he have an angle? Sure. Was it exaggerated? Absolutely. But, do you know what kind of confidence it takes to tell the whole world that you’re something you’re not even sure, as of yet, that you really are? When he says something like: “The realest on the rise, fuck them other guys,” you believe him because he believes what he’s projecting. This guy proves that perception is reality baby, and that is the real art of it. The credit he deserves isn’t for being the best rapper to ever hit the face of the earth, it’s for having a dream and fulfilling it tenfold while we all stood around and watched.
Drake busted out of the gates claiming that he was going to be The (one and only) Shit, and he did it, he lived up to and surpassed his own hype. We basically watched this kid come to life before our eyes and when you start to realize that his angle was essentially to tell the story of his real life coupled with the story of his rise to fame, you start to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance.
One of the most appealing things about Drake as an artist is his sense of realism. As human beings we are naturally attracted to positive, confident, and charismatic individuals and I think in a time when music is lacking realism the most, people are drawn to him whether they understand why or not.
Listen, whoever you are, if you have a dream, you know, that something that pumps electric through your veins, key to it all is believing that you are IT, whether IT is reality yet or not. Say what you will but this guy’s a fucking inspiration. He’s an incredible example of what this generation is capable of and he is a marker of a new age in hip-hop and of popular music in general.
Drake coming along when he did was an exciting thing because it showed the industry and the listening public that there is still room for people to shake things up and be the first at something, even in a world at the pinnacle of overexposure. What bands and artists coming up right now need to realize is that long gone are the days when they could expect to be discovered by an A&R guy and swept up by a major label for a 7 album recording deal. That’s not the world we live in anymore–– you’ve got to burn for it.
These days, artists have to learn to become the CEO’s of their own fully functioning, self-sustaining businesses if they have intentions of sticking around long enough to make a dent let alone for life. Even if you don’t like his voice or you can’t get into him as a rapper or whatever your issue is, Drake was a serious game changer. As one of the first major musical success stories of this generation, not only has he already begun to shape the sound of hip-hop to come by recognizing the potential advantages of being a rapper who can also sing melodically, his approach is going to become an archetype of success for future others who are meant to move the cultural needle as he has.
It’s taken us a long while to figure out how to re-approach music in a technological world but after a whack load of auto-tune and a little trial and error, someone like Drake makes you realize that nothing gets you as hard as real, raw, emotion.
Rock and Roll’s Second Coming