Should Drake Tone Down The Amount Of Singing He Does On Take Care?
A funny thing has happened to Drake‘s latest single “Marvin’s Room”: It’s gotten really, really popular—despite being really, really unpopular amongst critics, tastemakers, and blog writers when it first dropped back in early July.
The early criticisms of the song were varied. Some people didn’t like the message that Drizzy was spitting throughout the song—that being drunk and uninhibited was reason enough to call up a former flame and question her current relationship. Others didn’t like that the Toronto MC sounded so emo on the record. And the rest of us just sat back and wondered what we always seem to wonder when Drake hops on an R&B-sounding record: “Why in the world is this guy singing again?”
Regardless, the song has still managed to take off, in spite of those criticisms. A few weeks ago, it made its debut on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. A number of artists, including JoJo, Chris Brown, Teyana Taylor, and Lil Wayne, have borrowed the beat to create their own version of “Marvin’s Room.” And the song has slowly found a home on radio stations’ playlists, getting more and more airtime as the weeks go on—despite the fact it doesn’t exactly have the most radio-friendly chorus. And that leads us to answer the very question we posed above with a very simple response: Maybe Drake sings so damn much these days…because it works.
On the one hand, we don’t get it. If Jay-Z, Eminem, or Rick Ross jumped on a record tomorrow and professed their love to a woman by singing—and by singing, we mean singing like they really meant it—they’d get laughed right off the radio. Though the line between “rapper” and “singer” has been blurred a bit in recent years (we blame you for some of that, Wayne!), rappers have always been rappers and singers have always been singers. If you were a rapper and you needed a sing-songy hook, you called a singer, and if you were a singer and you needed a verse, you called a rapper. That was that and crossing the line simply wasn’t an option.
But Drake has been committed to taking on both roles throughout the course of his career. Sometimes, it’s worked, as evidenced on his debut single, “Best I Ever Had.” Other times, it hasn’t, as we heard on “Find Your Love” from his debut album, Thank Me Later. And sometimes, like on “Marvin’s Room,” it’s somehow managed to work despite not really working—and it’s left us wondering why the hell so many people are drawn to Drake’s singing chops.
On the other hand, we know why Drake continues to sing despite hip-hop’s pleas against it. Females still buy more albums than men and show up to more Drake concerts than men and, quite frankly, spend more money than men on everything involving Drake, so he’s simply catering to his audience when he sings on records. He’s not necessarily crafting songs like “Marvin’s Room” or “Find Your Love” for the hip-hop heads; he’s making them for the girls who show up to all his shows and want to hear him sing. It’s that simple.
But that approach is what has us a little bit worried when it comes to his sophomore album, Take Care. Because when it comes time for him to craft his album, is he going to go with what obviously works—the soft, emo tracks tailored towards his female fans—or is he going to release a bunch of songs that show off his skills in the mic? Is he going to be able to break out of the “Marvin’s Room” mold—or is he going to be stuck confessing his secrets and telling us about how tough his life is now that he’s rich and famous and looking for love in all the wrong places? Is he going to do too much singing and ruin Take Care?
We’re not sure. Few details about the actual album are out yet and, to be fair, Drake hasn’t even said whether or not “Marvin’s Room” will appear on the it. But from the sound of things, he needs to tone down the singing a bit or, at the very least, make sure he’s got an arsenal of freestyles in the can to release when the album drops in case it is overflowing with R&B. He needs to make sure that he still caters to the crowd that welcomed him with open arms back in 2009 after he dropped So Far Gone. He needs to make sure that he approaches his new album like a rapper who can sing, not a singer who can occasionally rap.
Because some singing is okay. But an entire album filled with it? No, thank you.