The surprise seventh album from Drake revealed a lot of things, one being that despite what we all think we know; we can never guess the rapper’s next move. A dramatic leap into the world of house music was admittedly our last guess for “The New Drake Sound”, but in a world that continuously chases trends, Honestly, Nevermind serves as a reminder that Drake has been, and always will be, the ultimate curator of culture.
Here are our 5 highlights from the star’s latest project.
A tribute to Virgil Abloh
Tucked at the bottom of Drake’s album description on Apple Music reads “DEDICATED TO OUR BROTHER V,” a nod to the late fashion icon Virgil Abloh who tragically passed away due to cancer in November 2021. While Abloh gained most of his recognition from his work as the artistic director for Louis Vuitton and his label Off-White, he got his start DJing when he was a teen in the 90s and worked a lot with bridging the gap between music and fashion. A hum of synths, pumps and bass, Honestly, Nevermind seems to reflect the nightlife Abloh used to be surrounded by and beautifully pays tribute to one of the greatest creatives in modern history.
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Music for Women
Something that’s been brewing with Drake for a while is the idea that he’s one of the only males in hip hop who can successfully make music for women. His 2016 album Views was the first to ignite the flame, revealing a magnificent display of pop and R&B tracks that were designed for women to dance to with their friends throughout summer. Honestly, Nevermind brings that same sentiment, its hyped energy and ooze of sexiness being perfectly designed for a girl’s night out. Not to mention, the carefully curated Instagram caption one-liners Drake is so good at represent a culture that is upheld predominantly by females. The power in this of course is that where the women are, the men follow, and it doesn’t take long before the Drake tracks people aren’t feeling soon become viral hits due to them sitting on women’s playlists.
The ’Falling Back’ video shows Drake is in on the joke
The memeification of oneself is seemingly unavoidable in modern society. Things move so fast that things that were once trendy and cool quickly become old in a matter of weeks, if less sometimes. When you’ve been in the industry for over a decade like Drake has, the threat of becoming old news weighs on you heavy, and in recent years he’s certainly become somewhat of a meme on the internet (really, who hasn’t?) But in the music video for lead single ‘Falling Back’, where he humourously marries a grand total of 23 women, Drake proves he’s always in on the joke. The video also features NBA star and fellow meme victim Tristan Thompson telling the rapper “You only get married once”, a very topical reference to his recent infidelity scandals. Of course Drake knows what is said about him and of course he’s keeping up with the culture. It’s one he built over a decade ago, after all.
Drake has always had a soft spot for dance music
From his dabbles in More Life and Views to the recent efforts of Certified Lover Boy, Drake has peppered dance beats into his music wherever he can (also special shout out to 2010’s smash Find Your Love). While that again references his knack for making tracks for women, it also just shows how incredibly talented the rapper has always been. Not often are such beats incorporated into the hip hop world and with Honestly, Nevermind, Drake is blurring the lines with a full house music album with only one actual rap song. The dance tracks also seem to come seasonally, always dropping in time for American summer.
Muroki – ‘Introducing’
“It’s all good if you don’t get it”
Caught on camera at the album release party, Drake addresses the criticism in perhaps the perfect way to sum his entire career up. “It’s all good if you don’t get it yet. It’s all good. That’s what we do. We wait for you to catch up. We’re in here, though. We’re caught up already. On to the next. My goodness.” And by all accounts, he’s right. There’s a reason Drake is still at the top, and why he’s sustained such influence all these years. Since 2010 he’s been ahead of the curve, absorbing the culture around him and spitting it back out in bite sized pieces easy enough for us all to chew down. He’s adapted to streaming, he’s adapted to social media, and he carries with him a great amount of self-awareness that always ensures he’s three steps ahead. Honestly, Nevermind is another masterpiece in Drake’s museum, but he’s done waiting for us all to recognise that.