The New Jay Z: When a Drake becomes a butterfly

The New Jay Z: When a Drake becomes a butterfly
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Drake…Started from the bottom now we here.”

“I used to wanna be on Rocafella then I turned into Jay.”

Drake has said a lot of things in the last few months that have set the ~internet ablaze~ in the last few months, but this in particular is the first thing that has somewhat turned on him. Sure, there were people who had snide comments about Drake’s usages of memes in rap beef, but the man has been untouchable since “Back to Back” dropped, withstanding any criticisms that have been lobbed his way.

I mean, dude just almost sorta kinda dissed the President of the United States but the what’s getting looked at in a negative light is his claim to be the modern day Jay Z, obviously in majority by the older generation of rap fans.

The brag isn’t as heavy to those my age, because to those my age, the earliest Jay Z memories they have is him racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a Budweiser-sponsored music video. We’ve seen him create the go-to New York commercial song and sell a million copies of his album to Samsung to go platinum. Isn’t that what Drake aspires to be?

The Jay and Drake connection is a long, and complicated one, going all the way back to when Drake was being courted to Rocafella in his free agency days. There was the air of a mentor-mentee relationship, not unlike the one that Drake had with Lil Wayne. Back on “Fear,” a bonus track on the retail version of So Far Gone, Drake raps the line, “I didn’t cry when Pac died/but I probably will when Hov does,” and you can go back to “Light Up,” the 2010 collaboration between the two on Drake’s debut Thank Me Later, and hear Jay Z speak relatively prophetically:

“Drake, here’s how they gon’ come at you

With silly rap feuds, trying to distract you

In disguise, in the form of a favor”

They’ve traded their fair share of barbs over the years to go along with bars (ha, get it), and have still have maintained this cordial, respectful relationship, but it’s been clear that Drake’s goal from the get-go was to be the new Jay.

Now, today in 2016, I don’t think his claim of becoming Jay Z isn’t ridiculous, or even necessarily wrong. Drake’s held the same impact on culture since 2011 that Jay once levied. He’s the commercial face of rap, he’s the biggest name in rap, he’s got the ability to start discussions and arguments and conversations that few, if any, others have.

The flip side, of course, involves the actual music. Drake has been one of the most commercially successful artists of all time, but when you get into the real nitty-gritty of it, you can’t really claim any of his albums to be classic. Getting into the idea of classics when you’re talking music is as ambiguous as talking about GOATs in sports, but when you get into the discussion of people’s places in history, you get the liberty of analyzing everything and anything. You look at stats, you look at era and you look at titles.

And while Take Care and Nothing Was The Same have their own places in culture, and while every single song off If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late charted, you’d be hardpressed to call them classics in the genre. “Back to Back” being nominated for a Grammy is a testament to the impact of the song, but stack it up against “Takeover” and it loses a little bit of luster.

In fact, the same way that it could be said that Drake is pseudo-Jay, the Drake and Meek Mill beef is pseudo-Nas and Jay. This isn’t saying Meek Mill is the new Nas or anything like that, just that a huge chunk of what Nas took offense about Jay Z was his commercialism. I mean, you can honestly listen to “Ether” and reasonably associate a good chunk of the lyrics with modern day Drake. The memeification of Meek Mill at OVO Fest was at best an homage to Prodigy’s pictures at Summer Jam.

It’s not wrong to think that Drake is the new Jay Z, in fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s probably right. It’s just wrong to think that the former is greater than, or equal to, the greater, at this point in time. We used to think that Vince Carter was going to be the new Michael Jordan, and we were wrong, but we’ll always have the 2000 Dunk Contest and Summer Olympics. –fsunews.com

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