“Scorpion” is the fifth studio album from Toronto rapper and singer, Drake. This is his first album since his 2016 release, “More Life,” and features 25 songs in a double-album format, with guests including JAY-Z, Ty Dolla $ign and the late Michael Jackson.
Drake is one of the biggest names in the music industry, and his projects like “Nothing Was The Same” and “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” are truly some of my favorite rap albums of the decade. That being said, Aubrey Graham has disappointed with an overly long “Views” album and a improved, but still lacking project with “More Life”. The 25-song tracklist had me worried this would again be overly stuffed, but I came in hopeful, especially knowing the singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” would be highlights.
Starting with what I just said, the first two singles for this album remain the best tracks here. On side A, “God’s Plan” continues to be a bop with incredible production, and Drake’s flow works wonders. The “bed and my momma” line is one of the bars of the year, and the post-chorus sticks in your head in all the best ways. “Nice For What” is even better, with an incredible Lauryn Hill feature, a punchy beat that makes your head nod, and an energetic Drake flow that shows truly some of the best he can do in a single track.
Drake works best on this album, not when he goes for lyricism, but when his flow and his energy is spiked. There are clear moments here that bring some strong moments of flow to show off Drake’s rap side, and an equal amount of times where he brings better vocals than he ever has. At 25 songs, “Scorpion” has a lot of ups and downs, but the ups often depend on Drake bringing some real energy and some genuinely impressive vocals.
The intro track, “Survival” is a great example of Drake’s strong rap game, as is “8 out of 10,” which handles the Pusha T beef in a smart way using clever word play, especially with Drake’s “good guy” line. Songs like these remind me of “If You’re Reading This” more than any other songs, as they bring intensity that was absolutely necessary to keep my attention.
The production on this album is very solid on the majority of the songs, with beats taking center stage on side B. “Summer Games” has the best beat on the album, as it is punchy, while still fitting with Drake’s silky-smooth vocals. The pickup in the beat is equally terrific, and this was easily the best R&B song put onto this record.
My favorite non-single came with the closer track, “March 14,” which is Drake’s ultimate song to his kid that Pusha forced him to talk about. Instead of taking more shots, Drake made a song that feels sincere, something that feels brutally honest and straight from the heart, and he does it with some of the best lyrics on the album.
Unfortunately, as much as I was hoping Drake would return to his top form and drop 25 heaters, “Scorpion” most certainly doesn’t do that, and it honestly wasn’t even close to getting there. This album is made up of mostly filler, mostly songs that I could forget about immediately after they are over, mostly songs that feel like Drake took minimal effort in bringing to the surface.
If they aren’t fillers, they are more often terrible songs than they are great ones, as there were quite a few tracks that brutally got on my nerves, whether it be by their sleep-inducing flow or their terrible lyrics. Drake can make great songs, his first two singles prove that, so it makes it that much more frustrating when he knowingly drops turds to stretch out this overly-stretched album just to get a few more listens.
One of the more painstaking tracks here was the third single, “I’m Upset,” which may have the most fitting title of 2018. I have rarely been as upset listening to a song as I was with this trash pile, which features a dull beat, an insultingly awful chorus, and verses that feel like they came from a Soundcloud of someone you went to high school with. This is the single Drake dropped after his insanely good “Duppy Freestyle,” and this song is so awful, I’m glad Pusha bodied him with the response.
Equally terrible on the R&B side is “Jaded,” a coma-inducing four minutes with a generic beat and the sleepiest of sleepy Drake vocals. The verses are generic as they come, as are most of the verses on the B side, and there is truly not one redeeming quality in this entire song.
The two sides of this double album both have a few highs, but struggle in different areas, making them both frustrating to listen to. I tended to enjoy the first side of the project more, but it could have simply been because it came first, because after 90 painful minutes of Drake, I’m not sure “Illmatic” could have cheered me up.
Side A has some fiery verses, yes, but Drake’s lyrics in some of these songs really take me out of enjoying the flow. “Emotionless” is the song people will lose their minds over because of the line about Drake “hiding the world from his kid,” but that line feels like nothing more than a cop out answer, and it did not impress me at all. Still, that line looks like a piece of art next to the following dumpster fire cringe bars.
“This is a Rollie, not a stopwatch, shit don’t ever stop.” – “Nonstop”
“I got a chance then my n***as got it too like it’s contagious,” – “Elevate”
The entire girl who went to Rome and posted it on Instagram verse of “Emotionless”
“Worms, I just opened a can of those” – “Sandra’s Rose”
“Too many Walt Disney characters, mouses and goofs” – “Is There More”
“She got peak like Montana” – “Peak”
“You’re soft like butter cups, Reese’s, Reese’s, don’t be ridiculous” – “Ratchet Happy Birthday”
Where a lot of the first half, as well as the second, suffered from terrible lyrics, the second half suffers from Drake sounding bored on his own songs. “Peak” has a fantastic beat to open up side B, but Drake does nothing with it to keep it going. “Ratchet Happy Birthday” also has a beat to get my interest, as it is very punchy and sugary, but the themes of the song and Drake’s lack of anything strong makes it falter. The same can be said with “Finesse,” “Final Fantasy” and nearly every song in the second half that I haven’t mentioned yet.
There are some strong features that offer a good mix-up, especially from Ty Dolla $ign in “After Dark” and Future in “Blue Tint,” but they don’t last long enough, and the features don’t come often enough to give me enough of a break from the monotony that is a 25-song Drake album.
Once again, I cannot say this enough, “Scorpion” is flat out boring, it is a flat out miserable experience to have to sit through front to back, and I dont give a rat’s ass how many songs you can pick from it, 25 is way too many. Albums are not meant to take a few from and put on your playlist, they are meant to be the best of what an artist has, and Drake has instead attempted to flood the scene with a monsoon of his most generic cuts, and it makes for a painful 90 minutes, time that would be better spent in a movie theater watching something actually entertaining. There are probably enough songs to make a Kanye-sized album, but as it stands, this is an embarrassment. It is an embarrassment to be where Drake is, at the top of the music world, and to drop an album that feels like 75 percent filler.
“Scorpion” lives on two great singles, a few other cuts with some energy and an overall strong focus on the production side, but there is just not enough here to come close to justifying this many songs. Cut the shit, Drake, just cut it, and make a 12-song album that actually works instead of putting your face on every Spotify playlist and thinking you are some sort of God who can drop a double album. Yeah, this thing will sell a ton, but so would 25 songs of Drake farting into a mic, so I don’t really care about that. “Scorpion” is a bad album, it’s an album that lives on being a boring mood piece with not enough going on, and “Scorpion” is an album I look forward to never listening to front-to-back ever again.
What did you think of “Scorpion”? Comment below with your thoughts.