Drake is likely the most relevant and influential artist in music right now and he isn’t going away anytime soon. What makes Drake such a dynamic artist is the ability to elicit strong reaction whether you like him or not. He has grown exponentially as a brand the past few years and he has only improved in his ability to find methods for his name to grow. Some have criticized Drake for how sensitive he comes off in songs which is a far cry from how consumers expected hip hop artists to be in the distant past; however this openness and his own self-awareness has only grown his public image.
His entire persona has enabled him to tap into the consumer market more prominently than any artist before him. His status has given him celebrity access with essentially anyone he comes into contact with. This was especially evident in his ‘Nice For What’ video in which he was able to obtain guest appearances from Rashida Jones, Zoe Saldana, Letitia Wright, and Tiffany Haddish just to name a few. The song itself is an upbeat song using elements from Bounce with Bounce pioneer Big Freedia as a feature. Listening to the song itself leaves a positive impression; however, it’s the video and its well placed features that draw the viewers. It’s the type of song which has the type of features that send a message and will make everyone form an opinion on it. There is not anyone more aware of this than Drake.
He has learned to master mass media production in 2018 more remarkably than any artist ever has. This is clear in his “In My Feelings” music video. The song itself gained notoriety before the music video came out mainly due to social media influencer, Shiggy who started the #InMyFeelings/#Shiggy challenge with a spontaneous video he released on Instagram. It gained serious traction once Odell Beckham Jr. of the NY Giants participated in the challenge and it blew up from there. Thanks to how viral the challenge became, it went from a quality song to the number one song on the billboard hot 100.
The song was an organic success and became a hit without heavy promotion. Being the business man Drake is, he took advantage of its popularity and released the In My Feelings music video to promote the song. The popularity of the song resulted in promotion for the song rather than vice-versa. The video was shot in New Orleans and directed by Karena Evans, a rising director who also directed Drake’s “Nice For What” music video. The video gave a glimpse into New Orleans; however, that’s not what makes it special. Drake incorporated the #InMyFeelings challenge within the video by showing a compilation of the most popular videos from IG. He even had the creator of the challenge, Shiggy, in the video itself.
It’s another example of Drake being completely aware of pop culture and how to use it for his benefit. Drake has been referred to as an artist who always seems to hop on the latest wave. Supposedly taking advantage of these young artists for his own benefit to keep himself relevant; though, this works both ways.
From a young and up and coming artist perspective who is attempting to make a name for themselves there are mostly advantages. When the most famous artist in music appreciates your talent and wants to incorporate it. Entertainers such as Roy Woods, BlocBoy JB, and Shiggy likely do not mind the free pub that comes with the opportunity to collaborate with Drake. It offers them the opportunity to learn from an artist who is currently at the top of pop music today and it gives them a higher status as well. A few examples is Roy Woods signing to OVO; BlocBoy JB’s Look Alive peaked at number five on the charts; and Shiggy likely helped launch In My Feelings to number one on the charts and was given the opportunity to be in the official music video.
Drake has mastered popular culture more so than any artist before him. He has gained enough acclaim and support that even losses in rap beefs, shouts out to Pusha T, have not deterred his run. He is more popular than any artist today and his foundation is secure enough to the point that he is almost too big to fail. Drake may not have mastered music; however, there is no question he has mastered everything centered around it in a way no other artist has before him.