Up until recently, Aubrey Drake Graham (or for those of you who aren’t real fans, Drake) has been my dream man. I’ve loved him ever since an ex rapped every word of ‘Girls Love Beyonce’ to me. My romantic standards were lower then, and I was dazzled.
Drake has always satisfied all my desires because he makes both my lizard brain and my human brain happy. My human brain knows that I should want a man who is capable of more emotion than a house plant, and Drake has always been a champion of the heartbroken and self indulgent. My lizard brain wants a man with broad shoulders who can pick me up with one hand and kill a gazelle with the other. I’m a simple woman, I don’t want much.
Drake has always existed in a kind of ideological and musical middle ground which arguably accounts for his astronomical success. His music is diverse and so is his fanbase. When I saw Drake in concert, the crowd was evenly split between men and women. He’s managed to create a brand of rap that feels inclusive to women, a brand which is increasingly becoming problematic and superficial.
Are some of his songs openly misogynistic? Absolutely. But most of Drake’s misogyny, like all men who claim to be ‘really nice guys’, is insidious. It also is a direct contradiction of the image that he has actively built for himself as a cuddly, emotional man who wants women to be empowered. ‘Nice For What’ is a banger, but it’s also ridiculous that a man who has the audacity to undermine Rihanna is releasing a song about female empowerment. He released that song because feminism is en vogue and he wants to make money.
Drake is a textbook example of a guy who breaks up with you, but still wants to be friends with your friends. Or a guy who is ‘in love with you’ but ‘doesn’t do commitment.’ Drake wants to have his cake, and everyone else’s cake, and eat it with his hands.
I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to list all the ways in which Drake is chauvinistic, but I’ve got some receipts that I think are worth looking at. He embarrassed Rihanna and made a huge moment in her life about him. He then cheated on her, then wrote songs about her, and weirdly wore socks with her face on them.
Four months ago, he released a song saying ‘I got the sauce and now shortie’s keep claiming preggo’ and last week, released an album which confirms that he does in fact have a son. He exposes women he’s slept with, often with very personal details, leading to them being harassed (‘the one that I needed was Kourtney from Hooter’s on P Street’). He thinks ‘only girls like Drake’ is an insult, as if young women aren’t responsible for the success of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
He calls women bitches and hoes and still wants to be the nice guy from around the corner who takes you for a romantic dinner on his terms and his terms alone.
Some of my favourite songs of all time are by Drake; if ‘Hotline Bling’ ever comes on and I don’t dance, assume I’ve been replaced by a convincing replica and get help. But Drake’s brand is dangerous, disingenuous and fundamentally sexist. If Drake is a nice guy, then all women can expect is nonstop disappointment.