Ranking Each Song From Side A of Drake's 'Scorpion' Album: Critic's Take

Drake returned this Friday (June 29) to "give us the summary." The 6 God has finally delivered his highly anticipated Scorpion album, a project that features an A-side/B-side split, boasting a combined 25 tracks in 89 minutes between the two. 

Scorpion includes such previously released singles as the Hot 100-dominating "Nice For What" and "God's Plan," as well as the more recently shared "I'm Upset." Elsewhere, JAY-Z connects with Drizzy for the first time since "Pound Cake" back in 2013, Static Major and the late Michael Jackson also serve up assists on the B-side, and Ty Dolla $ign makes yet another appearance on a premiere album with his late-game cameo.

Drizzy shows a more self-deprecating side of himself on the LP's editor notes, where he pens the typical digs his detractors have used against him his entire career in all-caps. "I HATE WHEN DRAKE RAPS. DRAKE SINGS TOO MUCH. DRAKE IS A POP ARTIST," he humorously writes.

Scorpion season has officially begun. Below, Billboard attempts to rank each song on the set's more up-tempo A-side.

12. "I'm Upset"

The third officially billed single off of Scorpion, "I'm Upset" was shared just a day after Drizzy dropped his Pusha-T diss "Duppy Freestyle." The 6 God clarified on Instagram that the Oogie Mane-produced tune was unrelated to his ongoing feud with King Push at the time of its release. "I'm Upset" underperformed as far as its commercial charting success, compared to the previously released "Nice For What" and "God's Plan," barely debuting inside the Hot 100's top 20, where the prior two singles both bowed at No. 1. Drake would probably even admit the track was a huge miss when picking out the final single. 

Earlier this month (June 13), however, the track received the visual treatment, where Drizzy rounded up his former castmates on Degrassi for cameos throughout. The well-received video has accumulated over 25 million views in just two weeks.

11. "Can't Take a Joke"

Track No. 10's title fits the stereotype of something we'd come to expect from an emotional Drake, as the 6 God floats over the uptempo snare-filled beat from Modmaxx. The flow is one we've heard Drizzy implement in years past, but he now exudes the ability to take his craft to the next level by making the speed-rapping work to his advantage. 

He closes out his opening verse with more possible subliminal shots sent in Kanye West's direction. "N----s think they run the town/ 'Til we run 'em out of town/ And they gotta relocate/ Gotta dip from where they stay/ Everything will be okay/ Man, just stay up out my way," Drizzy rhymes -- in reference to how Yeezy leaves Calabasas, Calif. to record for weeks at time in locations such as Wyoming. 

10. "Survival"

Drake has made a habit out of setting the stage for what's to come with integral album openers -- just look to Take Care's "Over My Dead Body," Nothing Was the Same's "Tuscan Leather" or VIEWS' "Keep The Family Close" for confirmation. Scorpion lead-off track "Survival" is an unexpected beginning to a Drizzy project, as we hear Drake reflecting on some of the life-changing moments that have shaped his decorated career. 

When it comes to hip-hop, he truly believes he's in a league of his own. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions," he states. The Hot 100 staple then reminisces on persevering through previous feuds with Meek Mill, and the urban legend of getting slapped by Diddy at LIV Nightclub in Miami back in 2014 over "0-100/The Catch Up."

While it won't be the track most are bumping behind the wheel, it surely serves a purpose in helping creep into Drake's state of mind to figure out what's in store ahead.

9. "Elevate"

This celebratory record serves as the prelude into album standout cut "Emotionless." PARTYNEXTDOOR crafts an ominous sonic to open the track, striking fear into the hearts of listeners. About a minute in, Drizzy begins to lament about the various people in his life, and a willingness to keep pushing forward for his family, which is a sentiment older listeners can definitely identify with. Overall, the track seems to be a little lacking in potency, with just a lone verse from Drake following a catchy chorus.

8. "God's Plan"

"God's Plan" appeared alongside "Diplomatic Immunity" on the Scary Hours EP, which released back on Jan. 19. The earworm of a track notched Drake his fourth No. 1 in the U.S. as a lead artist when it premiered atop the Billboard Hot 100. The pop banger has spent 22 weeks on the chart and still remains in the top 10 at No. 8 as of June 30.

Originally, burgeoning Ohio rapper Trippie Redd was supposed to be featured on "God's Plan." The 19-year-old ultimately missed out on the opportunity to be introduced to the mainstream side of the music world. The anthem's coinciding visual finds Drake documenting his most philanthropic moments at the top of 2018 around the city of Miami. The video has eclipsed the 669 million view mark since its release back in February.

7. "Nonstop"

Memphis' Tay Keith lays down the sonic foundation featuring a hard-hitting 808-filled trap beat that we've gotten accustomed to coming out of the southwestern Tennessee staple. Track No. 2 on the A-side lets fans know Drake hasn't lost a step, and can "flip a switch" to accommodate any style of rapping. Fans of If You're Reading This It's Too Late are sure to love Drizzy's gritty flow, but don't expect it to return later in the album. 

The 6 God opens up his second verse making note of his shrewd business acumen when it comes to building the OVO empire. He shouts out his DJ, Future the Prince, who has been managing the business-end of Drake's career since 2013, as well as OVO founder Oliver Oliver El-Khatib, who actually crafted the "October's Very Own" phrase that has become synonymous with Drizzy. 

6. "Is There More"

Drake teases his imminent free agency as an artist, as he could be leaving Cash Money after Scorpion. It's possible the OVO rapper made this project a double album, which would be his ninth and tenth projects on Cash Money Records, in order to successfully fulfill his contractual obligations. "Yeah, soon as this album drop I'm out of the deal," he admits, while implementing a flow reminiscent of something we'd hear on Nothing Was the Same

The A-side closer is as strong as you're going to find from the 6 God, and the track even makes you think about taking a break just to process what had transpired over the course of the 12 tracks -- prior to embarking on another emotional rollercoaster over on the B-side of Scorpion.

5. "Mob Ties"

Drake implements an ad-lib-filled flow over production helmed by frequent collaborator, Boi-1da. Drizzy is no stranger to borrowing elements from his hip-hop compatriots with his flow, and here, he seems to be inspired by an upbeat style the younger generation has championed, thanks to the likes of Migos and Playboi Carti

The Toronto Raptors global ambassador draws a fascinating parallel here by comparing his hit-making way to leading the NBA in scoring, while also asking listeners to make note of his assists. In 2018 alone, Drake has hopped on records with burgeoning artists such as BlocBoy JB and Lil Baby for the biggest hits of their young careers. 

4. "Sandra's Rose"

Track No. 10 on the A-side serves as a tribute to Drake's mother, Sandy, who used to work at a florist during Drizzy's childhood. The OVO rapper teams up with one of the most prolific beat maestros in genre history in DJ Premier for a soulful production, which slows down Drake's pace as he addresses a plethora of topics throughout his pair of extended verses. The Toronto MC confidently jokes that he could make a classic album featuring ten tracks just like "Sandra's Rose."

Brash radio personality Charlamagne tha God also walks into the crosshairs of the 6 God, with a shot at Charlamagne's skin complexion. The two were thought to have been on good terms since the latter received a shout-out on "Back to Back," but here Drizzy quips, "Like Charlemagne, I see the light and see the darkest patches."

3. "8 Out of 10"

This is Drake at his most care-free, loosely rapping about whatever he pleases with ease. If there was going to be a track on Scorpion in keeping with the rapper's pattern of titling songs after a specific time in a certain location (a la If You're Reading This closer "6PM in New York"), this would definitely be the song to get that treatment. Scorpion finds Drake cleansing himself with intense self-reflection but in a way more authentic manner than when compared to 2016's VIEWS.

Aubrey wastes no time answering Kanye West, who subliminally dissed him on "No Mistakes," saying he was "too rich" to fight Drizzy. "Too rich for who? Y'all just got rich again/ Who grips the mic and likes to kill their friends?/ I never been the type to make amends," the 6 God answers.

On the opening verse, the former Degrassi star responds to Pusha-T, making sure to let everyone know he's not a deadbeat father to Adonis. "The only deadbeats is whatever beats I been rappin' to," Drake spits. He recognizes Adonis once again later in the track: "Kiss my son on the forehead then kiss your ass goodbye." The track closes out sampling an Instagram video of Plies brushing off some haters in his comments. 

2.. "Emotionless"

This Scorpion standout cut's title plays off of Mariah Carey's "Emotions," whose 12" club remix is sampled throughout the OVO 40- and No I.D.-co-produced tune. This is the first instance where Drake publicly recognizes his son, Adonis, who Pusha-T uncovered on his scorching "The Story of Adidon" diss track. "I wasn't hiding my kid from the world/ I was hiding the world from my kid," Drizzy remarks, explaining the reasoning behind remaining quiet since the birth of his first son in October. 

"Emotionless" is Drake at the peak of his powers, crafting a deeply felt banger that is sure to appease every demographic featured in his wide-ranging global fanbase.

1. "Talk Up" (feat. JAY-Z)

Hov previously appeared on a pair of Drake albums, when the pair of rap legends connected on "Light Up" off the OVO leader's debut effort Thank Me Later, as well as third LP Nothing Was The Same's "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2." This is the best collaboration to date from Drizzy and Jay. "Talk Up" is just a glimpse of the artistic greatness the world could potentially witness on a joint project from the pair of rap behemoths. 

JAY-Z turns back the clock for a vintage verse over classic southern production from Three 6 Mafia's DJ Paul. The Brooklyn native closes out the cameo by letting everyone know he won't be shaking hands with President Trump anytime soon, and voices his disgust with the streets following the senseless murder of XXXTentacion. "I got your President tweeting/ I won't even meet with him/ Y'all killed X and let Zimmerman live/ Streets is done," he raps.