When Drake announces anything — let alone a brand new album — the world practically stops.
After a couple subtle and not-so subtle hints over the past few months, Drake officially announced that he will be dropping his fifth studio album titled Scorpion in June of this year. Technically, the 6 God hasn’t released an “album” since 2016’s Views but luckily features, EPs and playlists like More Life and Scary Hours have kept his momentum full steam ahead.
With that said, what hasn’t Drake given fans since the release of Views? He has proven himself to be one of the most versatile artists in the game today, with an array of ballads, bars and riddims being executed at every turn. His arsenal of musical stylings wins over haters song after song, to the point where pretty much everyone can find a type of Drake they enjoy listening to. Having put out such a balance of quality and quantity consequently makes Scorpion a bit of a mystery for fans and critics alike.
However, Drake being the uber-competitive creative he is, he will surely try to out-do himself in attempts to please more of the masses with his ever evolving sound. Below are five things that fans want to see and/or hear from Drake’s Scorpion album.
Executive Production from 40
This wish is already a confirmed reality, according to both Drake and 40’s Instagrams — but an essential quality nonetheless. Drake and 40 have been crafting timeless projects since the days of So Far Gone, and since his sophomore release Take Care, 40 has been executive producer for all of Drake LPs. By today’s standards, “executive producer” is usually just a title for title’s sake — but 40 really digs in and curates the album with Drake.
They take the traditional rapper/producer formula and push it to new heights, by innovating both Drake’s sound and frankly, the entire sound of contemporary hip-hop and R&B. 40 is known for his lo-fi, underwater-sounding soundscapes, to which Drake gets off some of his most personal bars. But 40 also plays the role of master engineer — seamlessly polishing any sound from trap to tropical. Scorpion will bode best as a front-to-back listen with 40 at the helm of its sonics.
With 40 firmly in the co-pilot’s seat, the tracklist length can go one of two ways: Either it runs long like on Views or Take Care, or the duo trim the filler and shoot for an ordering similar to the 13-track Nothing Was the Same. The issue Drake can sometimes run into when putting out an album that runs more than 17-18 tracks is the inevitable lull stretches — even Drake, the almighty hit maker, can lose listener focus when trying to stretch himself too thin. His shorter projects have always been praised for their to-the-point execution. Scorpion would ideally fall within the 13-15 track range, with precisely no punches pulled. This way, Drake could get out plenty of classic music and still leave fans wanting more.
A Drake/The Weeknd Collaboration Track
The OVOXO story has been a series of peaks and valleys, but hopefully the two Canadian superstars were on the same page during the recording of Scorpion. The last we officially heard from the two together was on The Weeknd’s 2013 Kiss Land single “Live For” — nearly half a decade ago at this point — but the last we’ve seen the pair was on Drake’s illustrious OVO Fest stage, just this past summer. While Drake gave loose hints at a potential collaboration album in the works during The Weeknd’s guest appearance, a single collab track would definitely suffice for now.
The pair have made timeless music together since 2011, some jams making it to Drake’s albums and some appearing on The Weeknd’s but all of it standing out as extremely high quality Rap&B music. The Weeknd’s piercing vocals fused with Drake smooth raps have given us influential tracks like “Crew Love,” “The Ride” and “The Zone”. Both artists are arguably now in their primes of their artistic outputs, and intertwining those unique deliveries would only result in a massive collab. Whether it be a smash hit or dark album deep cut, reuniting OVOXO would be much appreciated on Scorpion.
Employing Young Toronto Talent
Toronto has become a hotbed for young emerging talent in hip-hop, and the world is taking note. Of course there is Drake’s OVO roster, complete with a formidable array of R&B artists (Majid Jordan, dvsn, PARTYNEXTDOOR) but even beyond the label there are a lot of artists making attention-grabbing music in the city. Drake has even performed alongside a few of these high energy rhyme-slingers, including Smoke Dawg and Pressa.
These youngsters on the come up would not only bring a jolt of energy to Scorpion, but would also create a important musical moment for Toronto. Obviously there have been some issues with Drake and fellow Toronto artists in the past (Tory Lanez, The Weeknd), but they have been since squashed, and Drake appears open to work with any and all from the city he so dearly claims. There doesn’t need to be a 10-minute posse cut with a dozen features on it, but sprinkling in some instrumentation from the likes of Murda Beatz, Boi-1da and T-Minus, mixed with some verses from people like Puffy L’s, Jimmy Prime and Ramriddlz, would go a long way towards making the set a Canadian classic.
What fans and critics panned Views for was its moments of redundancy. Drake is a phenomenal songwriter and his winning formula has proven to do just that; win. However, Drake is at a stage now where risks are welcomed more than warned. He has made gradual evolutionary steps over the past nine years with flows, singing and vocal pacing, but he can tend to fall back into a typical unexciting rap-sing-along that eats up precious time and space on his albums. There is no need to go full Yeezus with Scorpion, but deviating from his comfort zone would ultimately be appreciated for casual fans and those who have been rocking with him since the So Far Gone days.