When Drake first debuted at No. 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated May 23, 2009 with breakthrough hit “Best I Ever Had,” few could’ve guessed that it would mark the start of one of the successful careers the chart has ever seen. But a little over a decade and a handful of historic chart runs later, the artist born Aubrey Graham has again etched his name in the Billboard record books — as the artist with the most hits in the Hot 100’s 60-plus-year lifespan.
With the No. 89 debut in March 2020 of “Oprah’s Bank Account” (alongside Lil Yachty and DaBaby), Drake notched his 208th Hot 100 hit. That broke the tie he had held for the previous few months with Glee Cast, and gave him sole possession of the honor for the most Hot 100 hits ever. It’s a chart record prestigious enough that we here at Billboard decided to celebrate it by editorially ranking all of those Hot 100 hits — now 209 total, following the No. 1 debut of “Toosie Slide” in April — from worst to first.
Of course, with Drake’s chart ascent coinciding with the rise of streaming, it’s not like all 209 of these songs were “Drake hits,” at least in the old-fashioned, single-oriented sense. Many of these entries are album cuts that charted along with the rest of their parent sets — the tracklists of his two most recent efforts, 2017’s More Life and 2018’s Scorpion, account for a combined 47 of them on their own — while featured appearances that Drake lent to trusted collaborators like Rick Ross, DJ Khaled, Future and (of course) Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne over the years are equally numerous.
Yet despite the staggering number of entries Drake has notched on the Hot 100 over his chart run — an average of nearly 20 a year since his mid-2009 chart debut — the rapper’s entire catalog is hardly represented here. Missing of course is anything from pre-fame mixtapes Room For Improvement or Comeback Season, along with such early fan favorites as “Houstatlantavegas,” “Fear,” “Karaoke,” “Lord Knows,” “The Ride” and “Draft Day.” (Also worth noting that despite prominently featuring Aubrey, Travis Scott’s Hot 100-topping “SICKO MODE” does not technically list him on its official artist credit, nor does Young Money’s No. 2-peaking crew cut “BedRock” — thus neither is included here.)
Still, the great majority of the singer-rapper’s best-known work can be found here, spanning from his first pop breakthroughs to his diaristic deep cuts to his harder mixtape tracks to his meme-courting later smashes. Read on below, with a playlist of all 209 songs at the very bottom, and see how we rank an already unprecedented chart run — one that, by all indications, is still far from over.
209. “Charged Up” (Hot 100 Peak: No. 78, Date of Peak: 8/22/15)
Best remembered as the Meek Mill diss track that mostly just made Meek’s point for him, “Charged Up” claims it’s on 100% but sounds more like it’s already sliding into the red. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
208. “I Do It” (2 Chainz feat. Drake & Lil Wayne) (No. 94, 9/28/13)
A five-minute triple-team from B.O.A.T.S. II, “I Do It” mostly wastes its star trio with stale post-Lex Luger bombast (co-produced by Diplo, of all people) and no real hook to speak of — likely Wayne had already forgotten he’d ever been on this song by the time he gave one of his Funeral cuts the same name. — A.U.
207. “I’m Upset” (No. 7, 7/14/18)
Plays a bit better in the context of the whole album (and when it’s soundtracking a Degrassi reunion, of course), but when “I’m Upset” initially dropped as a single? Woof. It was the first serious sign that the Scorpion rollout would be… troubled, to say the least, days before the world even heard “The Story of Adidon.” — KYLE MCGOVERN
206. “Behind Barz” (No. 75, 9/28/19)
As if bringing U.K. crime drama Top Boy to Netflix in the States wasn’t enough, Drake also offered a bonus cut to the show’s official soundtrack set. If you guessed that he would primarily use it as a chance to try out his favorite U.K. slang with a quasi-cartoonish accent over a moody grime beat, you would be correct. — A.U.
205. “Still Here” (No. 40, 5/21/16)
One of the more forgettable jams littering the too-thick middle of Views, “Still Here” sounds uncommitted in both its menacing throb and resilient chorus, instead coming off as an unwelcome reminder that you still have ten tracks on Drake’s worst-reviewed album. — A.U.
204. “Hype” (No. 33, 5/21/16)
“Hype” actually notched the highest debut on the Hot 100 of any non-single from Views, though nowadays, it’s better known as the track sandwiched between fan-favorites “Feel No Ways” and “Weston Road Flows.” Drizzy himself bought into the “Hype,” declaring the album a classic upon release. — MICHAEL SAPONARA
203. “No Shopping” (French Montana feat. Drake) (No. 36, 8/20/16)
Your mileage may vary on French Montaña and Draké playing blowhard golf announcers on Spanish-language television in the “No Shopping” video, but it’s certainly more memorable than anything in the song itself, phoned in even by French Montana standards: “Sippin’ on drank, sippin’ on drank/ All about the moolah, all about the moolah.” — A.U.
202. “Preach” (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR) (No. 82, 3/7/15)
The rat-a-tat hi-hats come in spurts, but an otherwise simple production scheme yields plenty of room for Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR to soar. Unfortunately, the song never really takes flight, instead gliding as more of an interlude than anything else — which perhaps would’ve been more enticing had it not come directly before an actual interlude. — JOSH GLICKSMAN
201. “Still Got It” (Tyga feat. Drake) (No. 89, 10/29/11)
What started as a leak in 2010, “Still Got It,” inevitably became a buzzy single for T-Raww and Drizzy the following year. Settling into his role as Young Money’s prized 6th man, Tyga proves to be a love-drunk Casanova looking to reel back the love of his life. With Drake stapled on the hook, the sappy twosome scribble a fun but lightweight jam for hapless romantics around the globe. — CARL LAMARRE
200. “Fire and Desire” (No. 75, 5/21/16)
At the tail-end of the already overstuffed Views, Drake serves up one more sultry slow burn with “Fire & Desire,” but he’s just a bit light on the former to inspire the latter. Despite an uplifting Brandy sample and a lyrical confessional that has become his R&B strong suit, Drake meanders around a repetitive rhyme scheme that seems to lull him to sleep, evidenced by his third verse-capping line “Girl, I’m sleepy.” — BRYAN KRESS
199. “The One” (Mary J. Blige feat. Drake) (No. 63, 8/8/09)
Mary J. Blige’s staggering run as a reliable hitmaker started to finally run aground with 2009’s Stronger With Each Tear, which bet big on advance single “The One” — a song that squanders Queen Mary’s peerless voice with Auto-Tune (!!) and a blandly self-aggrandizing lyric — and came up short of the top 40. Drake brings solid brio to his verse, big-upping Rebirth-era Wayne for “rockin’ out like a White Stripe,” but this One ain’t it. — A.U.
198. “Since Way Back” (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR) (No. 70, 4/8/17)
A six-minute, two-part PND collab that stretches out the final leg of the More Life journey, “Since Way Back” crawls its way to the finish line, without even the beat switch halfway through really livening things up much. — A.U.
197. “No Stylist” (French Montana feat. Drake) (No. 47, 10/6/18)
Drake tends to overshadow artists on their own tracks, and he held nothing back with “No Stylist” — his sixth collaboration with French Montana. Yet French’s high-pitched rhymes aren’t enough to carry the song on his own. Enter Petty Drake, who takes over with that Kanye West burn: “Keepin’ it G, I told her, ‘Don’t wear no 350s ’round me.” — BIANCA GRACIE
196. “Peak” (No. 38, 7/14/18)
The lead-off track on Side B of Scorpion, “Peak” sets the tone for the back half’s more nocturnal vibe — though maybe a little too well, since the thing’s after-hours creep is so wound-down that you’re at real risk of falling asleep before things eventually pick up a little. — A.U.
195. “It’s Good” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake & Jadakiss) (No. 79, 9/17/11)
Good on Lil Wayne for giving The Alan Parsons Project 20-plus seconds of airspace to themselves on the most anticipated rap album of the early ’10s — but otherwise the proggy pomposity of “It’s Good” feels pretty empty, and Weezy’s alley-oop to “Drake Griffin” wouldn’t get more than a 6 from anyone besides Dwyane Wade. — A.U.
194. “Survival” (No. 17, 7/14/18)
The 6 God boastfully writes the table of contents of what’s to come with his Scorpion double-album opener. The brash introduction ends up getting lost in the shuffle, as Drake bears the scars he’s garnered in battle throughout his career. Whether that was going to war with Meek Mill or his scuffle with Diddy, Drake knows that what hasn’t killed him has made him stronger. — M.S.
193. “KMT” (No. 48, 4/8/17)
Be honest: As you read the title “KMT,” are you able to recall even a single detail about how the song sounds? Why would you? It’s one of a few anonymous tracks from More Life’s back half, and might as well be tagged as an interlude. A quick refresher, though: It’s the one where the Brit signs off, “Batman / Da-na-na-da-na.” — K.M.
192. “Won’t Be Late” (Swae Lee feat. Drake) (No. 75, 8/31/19)
A pleasant enough More Life leftover-sounding jam that could’ve at least been a solid post-“Sunflower” victory lap for Swae Lee, but instead kinda floats adrift to nowhere with a lazy refrain and a clapping beat that sounds like it was programmed on a 30-year-old Casio. — A.U.
191. “Two Birds, One Stone” (No. 73, 11/19/16)
The quasi-title track for More Life that wasn’t, “Two Birds” still feels like something of a mission statement for the album — down to its opening line being included in a Letter From the Editor that accompanied the album — but musically, sounds like Drake getting impatient for Kanye to clear “Say What’s Real” already. — A.U.
190. “March 14” (No. 57, 7/14/18)
Whether Drake closing his biggest (in size if not necessarily in stature) album with a tribute to a kid that he was still keeping secret months earlier reads as maturity or opportunism probably depends on your opinion of Drake to begin with. At the very least, it’s an undeniably graceful note to end on: “You got a good spirit/ We’ll talk more when you hear this.” — A.U.
189. “Signs” (No. 36, 7/15/17)
“Signs” was debuted at the Louis Vuitton show during Paris Fashion Week, which sounds about right: It’s solid runway-walking music, brisk and thumping and not overly obtrusive. Maybe a little better than you might remember, likely in large part because you haven’t thought about it at all since 2017. — A.U.
188. “Loving You No More” (Diddy – Dirty Money feat. Drake) (No. 91, 10/9/10)
This track from the 2010 Diddy-Dirty Money opus Last Train to Paris features a fresh-faced Drake in pure Thank Me Later mode — working his way up to superstar, still mastering hashtag rap. And no, you didn’t imagine that whisper of Auto-Tune in his verse. — JASON LIPSHUTZ
187. “Trust Issues” (No. 58, 8/17/19)
If the opener sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also the chorus for Drake’s DJ Khaled teamup “I’m On One” — a much better fit for its club-ready lyrics. As one of the promotional Take Care singles that missed the final cut, Drake can’t make up his mind between his sultry, R&B and flexing, rap star personas, ultimately resulting in a confusing blend that takes a few too many turns to arrive successfully at its destination. — J.G.
186. “Scholarships” (Drake & Future) (No. 69, 10/17/15)
With its relatively generic Metro Boomin beat and lazily delivered verses, “Scholarships” feels about as dashed-off as the rest of What a Time to Be Alive (which, to be fair, was written and recorded in its entirety in a total of six days). But its slowness almost works to its advantage — an unlikely banger, plodding through the crystal rain. — W.G.
185. “Omerta” (No. 35, 6/29/19)
Released to celebrate the 2019 NBA championship win by his beloved Toronto Raptors, “Omertà” catches Aubrey counting his millions and trying out a cadence reminiscent of the Notorious B.I.G. It’s all fine, but the truth is, we wouldn’t have been affected in the slightest if a code of silence kept Drake from sharing this one. — K.M.
184. “To the Max” (DJ Khaled feat. Drake) (No. 53, 6/24/17)
Can’t fault the beat here — a frenetic little footwork two-stepper, with house piano loving laid on top — but some crucial ingredient was missing here in turning “To the Max” into a pop smash to follow the radio mega-success of previous Khaled khollab “For Free.” (“A hook” would probably be the first and best guess.) And certainly no one needed Khaled shout-quoting Drake’s already overused “More chune for ya head top” at the end. — A.U.
183. “Sandra’s Rose” (No. 27, 7/14/18)
A 33-year-old Little Brother fan, Drake likely lurked the Okayplayer boards in the early 2000s to learn about rap history, download rare mp3s, and argue about things like who DJ Premier should produce an album for. Here, Drake sounds appropriately serious rapping over his first Primo beat: “N—as want a classic, that’s just ten of these” — the Okayplayer readership would agree. — ROSS SCARANO
182. “Own It” (No. 78, 10/12/13)
“Guess whose it is, guess whose it is?” Drake asks repeatedly over somnambulist synths in this interlude-styled (but regrettably not interlude-sized) groaner from Nothing Was the Same. Given that the previous cut on the LP liberally sampled Wu-Tang’s “It’s Yourz,” we’re guessing the question was rhetorical. — A.U.
181. “Odio” (Romeo Santos feat. Drake) (No. 45, 2/15/14)
Drake carries around an arsenal of alter-egos for whenever he wants to take a break from being the 6 God — and his most coveted (and most try-hard) one is “Champagne Papi.” Drake got deep in his Bachata bag when he paired up with Aventura alumn Romeo Santos on “Odio,” where he sang in Spanish for the first time. — B.G.
180. “R.I.C.O.” (Meek Mill feat. Drake) (No. 40, 8/15/15)
This song will be most remembered for Drake’s refusing to promote it on Twitter, and for kicking off a beef that would spawn both the excellent “Back to Back” and the not-so-excellent “Charged Up.” Meek actually responded to Drake’s jabs, too—people forget that. — WILL GOTTSEGEN
179. “Keep the Family Close” (No. 68, 5/21/16)
Notorious for his focus on razor-sharp album openers, Views‘ kickoff cut is probably the most forgettable within his discography. “Keep the Family Close” welcomes listeners to snowy Toronto, as the sulking 6 God opens the doors to his world of reflection, chalking up his coldhearted ways to severe trust issues with those in his life. — M.S.
178. “Now & Forever” (No. 95, 3/7/15)
If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Drake were produced by Purity Ring, “Now & Forever” is probably your best guess — Drizzy attesting to his free-bird ways over moaning darkwave synths and disembodied vocal samples. A worthwhile sonic experiment, though the results don’t really justify the near-five-minute length. — A.U.
177. “Summer Sixteen” (No. 6, 2/20/16)
A Views appetizer, “Summer Sixteen” arrived in January 2016, with chilly tough talk for Meek Mill… and Tory Lanez. The two-parter sounds like a John Carpenter movie, in particular the second beat, which makes Drake’s desire for revenge as bloodthirsty as possible. But this is still Drake, so the stakes are more about the size of one’s pool than anything mortal. — R.S.
176. “Mr. Wrong” (Mary J. Blige feat. Drake) (No. 87, 2/25/12)
A better fit for an Aubrey/Mary teamup than the unconvincing “The One,” but the “bad boys ain’t no good, good boys ain’t no fun” ballad still doesn’t really find much chemistry between the generation-separated stars. Good time to instead shout out the Drake-starring remix to Alicia Keys’ “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready),” which actually sounds like a great lost Thank Me Later cut, thanks in large part to gorgeous production from Drake’s artistic soulmate Noah “40” Shebib. — A.U.
175. “Live From the Gutter” (Drake & Future) (No. 74, 10/17/15)
A genre of Drake joke is his lop-sided artistic relationship with Future — specifically how silly Drake’s concerns are compared to his Atlanta peer’s. That is, Future’s horrifyingly blunt admission of “I see hell everywhere” vs. Drake’s prattle about pillow talk and how he’s a dog (yeah, yeah). Ironically enough, pillow talk is allegedly how Pusha got the Adinon ammo! — R.S.
174. “Flip the Switch” (Quavo feat. Drake) (No. 48, 10/27/18)
QUAVO HUNCHO was supposed to turn the Migos rapper into a solo star on Drake’s level, but not even an assist from the man himself at his most red-hot could get Quavo to the top 40. “Flip the Switch” is jaunty enough, but it hardly sounds like the event release it should have been, and Drake kinda feels like he’s giving his ATL buddy his leftovers — even the phrase “Flip the Switch” was already used in a much bigger recent Drake song. — A.U.
173. “Faithful” (feat. Pimp C & dvsn) (No. 72, 5/21/16)
A long-professed H-Town devotee, Drake resuscitating a verse from the late local legend Pimp C of UGK for this mid-Views cut. It’s the most memorable thing about “Faithful,” though OVO duo dvsn also do a solid job of seeing the track out. — A.U.
172. “Skepta Interlude” (No. 76, 4/8/17)
More Life proved that Drake will always make space for grime on his playlist, and he showed his Boy Better Know “labelmate” Skepta some love with his own name-checked solo track. Though the two had collaborated in the past, this was the look that brought the unlikely partnership of BBK and OVO from the ink to wax. — B.K.
171. “Grammys” (feat. Future) (No. 38, 5/21/16)
Pity that this Drake/Future collaboration from Views is not a more incisive look at the Grammy Awards’ lack of recognition for hip-hop artistry over its history (Future has won a lone Grammy, while Drake, a defining artist of the decade, is not much better with four wins). A wasted opportunity, albeit one with a pretty strong Future hook. — J. Lipshutz
170. “Used To” (feat Lil Wayne) (No. 84, 3/7/15)
“I’ma always end up as a man in the end” — more slow-paced chest-puffing from If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, Drake’s toughest-talking album. An increasingly rare guest appearance from mentor Lil Wayne is welcome, as is a chirping Wundaugrl beat, but by the time it shows up 2/3 of the way through Reading, you could use a change of speed. — A.U.
169. “Gonnorhea” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake) (No. 17, 10/16/10)
It’s touching when Drake raps with admiration for Wayne (see: “Believe Me”), though he only gets a few lines off to that effect on the rotely scatalogical “Gonorrhea.” His flow is straight out of Thank Me Later, which was released a few months prior — listen to how he draws out that “I am” at the top. Not much else to see here though. — R.S.
168. “The Language” (No. 51, 10/12/13)
Part of the slowest bend of Nothing Was the Same, “The Language” is at least buoyed slightly by its floating synth skank, as well as Drake’s first classic bed-related lyric. The song’s repeat Stunna references result in Birdman himself making a brief appearance at song’s end — truly rap’s Candyman. — A.U.
167. “Diplomatic Immunity” (No. 7, 2/3/18)
With weeping strings and lack of an obvious hook, it was unsurprising that Scary Hours B-side “Diplomatic Immunity” didn’t have the same pop impact as its flip, “God’s Plan” — though Drake’s commercial clout was as such upon its release that it still debuted top 10 anyway. Thanks for the BBMAs shout, Drizzy, but we still gotta ask you about the particulars of your “I listen to heavy metal for meditation” claim sometime. — A.U.
166. “No Frauds” (Nicki Minaj, Drake & Lil Wayne) (No. 14, 4/1/17)
It’s usually a celebratory moment when this Young Money trio comes together, but “No Frauds” was something of an unfortunate anomaly. Nicki Minaj was in the middle of a nasty feud with Remy Ma, and unleashed this response in an attempt to dismantle Ma’s lethal “Shether” diss track. But instead, she fumbled — and inadvertently dragged Drake and Weezy down with her. — B.G.
165. “Finesse” (No. 42, 7/14/18)
Strange choice of track for Drake to leave in his multiple requests for the audio to be turned up: “Finesse” is among the least-hype tracks in Drizzy’s catalog, basically an extended moan about not wanting to go to Fashion Week over a half-time beat. Still, the audibly ellipsised “It… takes…. some… finesse” hook is a little bit of a brain-sticker. — A.U.
164. “Sneakin'” (feat. 21 Savage) (No. 28, 11/19/16)
This 21 Savage collaboration works better than it ought to. Released as a one-off during the lead-up to More Life, it didn’t make the tape’s final tracklist, but distinguished itself with a paranoiac refrain and a foreboding, horror-film instrumental from London on da Track, who was more or less unstoppable that year. — W.G.
163. “Bigger > You” (2 Chainz, Drake & Quavo) (No. 53, 6/30/18)
A decently fun team-up between the two ATLiens and their oft-visiting out-of-town buddy, with Drake thumbing his nose at those who doubted him as a double-threat: “Remember shorty told me, ‘The rap’s good, but the singing’s off.'” Most of the creativity was saved for the song’s video, though, which star kiddy versions of the trio (and producer Murda Beatz) in a “Sky’s the Limit”-worthy middle school clip. — A.U.
162. “Loyal” (PARTYNEXTDOOR feat. Drake) (No. 63, 12/7/19)
We’ve seen PARTYNEXTDOOR activate the patois before to great effect, and after the longest hiatus of his career he returned in late 2019 with “Loyal,” a tune indebted to his Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage. Of course Drake is game, crooning “you nuh need fi raise war with my friends” alongside him. A chill song. — R.S.
161. “I’m the Plug” (Drake & Future) (No. 76, 10/17/15)
Not one of the finest-grade WATTBA jams, but one that still brims with the infectious self-satisfaction that makes the set so exhilarating. “Really, I’m the plug,” Future insists — kinda sounding like someone trying to give themselves their own nickname, but in Nayvadius’ case we’re likely to take his word for it anyway. — A.U.
160. “No Long Talk” (feat. Giggs) (No. 40, 4/8/17)
Another Giggs feature on More Life where the U.K. collaborator is given the song’s biggest look. Nothing as memorable here as the “BATMAN!” closing to “KMT,” but the track itself is a little more efficient at a tight 2:30, and the lead in to the roller-rink disco of the ensuing “Passionfruit” is a blindsider. — A.U.
159. “No Complaints” (Metro Boomin feat. Offset & Drake) (No. 71, 7/15/17)
After Metro Boomin helped propel What a Time to Be Alive to warp speed, it was natural Drake would return the favor by appearing on the superproducer’s first album as a lead artist. “No Complaints” doesn’t quite maximize either of their talents, but the title sums up fans’ likely reaction to a perfectly acceptable album cut. And hey, another Billboard reference! — A.U.
158. “Elevate” (No. 14, 7/14/18)
Couldn’t accuse Drake of frontloading Scorpion: “Elevate,” its eerie third track, is fine but far from an obvious highlight, suffocated by wailing synths and tensed up by its ticking beat. Does function to clear the runway well for the much more resounding 1-2 of “Emotionless” and “God’s Plan” to come afterwards, though. — A.U.
157. “9” (No. 45, 5/21/16)
The logic of “9” is simple, if corny: Drake put his hometown “the 6” on the map and every release flips the city on its head. And yet on the second track of Views, Drake still appears to be finding his footing. Its clever turn-of-phrase may have cost us the full title of the once-confirmed Views From the 6, but “9” marks yet another instantly memorable 6 GOD catchphrase to add to his collection. — B.K.
156. “Glow” (feat. Kanye West) (No. 54, 4/8/17)
Buried in the back half of More Life, this Drizzy/Yeezy team-up sports some personal tidbits about the trappings of fame from the superstars’ respective points of view. But it sounds half-baked, as if they came up with a hook and waved off the need for anything else musically interesting — that is, until Earth, Wind & Fire slides in for an unexpectedly blissful (and too-short) outro. — J. Lipshutz
155. “Can’t Take a Joke” (No. 18, 7/14/18)
Attempting to move past being on the receiving end of an array of embarrassing memes and jokes thanks to Pusha T’s scathing “The Story of Adidon,” Drizzy attempts to flip the humor on his opposition. This is classic passive-aggressive Drake, as he admits to his “comment section killing him” and blasts his detractors for being sensitive within seconds of each other. — M.S.
154. “Final Fantasy” (No. 56, 7/14/18)
About as carnal as we’ve yet heard Drake, and he basically admits from the jump that we’re in uncharted territory: “I never really talk about dick that I want to give you/ Or places I want to get to.” The sound of Drake imitating the sound of “p—y like waves hitting” isn’t going to have fans clamoring for a whole X-rated Aubrey LP, but “I hope the apocalypse is the only thing that doesn’t come now” hits a little differently for lovers this month, no doubt. — A.U.
153. “Views” (No. 86, 5/21/16)
Drake has long approached trusting others from a reserved angle — but the rugged, distant Views takes such skepticism to career-high levels, highlighted best in the album’s closer and title track. “Need y’all to know that I never needed none of y’all n—as/ F–k being all buddy buddy with the opposition,” he laments in two lines not so subtly aimed at Kanye West and JAY-Z. Drizzy is seldom concise on the 20-track Views, but he certainly doesn’t mince words here. — J.G.
152. “Fall For Your Type” (Jamie Foxx feat. Drake) (No. 50, 2/19/11)
The OG reference track for this Jamie Foxx collab is a gem. Foxx is an Oscar winner but can’t sell a line like “Can I save you from you” like So Far Gone-era Drake could. Still, the studio version retains Drake’s rapped verse, one of his finest — if you’re into the special mixture of romantic, petty and insecure he did so well back then. — R.S.
151. “Yes Indeed” (Lil Baby & Drake) (No. 6, 6/2/18)
Important historically, both as Lil Baby’s breakout chart hit and as Exhibit B of the kingmaking potential of a 2018 Drake cosign (Exhibit A to come in about 70 songs). Otherwise fairly inessential, with its primary hooks coming via a sample that sounds like a distant memory of “Mask Off” and the lead’s uninspired “waah, waah, waah, b–ch I’m Lil’ Baby” catchphrasing. — A.U.
150. “Back on Road” (Gucci Mane & Drake) (No. 81, 8/13/16)
Upon his release from prison, Guwop and Drake joined forces for his comeback record “Back on Road.” Designated to hook duties, Drake lobs Gucci a punchy refrain while the ATL star tacks on two verses to dropkick his imitators, rapping: “Now that Gucci’s home, it’s over for you Gucci clones.” Though “Back on Road” was a modest attempt, Drizzy and Guwop would rebound with a more successful collab later that year. — C.L.
149. “4 My Town (Play Ball)” (Birdman feat. Drake & Lil Wayne) (No. 90, 12/12/09)
Always fun to have Drake on the chorus, channeling his inner Roy Halladay as he chants in sixteenth-note lower register, “Take yourself a picture when I’m standing at the mound/ And I swear it’s going down, I’m just repping for my town.” Not a particular classic besides that, but as Weezy himself would say on an earlier, better single from the same Birdman album, they were gonna be all right if they put Drake on every hook. — A.U.
148. “Can’t Have Everything” (No. 82, 4/8/17)
When More Life-era Drake isn’t globetrotting in his best sunglasses, he’s talking trash with his chest out. “Can’t Have Everything” is a solid example of the latter, with Drizzy rattling off a series of not-so-subliminals in reference to his rivals, while a low, ambient rumble fills the atmosphere. Like the rest of Life, it’s about the vibe. — K.M.
147. “Hate Sleeping Alone” (No. 67, 12/3/11)
Drake may love his bed more than nearly anyone else in his life, but at least he’s not averse to sharing it. “Hate Sleeping Alone” is a Take Care bonus cut understandably lost to history — not even available on the Spotify deluxe version of the album — but at as a confessional it feels lightly revelatory, Drake admitting his late-night pleas aren’t always carnal in nature: “Half the time we don’t end up f–king, I don’t ask her for nothing… I just hate sleeping alone.” — A.U.
146. “Girls Need Love” (Summer Walker X Drake) (No. 37, 3/16/19)
Another Drake feature where the signal boost widely outstrips the actual musical contributions, as Summer Walker’s ode to unapologetic after-hours craving didn’t really need him to add much besides his audience. Can’t conceptually fault the idea of getting the man on the other side of many such hotline blings on the track though, and his pause while crooning “you just need some… d–k with no complications” is iconically Aubrey. — A.U.
145. “Say Something” (Timbaland feat. Drake) (No. 23, 3/27/10)
Shock Value II‘s own title implied the unlikeliness of the sequel living up to its predecessor — Timbaland’s 2007 lead-artist comeback was pretty surprising, but by 2010 we all saw him coming. Unsurprisingly, “Say Something” smacks of diminishing returns: a solid Timbo beat and Drizzy hook, but overshadowed by myriad others both had going in the late-’00s — and by the end of the ’10s, only the third-biggest hit of the decade with that title. — A.U.
144. “Gyalchester” (No. 29, 4/8/17)
Definitely doesn’t benefit from a close reading. The Boy’s not saying much on “Gyalchester” — he’s really just stringing together passing thoughts about his likes (“Hermès link, ice-blue mink”) and dislikes (naps, hearing clicks on the iPhone). Have to admit, though, when that music-box beat first chimes in, we’re ready to take a knee, even in all-white. — K.M.
143. “Digital Dash” (Drake & Future) (No. 62, 10/17/15)
The opener to What a Time to Be Alive is a quality table-setter — exciting, indulgent, and as gleaming as its diamond-encrusted cover — without doing much to require life outside of the album. Appropriately for a set that bears more his thumbprint than his co-lead, Future’s voice is the first you hear, though Drake gets in some early shots: “I’m Harlem Shaking through the pressure/ I might put Diddy on my next s–t.” — A.U.
142. “Ratchet Happy Birthday” (No. 51, 7/14/18)
As love-it-or-hate-it as Peak Drake gets, with an eye-rolling title, a goofy plink-plonk piano melody and Drake sprawling over the line of self-parody with his “It’s your f–kin’ birthdayyyyy” croons. Not exactly much to make Stevie Wonder sweat, but a regular recipient of “You know what song on Scorpion I kinda ended up loving?” divulgences between Drake fans. — A.U.
141. “We’ll Be Fine” (feat. Birdman) (No. 89, 12/3/11)
After your first album makes you hip-hop’s hottest act, how do you approach round two? Flex, duh. Drizzy flaunts his new standing on this Take Care cut (“Never thoughts of suicide, I’m too alive”), rhyming about two luxury life status symbols– cash and women, and Birdman makes a cameo to gas the kid up. Not the pinnacle of Drake’s self-aggrandizing cuts, but to be fair, this was just step one of an unprecedented conquest. — TREVOR ANDERSON
140. “Blue Tint” (No. 30, 7/14/18)
Another team-up from Drake and Future, albeit a minor one. “Blue Tint” isn’t even technically double-billed — Future’s uncredited, and he only pops up for a quick refrain and to mutter some backing vocals. The key contributor here is producer Supah Mario, whose blend of guitar samples, piano, and kick percussion demands that Drake keep his sing-songy flow nimble. That maybe-swipe at Trump (“President doin’ us in”?) remains a clunker, though. — K.M.
139. “4422” (feat. Sampha) (No. 50, 4/8/17)
Though he was first elevated to a wider platform as the quivering featured vocalist on Drake’s 2013 Nothing Was the Same deep-cut “Too Much,” U.K. artist Sampha ascends to solo status on this More Life standout. “4422” once again calls on his billowy soul-stirring vocals, this time to imbibe meaning on a mysterious number while giving the thematically scatter-shot playlist a healthy injection of raw emotion. — B.K.
138. “Lose You” (No. 64, 4/8/17)
Though 2017’s More Life’s hookier singles “Fake Love” and “Passionfruit” were fan favorites, it was Drake’s lyrical verve that remained unshaken after his feud with Meek Mill. On “Lose You,” the Toronto polymath scripts three icy verses directed at his critics, knitting together incisive quotables like, “Winning is problematic/ People love you more when you working towards something not when you have it.” — C.L.
137. “Right Hand” (No. 58, 10/17/15)
After Meek Mill rattled the 6 God’s cages with ghostwriting accusations in 2015, Drake did what he does best: drop heat. In July of that year, Drake released a trio of songs — and though the booming “Right Hand” got lost in the shuffle, the Bay-Area-inspired track showed the jovial side of Drake amid his lyrical skirmish. — C.L.
136. “Unusual” (Trey Songz feat. Drake) (No. 68, 7/23/11)
Few third installments match their predecessors and, yes, “Unusual” follows the trend. Trey and Drake revisit familiar ground but with a weaker result: Songz croons a generic chorus about offering “more than the usual” (and we ain’t talking diner orders), while Drake’s fine verse could slide into a dozen other tracks. The song still played well on early-’10s radio, but the magic was drying up on the pair’s third collab in as many years. There’s yet to be a fourth. — T.A.
135. “How About Now” (No. 60, 8/17/19)
A 2014 leak that popped up on the later Care Package comp, and basically as close as you could get to the core sound of the set: a slow-creeping, Jodeci-sampling anti-jam, with Drake shaming an ex for not showing proper appreciation for driving her to the bar exam (?) and gloating “I’m up right now, and you suck right now.” Not exactly “Since U Been Gone,” but catnip for petty-prone Drake fans — all of us, basically. — A.U.
134. “100” (The Game feat. Drake) (No. 82, 10/31/15)
“100” basically stapled the rapper born Jayceon Taylor onto a readymade Aubrey hit, down to the moaning 40-style soul sample and one of the Drizziest choruses imaginable: “Y’all better not come to the studio with that fake s–t/ Y’all better not come to my funeral with that fake s–t.” He sounds like he’s having fun, anyway, and you can hear Game grinning as he plans where he’s gonna put the inevitable platinum plaque. — A.U.
133. “Nothings Into Somethings” (No. 61, 4/8/17)
Sometimes Drake can be a bit needy, even after the relationship is over. On “Nothings Into Somethings,” he’s shamelessly desperate as he lays out grievances with his ex that include a lack of relationship status updates, a private, prepared statement about her nuptials or at the very least an invitation to the wedding. Sure, the lyrics veer toward Drake’s more overbearing side, yet his vulnerable melodies never fail to strike a nerve. — B.K.
132. “Diced Pineapples” (Rick Ross feat. Wale & Drake) (No. 71, 12/22/12)
Shows what a heater both Rick Ross and Drake were on in 2012 that they could call a track “Diced Pineapples” and let Wale lead off with a beatless intro in loverman mode (“The better my effort, the wetter your treasure”), and not immediately send the thing plummeting to the bottom of the ocean. A breezy Miami-afternoon grove certainly helps, as does a typically irresistible Drake hook: “Call me crazy, s–t, at least you’re callin’.” — A.U.
131. “Digital Girl” (Jamie Foxx feat. Drake, Kanye West & The-Dream) (No. 92, 8/22/09)
The title suggests that this one is gonna be a laugher — and indeed, Drake bars like “Wii can work it out, no Nintendo” and “I remember Amy, she used to AIM me” have aged about as brilliantly as expected. But c’mon, a peak Dream/Tricky Stewart groove still is to be taken granted in precisely zero circumstances, and the song’s lithe sashay is sturdy enough to support an entire mountain of bad tech hashtag puns. — A.U.
130. “Jaded” (No. 32, 7/14/18)
One of the better mostly-atmosphere jams on Scorpion‘s second half, billowed by its thick synth fuzz and aided immeasurably (as always) by uncredited Ty Dolla $ign vocals. “You had potential, I could’ve shaped it” — patronizing and self-aggrandizing, sure, though given Drake’s 2018 strike rate, also pretty inarguable. — A.U.
129. “Never Recover” (Lil Baby & Gunna feat. Drake) (No. 15, 10/20/18)
After making waves with 2018’s Top 10 hit “Yes Indeed,” Lil Baby and Drake tried to recreate that spark once more — and brought Gunna along for the ride. “Never Recover” is the grittier, more devilish team-up out of the two, with Drake going full gangster over menacing production, courtesy of frequent recent collaborator Tay Keith. — B.G.
128. “30 For 30 Freestyle” (No. 88, 10/10/15)
The What a Time to Be Alive closer is a clear album highlight, thanks in large part to its lithe, luxurious masterpiece of a beat. No radio hooks or punchy one-liners needed here; in its snaking, half-spoken cadences, Meek Mill subliminals and ostentatious scallop references, “30 For 30 Freestyle” capitalizes on Drake’s most self-indulgent tendencies to glorious effect.. — W.G.
127. “Come and See Me” (PARTYNEXTDOOR feat. Drake) (No. 55, 12/13/16)
Known for obscuring his voice, PND is bracingly clear on “Come and See Me,” a plaintive R&B ballad produced entirely by 40. It’s about the breaking point in a relationship where one person is unhappy with the previously casual arrangement; they can’t get on the same page — resentment builds. Drake is his best self when he sings, “I don’t even know what things are looking like inside of your place, or how it’s decorated.” — R.S.
126. “Change Locations” (Drake & Future) (No. 82, 10/17/15)
Not the most memorable track on WATTBA, but certainly opening with the set’s signature couplet: “Sixth naked b–ches, no exaggeration/ We bought all the bottles, had to change location.” The mind boggled at the implications, even before a time when simply being able to going out solo to one location felt decadent. — A.U.
125. “Is There More” (No. 36, 7/14/18)
Scorpion‘s Side A finale has the uneasy free-associativeness of a classic Drake closer, with usual overthinking concerns like “Is there more to life than digits and bankin’ accounts?/ Is there more to life than sayin’ I figured it out?” and dispatches-from-the-throne like “My peers are a talented group/ But even if you take all their statistics and carried the two… there’s still really nothin’ they could do.” Hurt by ending with a wildly unnecessary “More Than a Woman” interpolation, but that suffocated beat is pretty unnerving. — A.U.
124. “U With Me?” (No. 44, 5/21/16)
Buoyed by an opening DMX sample, “U With Me?” is the prototypical Drake cut chock full of Instagram captions and temptations to message ex-romantic partners. But don’t sleep on Drizzy reaching all the way into his bag in the third verse, climbing up the vocal register and singing “A lot of n—as cut the check so they could take this flow,” in a give-me-my-respect tone that serves as a slammed fist on the table. — J.G.
123. “Why You Always Hatin?” (YG feat. Drake & Kamaiyah) (No. 62, 9/10/16)
A thick West Coast-via-DJ Mustard bounce from producer CT Beats soundtracks the second teamup between “Who Do You Love” co-stars Drake and YG, sounding like it must’ve earned song-of-the-summer honors for some people somewhere. Neither star’s verse is tremendous, though, allowing the track to be stolen by Bay Area upcomer Kamaiyah, braying the titular question in infectious sing-speak. — A.U.
122. “Emotionless” (No. 8, 7/14/18)
Like a music nerd putting a classic song’s remix on a shared Spotify playlist to prove they really know their s–t, Drake reaches for the 12″ club version of Mariah Carey’s “Emotions” to help propel this early Scorpion cut. Mariah’s peerless backing exhortations automatically elevate everything happening in front of it, though you can’t help but wish Drake’s bars used the lift for lyrical concerns a little more buoyant than Instagram-shaming. Regardless, Mimi still appreciated the shoutout. — A.U.
121. “Free Smoke” (No. 18, 4/18/17)
In another bout of Drake v. the world, the champion opens More Life with a warning: “Watch how you speak on my name.” While the first half recaps his journey with detailed references (“Eatin’ Applebee’s and Outback / Southwest, no first class / Hilton rooms, gotta double up,”), the jump to his present detractors packs a little less punch, as his jabs at Tory Lanez, Meek Mill, and (maybe?) Jay-Z miss the knockout blow. — T.A.
120. “Both” (Gucci Mane feat. Drake) (No. 41, 1/7/17)
The music came pouring out of Guwop upon his 2016 return from prison, with The Return of East Atlanta Santa marking the second LP (to go with two collaborative EPs and a mixtape) he released in the year’s second half. The set’s biggest hit was the radio-ready “Both,” blessed with a Drake hook that condenses nearly all of his lyrical preoccupations and predilections into one couplet: “I don’t usually do this ‘less I’m drunk or I’m high/ But I’m both right now, and I need you in my life.” — A.U.
119. “8 Out of 10” (No. 21, 7/14/18)
“I don’t like to talk when there’s nothing left to say.” Ironic then that the exuberant “8 Out of 10” is most memorable for its fake endings — Drake sounding like he’s about to sit back and let the beat rock before interjecting “Hold on, hold on… BUT I!…” If you feel like getting huffy over the contradiction, though, Aubrey’s got a Plies meme ready in response for that. — A.U.
118. “Gold Roses” (Rick Ross feat. Drake) (No. 39, 8/10/19)
The second half of a home-and-home, post-championship collab between longtime friends Drizzy and Rozay in 2019, with less immediately memorable but slower-burning results. Actually, though Drake’s on the other side of the “feat.” on this one, he gets not only the hook but the first and most impactful verse: “Paid the cost to be the boss/ Wasn’t even my most expensive purchase.” — A.U.
117. “Jorja Interlude” (No. 49, 4/8/17)
Give 40 an R&B vocal and let Drake rap his ass off — that’s the recipe for some of their best music. “Tryna stay light on my toes/Just ran a light in the Rolls” is an immediately engaging opening gambit, and his tough talk works: “You tell your n—a you got ’em on anything/Question is, do they believe you?” It’s the sort of thing Drake likely asks himself late at night. — R.S.
116. “Oprah’s Bank Account” (Lil Yachty feat. DaBaby & Drake) (No. 89, 3/20/20)
Drake’s historic 208th Hot 100 hit will likely mostly be remembered as the answer to a trivia question, but there’s joys to be had here, even beyond the insta-classic video: The giddy Yachty chorus, Drake’s revisionist boast about his Coachella makeout with Madonna (happy almost fifth anniversary!), and of course, the stomping piano riff that sounds like it’s from a Supertramp hit just beyond memory. Points off for Aubrey’s always-too-soon “hide in the cave like Osama” bit, though. — A.U.
115. “Plastic Bag” (Drake & Future) (No. 78, 10/17/15)
A surprisingly tender, waltzing (?) number splitting up Drake and Future’s 11-track hedonism fest — though not exactly a break from the debauchery, just a more emotional tribute: “Go ahead and pick up all this cash/ You danced all night, girl, you deserve it.” By What a Time to Be Alive standards, it’s basically Boyz II Men. — A.U.
114. “No New Friends” (SFTB Remix) (DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne) (No. 37, 7/6/13)
DJ “Another one!” Khaled recruits an all-star cast for this “f—k fame” tribute to each star’s respective “day-one” friends who cared about ’em before the millions started rolling in. Drake croons the can’t-be-bothered chorus and tosses out a nasty verse, but Wayne steals the song with “They line throw dirt on my name/ Well, that’s why they still dig me.” — JOE LYNCH
113. “Round of Applause” (Waka Flocka Flame feat. Drake) (No. 86, 12/31/11)
Either Waka Flocka Flame’s last great strip club anthem or Drake’s first, with all the appropriate booty-clapping and fan-cheering sound effects you could ask for. The chorus understandably overshadows the rest, but Drake makes the most of his guest verse: “Oh no, there I go, magic tricking on your ass/ Throwing every president except for Nixon on your ass.” — A.U.
112. “Money in the Grave” (feat. Rick Ross) (No. 7, 6/29/19)
“I mean where, the f–k, should I, really even start?” You can’t get more Drake than this smooth pump-up track, released to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ first NBA championship win in June 2019. The lyrics aren’t Drake’s sharpest (“I got two phones, one need a charge/ Yeah, they twins, I could tell they ass apart”), but it’s got a catchy chorus about keeping your bag, with a boastful verse from the ever-iced-out Rick Ross himself. — TATIANA CIRISANO
111. “Miss Me” (feat. Lil Wayne) (No. 15, 6/19/10)
Though Drake and Lil Wayne have more than a handful of collaborations together, their 2010 link-up on “Miss Me” may be the most meaningful. With an embattled Wayne set to hit Rikers for his 2009 gun charges, “Young Money’s Jerry Sloan” chefs up a show-stealing verse before waving the peace-sign: “D–n, I’ll go be gone till November/ But f–k it, I ain’t trippin’, I know Drizzy gon’ kill ’em.” As fate would have it, Weezy was indeed released from prison Nov. 2010. — C.L.
110. “Right Here” (Justin Bieber feat. Drake) (No. 95, 7/7/12)
One thing Drake doesn’t get enough credit for: being extremely picky with crossover-bait features alongside top 40 superstars, the offers of which were no doubt more than plentiful — a rare exception being this chirping, mostly winning pop&B jam alongside countryman Justin Bieber, still in his PG days. You can tell how long ago 2012 was by the fact that this wasn’t pulled as a single. Also by the scratching. — A.U.
109. “That’s How You Feel” (No. 37, 7/14/18)
Considering Scorpion’s feature-film length, “That’s How You Feel” always comes as a bit of relief, clocking in under three minutes. Doesn’t hurt, either, that Drake cruises over the hazy beat, and never sounds more comfortable than when he’s nursing a grudge and (again) chastising Instagram addicts. If that all seems rote, a special appearance by Nicki Minaj — courtesy a sample of a 2014 stage performance — livens the mood. It’s not a proper guest verse, but we’ll take it. — K.M.
108. “Sacrifices” (feat. 2 Chainz & Young Thug) (No. 36, 4/8/17)
More Life’s loose playlist format created the potential for a host of unstoppable hit-maker pairings, yet one of its more star-studded bills occupies an understated and reflective space that completely defies expectations for its three leads. On “Sacrifices,” the braggadocious name-dropping and flashy extravagance is humbled by its framing in the MCs’ respective struggles — best exhibited by Thug’s show-stopping finisher, in which every line is followed by an explainer, to make sure we not only catch the wordplay, but get the story right too. — B.K.
107. “Love Me” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake & Future) (No. 9, 3/23/13)
“Love Me” is one of those songs that you end up subconsciously knowing every word of — yet never understanding why. That’s the power of Weezy, who — despite hsi overwhelmingly misogynistic lyrics here — knows how to suck you in with romantic, Auto-Tuned croons. Meanwhile, Drake tag-teaming the explicit hook with Future gave a glimpse of the undeniable chemistry we’d witness just two years later with What a Time to Be Alive. — B.G.
106. “I Invented Sex” (Trey Songz feat. Drake) (No. 42, 1/2/10)
In the tradition of “Fiesta” and “One Call Away,” “Sex” adds a worthy entry to the playful R&B-rap combo canon. The central metaphor, however cheesy, works undeniably well — Songz’s sex is so good that you’ll swear he invented it. It’s mostly the singer’s showcase, but Drake swoops in with only his brand of big boasts disguised as a chivalrous concern (“Caught up on your ex still? I can get you past it”). — T.A.
105. “Days in the East” (No. 95, 8/17/19)
Not like many of the loosies found on Care Package really crank up the BPM, but “Days in the East” is a particularly lurching crawl, with the drums practically dropping out altogether as the beat reverses on itself midway through. It ends up transfixing, as its arid, windswept production makes it sound like the East in discussion is actually the Far East — with Drake wandering through the desert, grasping at a mirage of late-night connection. — A.U.
104. “She Will” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake) (No. 3, 9/3/11)
The No. 3 chart peak maybe oversells the impact of this Carter IV single, which debuted in the top five but saw its momentum mostly recede from there. Still, it feels massive, with cinematic strings that make it sound like a strip club interlude in a Bond flick, and two of the biggest rappers in the world at the time not necessarily at the top of their game, but at the peak of their imperial arrogance. They sound absolutely bulletproof, proclaiming themselves the “realest n—as in the f–king game right now” like they’re handing out business cards. — A.U.
103. “Only” (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown) (No. 12, 12/27/14)
Nicki Minaj brought out Drake and Lil Wayne — with Chris Brown on chorus duty — for the starry 2014 Pinkprint single “Only,” which peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100 following the BDSM-leaning video’s release. Over the plinking, spooky beat, Drizzy expresses his fandom for the song’s lead in no uncertain terms: “Yeah, I never f–ked Nicki ’cause she got a man/ But when that’s over, then I’m first in line.” Thirsty much? — CHRISTINE WERTHMAN
102. “6 Man” (No. 97, 3/7/15)
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late marked the full-force arrival of “tough guy” Drake, and no song better typifies that aesthetic turn than the propulsive, Lou Williams-tributing “6 Man” — a consummate flex, or the audio equivalent of an Instagram bicep curl. “Fieri, I’m in the kitchen, I’m a magician,” croons Drake, his cyclical, rise-and-fall flow slotting perfectly into 40’s sleek instrumental. Typically, there’s no irony that comparison; only respect. — W.G.
101. “Diamonds Dancing” (Drake & Future) (No. 53, 10/17/15)
A hidden gem from What a Time to Be Alive, no pun intended. Drake’s melodic rhymes combined with Future’s falsetto flexing encapsulates how they both dominated rap in 2015. A catchy use of alliteration on the hook is bound to have the sentence stuck in your head after just one listen, while the five-minute track goes on well past the point of good taste, thanks to Drizzy’s desolate-sounding outro. Less Drake melancholy, more flossy Drake bars and “Diamonds Dancing” would’ve matched the mainstream appeal of “Jumpman.” — M.S.
100. “After Dark” (feat. Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign) (No. 41, 7/14/18)
“After Dark” would be alluring enough if only for its slow-and-low R&B slither and eminently welcome Ty Dolla $ign guest verse, but the song’s two-word falsetto’d hook — courtesy of the late, great Static Major, a longtime lodestar for Drake thanks to his work with Aaliyah, Ginuwine and others — makes it something close to special. The Al Wood quiet storm radio ID that sees the song out is not to be used lightly, but earned here. — A.U.
99. “Talk Up” (feat. Jay-Z) (No. 20, 7/14/18)
The newest look for Drake to be found on Scorpion, a blood-chilling DJ Paul production that sounds nearly as violent and chaotic as a proper Three 6 Mafia classic. Drake elevates his energy level appropriately, but the real eye-widening bars come from the Jiggaman, whose verse peaks with the suitably uncomfortable cultural indictment “Y’all killed X, let Zimmerman live/ Psssh, streets is done.” — A.U.
98. “Make Me Proud” (feat. Nicki Minaj) (No. 9, 11/5/11)
This bubbly team-up salutes the Drake-ified version of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl — one who “studies by the pool” and “only eats salad” — with the most wholesome chorus of all: “I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you.” But it’s Nicki’s own slick turn at the mic that elevates the track from a pining confessional to a declaration of female badassery, rapping about her Malibu mansions, business ventures and how she “ain’t got time to talk, just hi and bye.” — T.C.
97. “Life Is Good” (Future feat. Drake) (No. 2, 1/25/20)
A two-part winner, with Drake’s portentous intro about being too turnt up to do his taxes — tell it to the CRA, Aubrey — giving way to Future’s actually over-amped ravings about going “tremendo for new fettuccine.” Both parts are fun, and Future’s spoken-word interstitial gets smiles for miles, but the lack of real coherence, symmetry or any real consistency between the two parts keeps it from being a “Sicko Mode”-level odyssey. — A.U.
96. “Come Thru” (No. 87, 10/12/13)
There are certain line deliveries in rap that get stuck in your head, where the sound is more important than the content. Drake’s sprightly “watch me” at the beginning of this NWTS bonus cut is one such moment. And then, after the schlocky music-as-drugs metaphor-laden second verse, 40 does his thing, and the song goes slow motion. “You deserve rounds tonight,” Drake sings over a pulsing sample of his own voice, his most dramatic sex track since “Shut It Down.” — R.S.
95. “6 God” (No. 83, 3/7/15)
Released a few months before If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and later serving as that project’s sneering early peak, “6 God” captures Drake at his most braggadocious and structurally ambitious: there is no chorus here, just the sound of Drake elongating his syllables into an arrogant whine, and it somehow works. If you haven’t been at a crowded party when the beat drops out and Drake cries, “You was poppin’ back when Usher wore a U-chaaaaain,” have you ever partied, really? — J. Lipshutz
94. “Aston Martin Music” (Rick Ross feat. Drake & Chrisette Michele) (No. 30, 1/1/11)
“Aston Martin Music,” like much of Teflon Don-era Rick Ross, is lobster and champagne, beachside massages and Olympic-size infinity pools. The instrumental is typically lavish, and the bars peppered with exotic red bottoms and VVS’s. Drake’s contribution comes in the form of a wistful post-hook—a nostalgic antidote to Ross’ trademark hedonism. The track is necessarily in conversation with his own “Paris Morton Music,” which also uses his refrain from the Rozay single — but “Aston Martin Music,” with all its over-the-top telegraphed cheese, feels definitive. — W.G.
93. “Over” (No. 14, 5/5/10)
The lead single from Thank Me Later, much-anticipated proper debut LP, sees Drake promptly stepping into the role of superstardom. He relishes every second of it, too: the intro is flashier, the name-checks are bigger, the bottles (on him) are more expensive. It’s a colossal bat flip from a player coming off a dominant rookie season — letting you know, like it or not, he’s going to be knocking it out of the park for years to come. — J.G.
92. “9 AM in Dallas” (No. 57, 7/3/10)
When there’s a time and place in the title of a Drake record, you know he’s got a few things to get off his chest. Just days before dropping his debut album, the 6 God let everyone know greatness was on the horizon with this soaring kick-off to his decorated AM/PM series. Unfortunately, what was intended to be Thank Me Later’s opener couldn’t make the cut due to timing issues, as the more self-reflective “Fireworks” ended up setting the tone for his first official full-length. — M.S.
91. “Don’t Matter to Me” (feat. Michael Jackson) (No. 9, 7/14/18)
“Featuring Michael Jackson.” Those three words are both an incredible flex and a serious liability, for obvious reasons. Jackson’s voice — lifted from an unreleased collaboration with Paul Anka — is just one texture among several here. It beams in briefly for the pre-chorus and chorus, sounding at once spectral and crystal clear, and nicely complements the song’s shadowy dynamics. Can’t blame anyone for pressing the “Skip” button; still, this pseudo-duet is more potent than it ought to be. — K.M.
90. “Redemption” (No. 61, 5/21/16)
A grower from Views‘ first side, “Redemption” gets overwhelmed a little by the album’s general bloat, but over time, the understated quasi-ballad reveals itself to be one of Drake’s stealthiest deep cuts. The subtly deployed backing vocals from Darhyl Camper Jr. and inverted Ray J samples all go a long way, and “I gave your nickname to someone else” is one of Aubrey’s greatest lines of indelible cruelty. — A.U.
89. “Mine” (Beyoncé feat. Drake) (No. 60, 1/11/14)
“Mine,” one of the more subdued songs on the world-stopping Beyoncé, is a pre-Lemonade insight to the icon’s personal frustrations that’s anchored by the fluidity of alt-R&B melodies and Afrobeats-inspired percussion. While she balances then-newfound motherhood and her marital bond, Drake struggles to smooth out his debut appearance on a King Bey record — until the outro, that is. His urgency plays an integral role in the track’s tender masculine/feminine balance. — B.G.
88. “Childs Play” (No. 49, 5/21/16)
Thank this airy Views non-single for one of Drake’s most meme-worthy lyrics: “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake?” Elsewhere over the minimal beat, Drizzy spills out melodic verses about hiding the keys to his Bugatti and his “checkered” past, which he likens to — naturally — a Louis Vuitton bag. Bonus points for the cheeky music video, where an angry girlfriend played by Tyra Banks smushes a slice of cheesecake in Drake’s face. (“She didn’t even call you Drake. She called you Aubrey!”) — T.C.
87. “10 Bands” (No. 58, 3/7/15)
Drake was more tough-guy rapper than slick singer on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, but on “10 Bands,” he added another dimension to his persona: recluse. Whether hiding out in his safe house in Calabasas or in Toronto, he’s “been in the crib with the phones off,” working on his next moves, while also leaving time to count his cash along to an eerily sparse Boi-1da beat. And with his mind on his money, he also doesn’t neglect his sponsors: “Yeah, shout goes out to Nike, checks all over me/I need a FuelBand just to see how long the run has been.” It’s all about that synergy. — C.W.
86. “Used to This” (Future feat. Drake) (No. 14, 11/26/16)
After a strong run with their Billboard 200 chart-topping album What a Time to Be Alive in 2015, Future and Drake tag-teamed once more for the piano-laden “Used To.” Though the Atlanta powerhouse takes charge on the opening verse and hook, Drake zips ahead before the finish line with a sticky sing-song verse about his career highlights and wealthy lifestyle. — C.L.
85. “Pop Style” (feat. The Throne) (No. 16, 4/23/16)
“Pop Style” is slang for showing off in Jamaica, but it’s also a sly wink to the fact that it was released alongside the relatively bubblegum single “One Dance.” But the first on-wax team-up of Drake with Jay-Z and Kanye West (i.e. The Throne) is anything but sticky sweet; instead, it’s an ominous, lonely meditation on what happens when turning your “birthday into a lifestyle” starts to feel like a chore. — J. Lynch
84. “Toosie Slide” (No. 1, 4/17/20)
Tough to gauge where a song that seems destined for months of omnipresence — as much as any song can be omnipresent in an essentially shut-down society — stands in an artist’s catalog after just a week and a half. Still, while “Toosie Slide” seems slight in its construction (and thirsty in its promotion), there’s the same warmth-on-a-chilly night core to the melody and production that dots most of Drake’s best — as well as the kind of hooks that make a lifetime’s worth of weddings and bar mitzvahs flash before your eyes — that has us optimistic that the song might age better than many would expect. — A.U.
83. “Amen” (Meek Mill feat. Drake) (No. 57, 8/25/12)
Before their infamous 2015 feud and reconciliation years later, Meek Mill and Drake joined forces for their first collaboration way back in 2012 on the thankful “Amen,” which also featured uncredited vocals from R&B star Jeremih. Meek’s Dreams and Nightmares lead single showed that a changing of the guard was imminent in hip-hop, and only added steam to the building narrative over how the power of a Drake feature could go a long way in bringing mainstream appeal to rising talents. — M.S.
82. “Blessings” (Big Sean feat. Drake) (No. 28, 4/25/15)
The “Blessings” continued to pour in for Drake. Sean called on Drizzy to bolster Dark Sky Paradise’s simultaneously foreboding and helpful final single prior to its 2015 release. The original version also featured a verse from Kanye West, who ultimately stepped aside to let his G.O.O.D. music signee and current frenemy grace centerstage, as the 6 God takes full advantage by carrying the grateful “Blessings” on his back in Ye’s absence. — M.S.
81. “With You” (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR) (No. 47, 5/21/16)
With its shifting, breezy beat and ascending vocals from fellow Canadian PARTYNEXTDOOR, “With You” captures that heart-in-your-throat feeling — a fitting sound for its ambiguous lyrics, where Drake sings about “breaking you off” while professing “my love’s locked down and you cuffing it” within the same line. But the feeling is lighter than Drake’s typical heartbreak fare, serving as a much-needed breath of fresh air midway through Views. — T.C.
80. “Walk It Talk It” (Migos feat. Drake) (No. 10, 4/14/18)
A shimmering, ice-cold OG Parker and Deco beat propels the best single to feature Drake as the Fourth Migo since he first jumped on the “Versace” remix. Appropriately, Aubrey’s verse is as sentiment-free as the spitting drums underneath him, predicting “The first date she gon’ let me f–k ‘coz we grown” of a new relationship and debunking his foes’ palatial claims via Google Maps research. A great single whose Soul Train video made it a near-classic. — A.U.
79. “Portland” (feat. Quavo & Travis Scott) (No. 9, 4/18/17)
Drake’s contribution hip-hop’s Year of the Flute was this bleating Murda Beatz/Cubeatz co-production from More Life, in which he hosts fellow stars Travis Scott (calling himself and Drizzy “like Kid ‘n’ Play”) and Quavo (proclaiming “Never let these n—as ride your wave”). Latter is slightly ironic given Drake’s tendencies to surf somewhat indiscriminately on many such tidal peaks, but songs like “Portland” show why Drake had a reasonable claim to simply being the entire ocean in the late-’10s. — A.U.
78. “Look Alive” (BlocBoy JB feat. Drake) (No. 5, 3/3/18)
Controversy forever surrounds his motives, but Drake has long played benefactor to emerging talent. A 2018 co-sign of BlocBoy JB produced “Look Alive,” featuring Drizzy’s hardest rhymes since 2015’s “Back to Back.” The best bar, “I’ve been gone since, like, July, n—as actin’ like I died” – reminds all hip-hop’s other players that a mere eight-month absence leaves a gaping hole at the genre’s core. But, generous soul that he (arguably) is, the 6 God soon blessed us with Scorpion to ride out the rest of the year. — T.A.
77. “Mob Ties” (No. 13, 7/14/18)
There’s much to be made about the muscle behind the two competing sides of the Pusha T-Drake feud, but there’s no doubt that Drake is locked in with targets-acquired on “Mob Ties.” A perfectly textured, bone-chilling beat allows Drake to dig into the specifics of his beef, delivering bars with such disdain that you can visualize OVO kingpin Aubrey reading the unsavory headlines of 2018 and orchestrating a proper retort. Maybe the “I got ties, I got ties” ad-libs don’t ring quite as true, but the message is delivered regardless: Drake will make for a formidable opponent if you cross him. — B.K.
76. “For Free” (DJ Khaled feat. Drake) (No. 13, 8/20/16)
Even on a bouncy, Akinyele-sampling, Too $hort-quoting freak track, Drake insists on some propriety. “You the only one I know can fit it all in her…” — perhaps knowing Mom is listening, he lets the line go unfinished. It’s the perfect moment to shout along to on the dancefloor and smile at the silly censorship. He wasn’t so coy just a bar or two ago, when he was talking about “p—y on agua.” Just saying, Degrassi would’ve gone there. — R.S.
75. “Where Ya At” (Future feat. Drake) (No. 28, 10/31/15)
Drake was the only guest invited to drop in on Future’s DS2, and he proved himself worthy of his invitation on “Where Ya At.” In the song, Future comes at fair-weather friends who abandoned him during hard times, and Drake does the same. “Where your ass was at when we recorded in the bathroom/ Where your ass was at? I take attendance like a classroom.” The pairing worked so well that the duo linked again for an entire album just months later. — C.W.
74. “All Me” (feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean) (No. 20, 10/12/13)
The final track on the deluxe edition of Drake’s Nothing Was the Same taps a then-omnipresent 2 Chainz and scene-stealing 2 Chainz — as well as a spooky sample of a disembodied voice — for a subdued-yet-firm statement about self-made success without selling out. Even at four and a half minutes, the irresistible trap anthem goes by too quickly, demanding repeat listens – which helped propel it into the Hot 100’s top 20. — J. Lynch
73. “I’m Goin In” (feat. Lil Wayne & Young Jeezy) (No. 40, 10/3/09)
Listening back to 2009’s “I’m Going In” is sure to draw a chuckle, thanks to Drake’s brash ghost-written rhymes of “blowing purple clouds” and how he’s never “met a good cop”; nowadays Drizzy’s most jarring lyrics might have him admitting to popping half of a Xanax or paying his taxes late. Even with a burgeoning Drake still trying to find his footing inside rap’s pantheon, he proved on the track that he could hang alongside a pair of the south’s hip-hop heavyweights in Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. — M.S.
72. “Going Bad” (Meek Mill feat. Drake) (No. 6, 12/15/18)
“Going Bad” will go down in history as the Drake-Meek Mill reconciliation song following their high-profile feuding, but this goes way harder than one would expect from a burying-the-hatchet track — thanks in part to an animated Wheezy beat, but also to the two MCs sounding ravenous side-by-side. Kudos to Drake for the breathless chorus, but Meek wins the track by generously name-checking “Back to Back,” the diss track Drizzy used against him. — J. Lipshutz
71. “Up All Night” (feat. Nicki Minaj) (No. 49, 7/3/10)
You don’t mess with Nicki Minaj when she’s hungry for the throne. Drake may have been putting on for his team on Thank Me Later highlight “Up All Night,” but his Young Money labelmate snatched the mic with her monumental guest verse. “If Drizzy say get her, imma get her,” Minaj begins — and that she does, going fully rabid as she pierces haters with taunts and cocky one-liners: “I look like ‘yes’ and you look like ‘NO’!” — B.G.
70. “Dreams Money Can Buy” (No. 68, 8/17/19)
Though Drake thrives as a crooning lothario in the mainstream world, he can quickly turn the dial and morph into a bloodthirsty MC when necessary. On the Jai Paul-sampling “Dreams,” Drizzy ruminates on his riches, playboy demeanor, and ways he can savagely rip through the competition (“Can’t tell you how much I love when n—as think they got it/ And I love the fact that line made ’em think about it”). His flexes plateau when he shifts his attention to his childhood heroes on the song’s last verse, spitting, “My favorite rappers either lost it or they ain’t alive.” — C.L.
69. “Get It Together” (feat. Jorja Smith & Black Coffee) (No. 45, 4/8/17)
Here’s proof that Drake doesn’t always need the spotlight. He lets singer Jorja Smith shine on this beaut, along with DJ/producer Black Coffee, whose own song, “Superman,” provides the soothing instrumental. Drake simply drops in to cop — ever so slightly — to being the problem in a relationship. Burna Boy being uncredited and relegated to the outro sours the generous spirit a little, but the music’s so breezy you can practically feel the wind on your skin. — K.M.
68. “No Lie” (2 Chainz feat. Drake) (No. 24, 9/8/12)
2012 was the second coming of Tity Boi, whose debut solo album as 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story, dropped on Def Jam in August of that year. The album was a mostly forgettable, bloated, guest-heavy affair — but then there’s “No Lie,” a gleaming radio single that revels in the corny punchlines (“All I get is cheese, like I’m takin’ pictures”) of its lead artist. Its commercial appeal is owed largely to the presence of Drake, who contributes both a high-energy hook and a pretty misogynistic guest verse. That the song works in spite of the latter is a testament to this duo’s effortless chemistry. — W.G.
67. “Madiba Riddim” (No. 51, 4/8/17)
The escapist peak of the most transportive stretch on Drake’s globe-tripping More Life, “Madiba Riddim” lays down an absolutely sublime afrobeats groove over a beat of surprisingly thumping insistence. The rapper’s unapologetic adopted phrasing and accent should get tougher to swallow with every distracting “I seen…” insistence, but that thump just jackhammers any resistance, until your brain shuts off and your body starts doing dances you didn’t know existed. — A.U.
66. “Forever” (feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem) (No. 8, 10/3/09)
“Forever” serves as Drake’s initiation into rap’s elite fraternity, another stepping stone in his meteoric ascent. Kanye, Eminem and Lil Wayne welcome Drizzy to stardom on the triumphant posse cut that Jay-Z deemed to be “the best of the decade,” and for which Yeezy spent two full days re-writing his verse to keep up with the competition. With “Forever” powering LeBron James’ More Than a Game documentary soundtrack, it’s fascinating to see the pair still dominating their respective sports 10 years later. — M.S.
65. “Weston Road Flows” (No. 54, 5/21/16)
A certain kind of rap song for a certain kind of rap fan. To match Drake’s nostalgic mood as he (once again) recounts his origin story, 40 and French beatsmith Stwo weave a breathtaking track out of Mary J. Blige’s “Mary’s Joint.” (Drizzy himself might say it’s “sewed together,” and then pause to admire his own handiwork.) It’s a throwback for sure — one that’s well-executed, and a rare moment on Views when Drake’s able to look back and laugh. — K.M.
64. “No Guidance” (Chris Brown feat. Drake) (No. 5, 10/5/19)
Somehow, the very first one-on-one Breezy x Drizzy collab arrived in 2019, though some delay traces to a feud over (who else?) Rihanna. It was worth the wait, with the pair effortlessly trading parts as they dish a flurry of compliments over a mellow, dreamy R&B beat. Sorry to those wanting more fireworks when these titans met, but “Guidance” highlights the versatility and allure that has enshrined the duo as titans in the R&B/hip-hop game for many years – and given the track’s historic radio dominance, likely still more to come. — T.A.
63. “The Motion” (No. 61, 8/17/19)
Years before it resurfaced on 2019’s Care Package, “The Motion” was originally released in the summer of 2013, during what was arguably Drake’s creative apex. And it fits nicely among other highlights from the Nothing Was the Same days, with its squelchy instrumentation and deep-blue color palette — as well as the presence of Sampha, who sings backup and serves as co-producer alongside 40. The song’s long-time admirers knew it deserved better than NWTS-bonus-track status — despite apparently cribbing a line from Showtime’s Californication. — K.M.
62. “Blem” (No. 38, 4/8/17)
On “Blem,” Drake is buzzed off whiskey and weed, and the real talk is flowing freely — along with the Jamaican Patois. He’d love to take his girl someplace tropical “and get you gold, no spray tans,” but can no longer deal with her passa. Savvy listeners know Drake can’t possibly be drama-free either, but the steamy dancehall hooks flow so freely, the obvious solution is to kiss and make up. — CHRIS PAYNE
61. “Right Above It” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake) (No. 6, 9/4/10)
The bombastic horns at the onset of “Right Above It” could be heard on every sports team’s pre-game locker room playlist, and served as the life of the party on college campuses across the country in the early ’10s. Even while behind bars on gun charges, Wayne proved that he still had the rap game in a chokehold, as Drake went toe-to-toe with his mentor. The Young Money duo continued to make a habit of bringing the best out of each other, with Wayne vowing that he would competitively “decapitate” Drizzy on any record. — M.S.
60. “Ice Melts” (feat. Young Thug) (No. 62, 4/8/17)
“Ice Melts” is about right for the effect the song has as the penultimate track on More Life, a much-appreciated return to the sunny Island breeziness of the set’s first half after a long run of chilly deep cuts. Both Drake and his esteemed guest sound like they’re grateful to be back partying at the beach, Drake invoking his inner Elvis Presley to demand “I still need some satisfaction/ A little less talk and a little more action” as Young Thug gets so hammered his slurred cries of “Jeffrey!” sound more like he’s shouting for Jerry Garcia at a Dead concert. — A.U.
59. “Fireworks” (feat. Alicia Keys) (No. 71, 7/3/10)
Drake began his first official album of the ’10s like he knew he was going to be one of the decade’s defining albums artist — of course he did. “Fireworks” starts with, well, what else, as Aubrey launches into lyrics to frame his debut LP as his difficult second album: “Money just changed everything/ I wonder how life without it would go.” By the chorus, though, he’s ready to claim his destiny: “Today it begins/ I’ve missed them before, but won’t miss them again.” And as Alicia and the rest of us now know, he wouldn’t. — A.U.
58. “Big Rings” (Drake & Future) (No. 52, 10/17/15)
Metro Boomin lays a bed of rumbling bass, icy electro plinks and triumphal trap to accompany Drake and Future’s ode to ensuring their teams are as well-taken care of as they are. When Drake emphatically raps, “I got a really big team/ And they need some really big rings/ they need some really nice things,” it hardly even sounds like a demand – just a statement of fact, one whose veracity better be validated sooner than later. — J. Lynch
57. “Believe Me” (Lil Wayne feat. Drake) (No. 26, 6/21/14)
“He left Rikers in a Phantom, that’s my n—a.” You can hear the pride in Drake’s voice as he boasts about his mentor across the opening verse of “Believe Me,” perhaps their hardest collaboration. When Boi-1da and Vinylz beat shifts midway through, slow-rolling into even more menacing territory, Wayne shines even brighter: “N—a I’ll fire this nina like it’s her first day on the job and the bitch overslept.” Can you even imagine how excited Drake must’ve been the first time he heard that? — R.S.
56. “Teenage Fever” (No. 35, 4/8/17)
With relationship rumors swirling, Drake tossed fuel on the fire by teasing his lust for J. Lo on the tender “Teenage Fever,” which (of course) samples Lopez’s “If You Had My Love.” On the tracks, Drizzy never specifically references Lopez beyond the lifted hook, but raps about wanting to acknowledge the mutual attraction in a relationship (“Last night we didn’t say it, but girl, we both thought it”). Regardless, by 2018, the dream was dead, with Lopez moving on to current fiancé Alex Rodriguez, and Drake waving the white flag on “Diplomatic Immunity.” — M.S.
55. “Summer Games” (No. 28, 7/14/18)
The most inscrutable gem to be found amid Scorpion‘s 25 tracks. “Summer Games” is a classic Drake hot-and-cold relationship drama, but its interaction with the song’s beat — a who-knew-it-existed? midpoint between 808s and Heartbreak and the Drive soundtrack — is entirely new, warping and twisting Drake’s vocal to the point where the tape practically breaks midway through. Much more disorienting and much harder to shake than you might remember. — A.U.
54. “Who Do You Love?” (YG feat. Drake) (No. 54, 4/5/14)
Good rule of thumb with Drake: When he starts rapping about seafood, that’s when you know he means business. He busts into the Nobu crab and subsequently throws his weight around to get his people out of prison during his five-star guest verse on “Who Do You Love?,” over a peak production from DJ Mustard, who conjures a horror movie of bellowing synth-bass and hair-raising piano plinks. “I would pinky swear, but my pinky ring too big” he boasts in closing, as he’s interrupted by YG’s shout-along hook, perhaps sensing the song’s ownership slipping away from him. — A.U.
53. “Controlla” (No. 16, 7/30/16)
Drake is a lovesick mess in “Controlla,” an ode to a woman he would cry, lie, and die for in which “Jodeci ‘Cry For You,’” a reference to the classic R&B tearjerker, serves as a lyric all on its own. But the breezy, dancehall-infused beat is as carefree as Drizzy is conflicted, giving the whole thing the feel of a rum-fueled fever dream. The song found a fan in SZA, who interpolated the “you like it, when I get / aggressive” verse on CTRL‘s “Normal Girl.” — T.C.
52. “Shot For Me” (No. 100, 12/3/11)
If Drake begins name-dropping on a record, chances are he’s ready to spill the tea. The second track to his 2011 opus Take Care, “Shot For Me” is a celebratory ode to his exes. Toasting to his past lovers, most notably Alisha and Catya, Drake takes pride in his newfound status as rap’s biggest star. But rather than be nostalgic in his remembrances, here Drake callously flips the script and takes ownership in building his women up: “The way you walk, that’s me/ The way you talk, that’s me.” Call him a sore loser when it comes to love, but on “Shot For Me,” it’s Drake who gets the last laugh. — C.L.
51. “Fancy” (feat. T.I. & Swizz Beatz) (No. 25, 10/2/10)
Tapping late-’00s rap superstar T.I. and producer powerhouse Swizz Beatz, Drake’s “Fancy” serves as his first hit women empowerment anthem, albeit from a less-than-subtly flirtatious perspective. The looping “Oh, you fancy, huh?” hook essentially dares the song’s intended subjects to flaunt their economic and physical prowess, with the rapping trio bouncing compliments and lyrics alike in their direction — though some of the more borderline condescending lines might not land as gracefully a decade later. — J.G.
50. “Poetic Justice” (Kendrick Lamar feat. Drake) (No. 26, 3/16/13)
Despite the hardened street politics narrative of Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut good kid M.A.A.D. City, “Poetic Justice” reveals the Compton rapper’s softer, sensitive side — and who better to bring it out of him than Drake? The pair show a natural chemistry on their first proper collaboration (Lamar previously featured on a separate interlude for Take Care’s “Marvin’s Room”), as young Kenny weaves his love poems around the airy temptations of Janet Jackson’s “Any Time, Any Place,” before Drake shows him how to spit game like a proud upperclassmen. — B.K.
49. “Successful” (feat. Trey Songz & Lil Wayne) (No. 17, 10/3/09)
The mission statement for mixtape Drake. Like Trey Songz, an early co-signer, Drizzy just wants to make it: And the stakes were real then, in a way that’s hard to appreciate now, when his success is such a given. The bass here is as submerged as 40 could go, and the vulnerability level is off the charts — the second verse describes in detail crying in his mother’s embrace in their driveway. His car is leased and he’s spending money that he doesn’t have on bar tabs. “It’s good, but I know this ain’t the peak.” He was right. — R.S.
48. “Money to Blow” (Birdman feat. Lil Wayne & Drake) (No. 26, 12/19/09)
Drake’s first year of being on a 24-hour champagne diet capped with “Money to Blow,” a top 40 hit alongside Young Money label heads Birdman and Lil Wayne that sounds like the trio Scrooge McDucking into a bottomless pool of gold coins. Helium-inflated synths rise around the YMCMBros as bubbles in the glass, while the three take turns getting high on their own supply, joining on the chorus to croon-taunt “Since I got famous, I got money to blow-oh-oh…” Save your “In this economy?” jokes, the id here is recession-proof. — A.U.
47. “Nonstop” (No. 2, 7/14/18)
To anyone who’s upset that Drake has prioritized pop over hip-hop, he presents a middle finger and a message: “S–t don’t ever stop.” Teaming with producers No I.D., Noel Cadastre, and, most importantly, hotshot beatmaker Tay Keith, Drake channels Memphis grit on “Nonstop,” via a drawled-out flow and looped sample from Mack Daddy Ju’s “My Head Is Spinnin’.” One of the nastiest tracks the rapper’s ever put out, it breathes an air of invincibility into you the second the bass starts rolling. — K.M.
46. “No Tellin'” (No. 81, 3/7/15)
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is a 17-song airing of grievances that spotlights Drake’s rapping over his singing. On “No Tellin’,” he sounds like he’s standing 3 feet from the mic, hopping around like a prize fighter warming up for a match. “They think I’m soft, think I’m innocent,” he charges, speaking to the same criticism that’s followed him around for years. But this song is less about offering critics proof and more about doling out reminders: “Please do not speak to me/ Like I’m that Drake from four years ago/ I’m at a higher place.” And how much higher will this enlightened one get? “Ain’t nooooo tellin’.” — C.W.
45. “Club Paradise” (No. 85, 8/17/19)
That wash of synths, the soft piano beneath it like iridescent algae; Drake running through a list of old girls who allegedly no longer f–k with him — this is classic material in the first 15 seconds. Released as part of the loosie drip before 2011’s Take Care, “Club Paradise” is quintessential Drake: the anxiety about f–king up the double-cheek kiss during Fashion Week soirées, the humblebragging about being personally acquainted with many strippers, the desire for his mother to vet his romantic life, the encroaching paranoia. The “triumph of both self-confidence and self-loathing,” as Hua Hsu put it. Welcome to the club. — R.S.
44. “Trophies” (Young Money feat. Drake) (No. 50, 4/26/14)
Drake sums it up more succinctly than any blurb ever could: “This s–t is not a love song,” it’s a “pop some f–king champagne in the tub song.” Borrowing blaring opening horns from a trailer for 1994 Western film Oblivion, Drizzy enters the flex track with guns blazing. It’s far from his most lyrically profound Hot 100 entry, but a well-deserved, braggadocious one-off never hurt anyone. Why go for the crown if you can’t revel in wearing it every so often? Go ahead and bring a second suitcase to the strip club and replace the walkie-talkies with a state-of-the-art intercom system, Drake. — J.G.
43. “Headlines” (No. 13, 8/27/11)
While most of the songs on Take Care indulge in heavy moods and sounds, “Headlines,” the first single from the album, is light on its feet. The stuttering beat and the brass-like synthesizer, pumping like a super-hyped marching band, complement Drake’s own lifted spirits as he drinks to his accomplishments. He’s celebratory, but he’s also taking shots: “Listen to you expressing all them feelings/ Soap opera rappers, all these n—as sound like All My Children.” For a rapper often accused of being too in his feelings, the critique is equivalent to “I know you are, but what am I?” — C.W.
42. “From Time” (feat. Jhené Aiko) (No. 67, 10/12/13)
Drake has an expansive list of collaborators ranging from Jay-Z to Lil Wayne, but the multi-time partner who flies under the radar is Jhené Aiko. After pairing up as baby-faced rookies on Aiko’s 2010 record “July,” the smooth duo reconnected on Drizzy’s 2013 Nothing Is The Same standout “From Time.” Produced by 40, “From Time” is a lucid look into Drake’s time with an old flame and how his past mistakes affected his love life. Despite his missteps, Drake’s heart yearns for a second chance at redemption with the one that got away. — C.L.
41. “Truffle Butter” (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne) (No. 14, 3/14/15)
Young Money’s holy trinity is guaranteed fire on wax, with each rapper bringing out the best energy and wackiest wordplay from their labelmates, but Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter” stands as their finest triple-team offering. Over an insistent house rhythm courtesy of Maya Jane Coles’ “What They Say,” Drake, Tunechi and Barbie bring startlingly fresh punnery to a well-worn subject — bragging about wealth – because, in Drake’s words, when you’re as loaded as them, it’s “hard to make a song ’bout somethin’ other than the money.” — J. Lynch
40. “Find Your Love” (No. 5, 7/3/10)
Before their relationship soured, Drake credited Kanye West as the “most influential person on his sound” as his career was preparing for takeoff, looking at Yeezy as another mentor-type of figure to help him navigate rap. Drizzy got his hands on the dancehall-leaning “Find Your Love” shuffle from No I.D. and West — initially intended for Rihanna — and successfully turned the vulnerable Thank Me Later ballad into the album’s biggest single, and his second career top five hit on the Hot 100. — M.S.
39. “Wu-Tang Forever” (No. 52, 10/5/13)
Not many artists besides Drake would see both the humor and the honesty in titling what’s primarily a pillowy sex jam after Wu-Tang Clan’s sprawling sophomore album. It’s trolly, for sure — at least until the second verse. That’s when the song’s dripping-stalagtite production goes from soundtracking a shouted come-on to an overstuffed, rambling verse of unpinnable rhythm and rhyme scheme, and Drake’s fear of his old girl belonging to someone else turns into all-consuming paranoia about his career and well-being. Sounds like something Staten Island’s finest could’ve killed — and in fact, maybe almost did. — A.U.
38. “MIA” (Bad Bunny feat. Drake) (No. 5, 10/27/18)
Guesting for bachata king Romeo Santos on 2014’s “Odio,” Drake was curious about the language of a Spanish-speaking love interest, but not quite ready to give up Google Translate. On 2018’s “MIA,” Bad Bunny finally convinced him to take the plunge, and the timing couldn’t have been better. The buzzing Puerto Rican reggaetónero was racing towards his studio debut X 100pre with a fast-growing English-speaking audience, and Drake, in the midst of a dominant chart run, was understandably searching for a fresh challenge. Ultimately, everyone won: Bad Bunny secured his biggest Hot 100 hit as a lead artist, Drake sounded convincing trading flirtatious come-ons outside his native tongue, and listeners got a trap-pop behemoth worthy of both its megastars. — C.P.
37. “HYFR (Hell Ya F*****g Right)” (feat. Lil Wayne) (No. 62, 6/16/12)
Drizzy doesn’t usually opt to deliver his musings at a breakneck speed, but for a song about his head-spinning ascent to facing the multi-headed hydra that is superstardom, it fits perfectly. When he finally does take a breather and slows to a post-finish line victory trot on the chorus, you can practically hear his ear-to-ear grin over those woozy party synths. Throw in a charmingly smug Weezy verse and an unlikely bar mitzvah-themed video, and you’ve got yourself a classic that deserved more than its No. 62 showing on the Hot 100. — J. Lynch
36. “Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2” (feat. Jay-Z) (No. 65, 10/12/13)
The closer to Drake’s career-defining Nothing Was the Same begins in full revelry, with a champagne toast and congratulatory speech that prefaces his strongest concluding statement on an album yet. The momentous occasion is made legendary, with Jay-Z raising his glass among the ranks as he dishes hard-earned wisdom and aspirational flexes. Though not the first shared credit between Drizzy and Hov, their stars have never felt more aligned. Drake gives the final word from his new elevated position by revisiting a track from earlier in his career, unmistakably emphasizing that nothing would be the same. — B.K.
35. “Tuesday” (iLoveMakonnen feat. Drake) (No. 12, 11/29/14)
If there was ever a time when Drake jumping on a remix could be seen as public service, it was on “Club Going Up on a Tuesday” — shortened to just “Tuesday” for hairdresser-turned-singer/rapper iLoveMakonnen’s OVO debut single. The blissed-out working-for-the-weeknight anthem didn’t need Drake, but it got him. To the hip-hop omnivore’s credit, his added verse met the song on its level, inspiring some of his best wordplay: “Put the world on our sound/ You know, PARTY and The Weeknd/ Ain’t got no motherf–kin’ time/ To party on the weekend.” The redo went top 20, Makonnen ultimately fell out with OVO, and ultimately everything is back as it should be — plus one new left-field classic you still have to think about at least once every seven days. — A.U.
34. “Furthest Thing” (No. 56, 10/12/13)
Like a crossover episode of your two favorite sitcoms, Drake merges two entirely different songs into one — a method he’s obviously found much success with the past few years. But unlike those recent examples, “Furthest Thing” is all Drake, issuing a mea culpa over a locomotive-chugging, foggy piano beat on the front half before dunking on a gospel-sampling second act. It’s likely a calculated effort on his behalf: just the second track on third album Nothing Was the Same, it was clear evidence of his elite skills both as an R&B and rap talent, and of his still feeling no need to choose between the two. — J.G.
33. “Too Good” (No. 14, 9/3/16)
Get Drake and Rihanna on a song together, and it’s almost a law of nature that it will be a hit. On the tender, Caribbean-inspired “Too Good,” the duo exchange honest verses about being taken for granted in a relationship; honest enough that Drake doesn’t try to hide his Drake-ness: “I wanna benefit from the friendship/ I wanna get the late-night message.” Somehow, there’s charm in his enduring shamelessness, and as the two sing about growing apart, the soft, circular dancehall beat — which samples Popcaan’s “Love Yuh Bad” — seems to draw them ever closer together. — T.C.
32. “Do Not Disturb” (No. 60, 4/8/17)
Drake didn’t waste a breath when leaving fans with a final word on the brilliant More Life closer, which samples Swedish singer-songwriter Snoh Aalegra’s majestic “Time.” The 6 God pours his heart out over the somber instrumental and candidly examines the burdens of his post-Views life while looking inward (“I’ll probably self-destruct if I ever lose, but I never do”). Drake admits to laboring over outros and even compares them to having surgery — but he can definitely consider this operation a cathartic success. — M.S.
31. “Moment 4 Life” (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake) (No. 13, 3/19/11)
As often as Nicki and Drake unite, it’s easy to miss the magic of their unique pairing. The labelmates form one of the best will-they-or-won’t-they friend duos in music history, ready to lend emotional support in sensitive moments or to stomp foes out on rowdy records. That complementary energy powers “Moment 4 Life,” a musing on chasing, achieving and pausing to appreciate a dream’s fulfillment – made even more effective as the tale mirrors their real-life rise to prominence at the same time. — T.A.
30. “Pop That” (French Montana feat. Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne) (No. 36, 11/10/12)
Even before his debut album was released, Drake was being featured on posse cuts alongside rap’s elite, from “Forever” to “Bedrock.” He performed admirably back then, but fast forward a couple years and Drake absolutely owns “Pop That” with French Montana, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. Batting third in the lineup, Drake wallops his first line — “I’m about being single, seeing double, making triple” — and proceeds to run laps around his fellow MCs with some breathless wordplay: “Only thing you got is some years on me/ Man, f–k you and your time difference” remains an all-timer. — J. Lipshutz
29. “Legend” (No. 52, 3/7/15)
Drake returned from a year-and-a-half hiatus with the unexpected 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, and did so in holy fashion: the newly proclaimed “6 God” deems his already-impressive accolades worthy of generation-spanning recognition. It’s a lofty preposition for an artist then not even 30 years old, but with IYRTITL securing a fourth consecutive Billboard 200 No. 1 effort, it’s hardly an unfathomable argument. The entire track is carefully paced, with Drake diligently picking his spots to place emphasis. Perhaps most admirably, Drake flexes his legendary status while predominantly singing on top of a Ginuwine sample — and doing so successfully. — J.G.
28. “Fake Love” (No. 8, 2/18/17)
It’s always silly to suggest that Drake needs a win — the guy’s already covered for a few lifetimes. But that was definitely the feeling some observers had in late 2016, following the dour, widely derided (and still massively successful) Views. Enter “Fake Love,” our first taste of More Life: The Boy senses phonies in his midst, yet instead of rapping gloomily about it, he stretches out his voice over steel-drum sonics. There’s a warmth and ease that makes the self-pity and resentment more palatable, and that pointed a path forward, out of the CN Tower’s dark shadow. — K.M.
27. “F**kin Problems” (A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar) (No. 8, 2/16/13)
If you heard a rumor in 2020 that A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and Drake were all jumping on a song together, it would be easy to dismiss as Internet lore. But once upon a time in 2012, that fearsome foursome united for “F**kin Problems,” one of the best rap collabs in recent memory. Buzzing bass and sticky, slapping drums provided the foundation for 2 Chainz’s shouted chorus and verses from Rocky, Drake and Kendrick. The latter claimed the most memorable line — “Girl, I know you want this d–k” — but all went full beast mode, including Aubrey, who flexes his range by quoting Nelly and referencing The Beatles in back-to-back bars. — C.W.
26. “What’s My Name?” (Rihanna feat. Drake) (No. 1, 11/20/10)
What makes collaborations from Rihanna and Drake so magical is the real-life “are they/aren’t they?” chemistry that exudes through every lyric. “What’s My Name,” their Island-pop debut team-up (lifted from Rih’s 2010 blockbuster Loud) embodies that ooey-gooey feeling that comes with falling in puppy love. Drizzy melts in the Bajan star’s arms as he goes toe to toe with her lush and sunny coos. It’s nothing short of adorable, and became Drake’s first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100… although we still can’t quite forgive him for the cheesiness of that “The square root of 69 is 8 somethin’, right?” line. — B.G.
25. “Too Much” (No. 64, 10/12/13)
Drake’s most forceful and immediate rap performance, “Too Much” is also one of his best-written songs. In fact, the two qualities are inseparable: His use of alliteration, reminiscent of Tupac on Me Against the World, makes the lines of the first verse land harder and harder. “Most people in my position get complacent/ Wanna come places with star girls, and they end up on them front pages.” The P sound in “people” and “position” ends up reverberating in “complacent” and “come places,” culminating in the unexpected pop at couplet’s end with “front pages.” And then there’s the bracing clarity of a line like “I did not sign up for this.” If you’ve dealt with unexpected family drama — especially among adults who should know better — you know that feeling. The song lives up to its title. — R.S.
24. “Crew Love” (feat. The Weeknd) (No. 80, 6/19/12)
In 2012, Drake had the rap game in the cobra clutch. Hungry for more, Drake enlisted a budding singer from his hometown to help seal the deal. On Take Care, The Weeknd stitched his name into hearts of avid Drake fans with his appearances on “The Ride” and “Crew Love.” The latter was a searing cut led by the singer’s howling ad-libs and Drake’s devotion to his OVO home team. “Crew Love” was a dazzling introduction for OVOXO, as Drake and The Weeknd combined to give Toronto a commanding lead on the scoreboard. — C.L.
23. “In My Feelings” (No. 1, 7/21/18)
As often as Drake gets accused of cultural and geographical vampirism, the boy knows how to pay homage when so inclined. Take “In My Feelings,” a song that became one of 2018’s biggest hits on the back of an accidental meme — if any of Drake’s successes could ever be called accidents — but resounds much more in 2020 because of its giddy passion for New Orleans. The song not only internalizes the sound and lessons from the city’s bounce music, but pays respect to one of its all-time legends via a sample of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” — and helps mint a couple future bounce-friendly hip-hop stars with backing vocals from the City Girls. Past, present and future all accounted for — what more respectful a tribute could you ask for? — A.U.
22. “Energy” (No. 26, 3/7/15)
By early 2015, Drake was ready to toughen up his persona. After years of taking jabs for his smoothness and sensitivity, the ironclad “Energy” presents a prospering rapper ready for real talk about his adversaries: large and small, existential or real. His bars address a rap game airing of grievances — unreturned favors, industry obstacles, online hate — over a Boi-1da and OB O’Brien beat that’s the sonic equivalent of a rainy day locked indoors. The track’s slyly hilarious video presents Drake dressed up as a horde of Internet-breaking celebrities like Kanye, Justin Bieber, Oprah, and Miley Cyrus, though it’s not intended as a diss at anyone specific. It was good practice, though, because within a few months, the target in Drake’s crosshairs was very specific, indeed. — C.P.
21. “Best I Ever Had” (No. 2, 7/25/09)
In 2009, after a period of relative dormancy, dance-pop was again on the upswing, and the rappers who dominated top 40 were the hi-NRG likes of Flo Rida, Pitbull and the Black Eyed Peas. Yet even in this landscape, Drake made it all the way to No. 2 with “Best I Ever Had,” in which he crooned sweet nothings to his true-blue girlfriend over a friggin’ Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds sample, sounding half light-skinned Keith Sweat and half horny Beach Boy. That was Drake: Confident enough to reference the Andy Griffith theme in a lyric about p—y, to play Joe College on a song produced by the College Dropout himself, to crash into the pop mainstream with a song half the speed everyone else was going. Needless to say, we should’ve known then. — A.U.
20. “The Motto” (feat. Lil Wayne) (No. 14, 4/28/12)
Sure, it’s the YOLO song, but “The Motto” shines in the context of Take Care’s victory-lap bonus coda, and one of very best Drake-Wayne protege-mentor team-ups. Drizzy leaps into the song, declaring himself the “f—in’ man” before the beat fully kicks in, and on the other side of the hook there’s in-his-prime Weezy still spitting whacked-out sex metaphors with a grin too charming to deny. And when it comes to “you only live once,” the era-defining catchphrase is tossed out with an effortlessness that defines “The Motto,” and makes it so easy to return to often. — J. Lipshutz
19. “Stay Schemin” (Rick Ross feat. Drake & French Montana) (No. 58, 5/5/12)
On the heels of teasing their now-shelved Y.O.L.O. joint project, Drake and Rick Ross continued their winning streak with another boisterous collab in “Stay Schemin’,” alongside French Montana. Drizzy wanted all the smoke with his fiery verse, sniping at Common with a few subliminal jabs looking to put an end to their feud, which was later squashed following a conversation at the Grammys. Despite peaking in the Hot 100’s bottom half, “Schemin’” had more of a cultural impact than its chart stats would indicate. The OVO-MMG chemistry even gave us the famous echoed “bitch, you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym” punchline from Rozay, which is one of the most overused social media captions of the past decade. — M.S.
18. “Tuscan Leather” (No. 81, 10/12/13)
Six minutes and six seconds. That’s how much time Drake spent on the intro to Nothing Was the Same, his second straight classic album, and the stylistic foundation on which he’d build the rest of his discography. The triptych instrumental doesn’t switch as much as mutate; what starts as a pitched-up, rewound Whitney Houston sample becomes frenetic trap, and then lumbers into something more sinister, with splashy drums and synths, before arriving at its buzzing, midnight conclusion. “Lately I’ve been feelin’ like Guy Pearce in Memento,” he raps, ridiculously. But the line is revealing, too, linking fragments of a Tom Ford present to the “90s fantasies” Drake could never escape. “Tuscan Leather” is lined with those cracks, the broken lines of communication, the increasingly desperate flexes; this was the victory lap after Take Care, but for Drake, something was still missing. Meanwhile, the rest of us got everything we wanted. — W.G.
17. “One Dance” (feat. Kyla & WizKid) (No. 1, 5/21/16)
Drake had been dabbling in dancehall and afrobeat for years by the time he rolled out 2016’s Views, from guesting on Rihanna’s “Work” to remixing WizKid’s “Ojuelegba,” one of the Nigerian singer’s biggest hits at the time. These inspirations characterized Views like no Drake project before it, with the sultry “One Dance” leading the way. Patois engaged, Drizzy navigates limber keystrokes and serpentine riffs alongside his pal Wiz and UK funky singer Kyla, whose style he definitely liked. Through the heat of June and July, America followed suit: “One Dance” spent 10 weeks atop the Hot 100, eventually being named Billboard‘s Song of the Summer. — C.P.
16. “Jumpman” (Drake & Future) (No. 12, 11/7/15)
Part of What a Time to Be Alive‘s charm was how relaxed Drake and Future came across while soundtracking your turn up. Exhibit A is the No. 12-peaking “Jumpman,” where a chanted reference to Michael Jordan’s clothing line, an audio clip of a raven squawking, that ascending “woo!” and some inscrutable non sequiturs (not many songs encompass Robotripping, Nobu AND the Taliban) add up a lean (so to speak), laid-back pump-up jam courtesy Metro Boomin. They’re clearly in a good mood – sure, the haters don’t get lobster, but they’re still treated to chicken fingers and French fries. It’s trap as comfortable as a Christmas sweater. — J. Lynch
15. “Started From the Bottom” (No. 6, 3/9/13)
Let the rest of this list’s top 15 enjoy their rankings. “Started From the Bottom” can boast something that none of them can: It’s the Drake song that most endures in the popular consciousness. Seven years out, you’re still at risk of hearing a groan-worthy reference to the single’s hook, and corny as it may sound every time, that sort of staying power is impressive. (Much respect to the track’s tippy-toe piano and shivering hi-hats, but the chorus is what’s lodged into the culture.) Drake didn’t just inspire memes with his Nothing Was the Same leadoff — he coined a genuine catchphrase. This is his “99 Problems.” — K.M.
14. “Take Care” (feat. Rihanna) (No. 7, 3/24/12)
“Take Care” never gets old, and maybe it never will. The title track off Drake’s 2011 album samples a Gil-Scott Heron remix by Jamie XX, which in turn flips a 1950s cut by Bobby “Blue” Bland, giving it a timeless feel before you can even queue up WhoSampled. But it’s Drake and Rihanna’s undeniable chemistry that gives this version its spark, as the two trade rapturous verses about vulnerability to the tune of shimmering steel drums. While Drake’s verses often walk a thin line between endearing and cloying, “Take Care” hits the perfect sweet spot — the song is as fit for a good cry as it is for a club night, especially when the house beat picks up three-quarters in. — T.C.
13. “Back to Back” (No. 21, 8/22/15)
Raise your hand if you expected Aubrey “The Degrassi Dude” Graham to deliver the decade’s buzziest (and Grammy-nominated) diss track. You didn’t — stop lying — but he did. As a spat with Meek Mill heated up, Drake tested the waters with “Charged Up,” an unmemorable track that Meek dismissed as “baby lotion soft.” So Drizzy reloaded and acted on Serena Williams’ direction to “finish it.” Enter “Back to Back,” in which Drake sticks to a devastating weapon — the truth — to stage barbs, clowning Meek for his status as girlfriend Nicki Minaj’s tour support (“This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more”). He even bears a self-burn to underscore the shame of Meek losing this contest to a self-described “singing n—a.” Yikes. — T.A.
12. “God’s Plan” (No. 1, 2/3/18)
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and Drake’s is particularly weighed down on the otherwise buoyant-sounding “God’s Plan,” where the beleaguered rap royal looks out and considers his kingdom, his haters and his legacy. “I don’t wanna die for them to miss me,” he says as the beat kicks in and adds some bass to the dreamy atmosphere. But as evidenced by the checks he doled out to those in need in the music video, he wants to leave behind more than hits. He also wants to leave catchphrases. Sing it with me now: “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” — C.W.
11. “Passionfruit” (No. 8, 4/8/17)
“Passionfruit” is the perfect example of a “playlist song” that represents the concept behind the, um, October Firm 2017 compilation More Life. It dutifully bridges two disparate portions of the mix, between the aggressive “No Long Talk” and soulful “Jorja Interlude,” but its pumping disco beat and spacious tropical grooves take the song somewhere else entirely. Drake lays out some long-distance difficulties amid extended wordless stretches that allow the absorbing production to sprawl out across the ground he’s aiming to cover. The taste for “Passionfruit” was palpable, as it became the first More Life single selected post release — proving to be the smart pick, as it ultimately matched the no. 8 peak of predecessor “Fake Love” on the Hot 100. The hand-selected Moodymann introduction says it all: “I got to start this mothaf–kin’ record over again.” — B.K.
10. “0 to 100 / The Catch Up” (No. 35, 9/20/14)
“0-100″ / The Catch Up” is a loaded track built to spoil Drake fans. Not only do you get the brash, in-your-face Drake on “0-100,” but you also get the sober, pensive MC who’s eager for more wins on “The Catch Up.” The former half is a party-starter littered with IG-ready captions, a more robust version of “Started From the Bottom.” Not only does Drake tip his hat to Steph Curry’s shooting prowess, but he also pats himself on the back for his hit-making talents (“I should probably sign to Hit-Boy ’cause I got all the hits, boy”). Then after a hearty 24 bars, Drake’s go-to-producer, 40, shifts the tempo, creating a more intense vibe on “The Catch-Up.” After his victory lap on “0-100,” a calmer Drake is aware that he has more work to do before calling it a career: “If I haven’t passed you yet, watch me catch up now.” — C.L.
9. DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne, “I’m on One” (No. 10, 6/11/11)
“Yeah, too much money, ain’t enough money,” Lil Wayne rasps on “I’m On One,” a posse cut that is among the saddest — and most effective — jams of Drake’s career: alongside Wayne and Rick Ross, Drizzy declares that “All I care about is money and the city where I’m from,” and revels in fame and fortune while admitting to being addicted to both. All three MCs give stellar performances, but Drake serves as the ultimate utility player, kicking off the track with some sing-song musings, grinding down on his verse and supplying the hook that props up his fellow stars. “I’m On One” mixes lavishness with melancholy in a way that’s right in Drake’s wheelhouse, and as such, he serves as the connective tissue of this top 10 hit. — J. Lipshutz
8. “Feel No Ways” (No. 53, 5/21/16)
It’s easy to forget about “Feel No Ways” — Drake didn’t choose the retro R&B-pop hybrid as one of Views’ five singles, and the song never got the same buzz as Hot 100-topper “One Dance” or “Hotline Bling.” That said, few beats throughout Drake’s illustrious career have been more tailor-made to showcase all that makes him one of the defining artists of the past decade. Majid Jordan producer Jordan Ullman flips former Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren’s “World Famous (Radio I.D.)” into an electro-influenced beat with brash hi-hats and piano synths that melt in the background as warmly as Drake’s croons in the chorus.
R&B Drake has always been at his best when he effectively utilizes “should,” as he does here: “I should be downtown whipping on the way to you,” or “maybe we just should have did things my way.” He isn’t, and they didn’t, but each “should” allows the listener to better visualize the situation and draw a personal connection, which is ultimately the crux of what makes heartbreak Drake one of his generation’s most effective storytellers. “Feel No Ways” should have been a single, and though it may never get the respect it fully deserves — even during a recent performance at Camp Flog Gnaw — it’s aging better than the finest bottle of Virginia Black that he’s got on the shelf. — J.G.
7. “Know Yourself” (No. 53, 4/25/15)
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late found Drake at his most introspective, completely overflowing with paranoid lyrics and brooding production that’s just as hazy as the Toronto skyline. “Know Yourself,” an immediate fan favorite, slices through that obscurity. He’s used the phrase on plenty songs — “Jodeci Freestyle,” “From Time,” “0 To 100” — but this time it was transformed into a hometown anthem. The blood-rushing “I was. running. through the 6. With my WOES!” chant was heard everywhere from festivals to Instagram captions, quickly becoming yet another Drake-ism that is permanently embedded in the pop culture lexicon. — B.G.
6. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (feat. Majid Jordan)
The song where Drake went full pop star? Sure. On this spacious 100 bpm pleasure cruise, Drake doesn’t rap or rap and sing, but sing sing, crooning for his girl’s affection not just when they get home, but endlessly. He aimed for Michael Jackson grandeur and wound up with a top-5 R&B-pop smash before his buddy the Weeknd ever did. By the time Nothing Was the Same dropped a month later, Drake felt universal. — C.P.
5. “Work” (Rihanna feat. Drake) (No. 1, 3/5/16)
When Rihanna released “Work” as the lead single off 2016’s Anti, critics didn’t immediately know what to do with it — the beat is a little understated, there’s no big chorus, and, on that note, this one is sung in thick Jamaican Patois. But “Work” just works: While Rihanna deploys satisfying kiss-offs over a minimal dancehall beat (“Nuh badda text me in a crisis”), Drake begs and pleads for her affection, almost too convincingly (putting music to the romantic tango the two played out in public). The song warranted not one, but two equally steamy music videos, and became the first dancehall song to top the Hot 100 since Sean Paul’s “Temperature” a decade earlier. Fitting that “Work” was succeeded just weeks later by another dancehall hit: Drake’s “One Dance.” — T.C.
4. “Marvins Room” (No. 21, 8/13/11)
Drunk dials. A subterranean beat. Cups of rosé. Petty jabs at an ex’s significant other. Could there be a more Drake-ish Drake song than “Marvins Room”? While old heads at the time were on him for doing too much singing, not enough rapping, Drake doubled down on this super-smooth, 40-produced Take Care cut and ended up with one of his best genre-confounding songs to date. “Are you drunk right now?” says the woman on the other end of the phone. “I’m just saying you could do better,” Drake croons. The presumptuousness is infuriating, but the song is irresistible. — C.W.
3. “Hotline Bling” (No. 2, 10/24/15)
When’s the last time you listened to “Hotline Bling”? Just a treasure of a song. Even still, after all the ubiquity and tacky parodies (thinking of one in particular), and even with that lull near the end, when Drake peddles his condescending “you-used-to-be-a-good-girl” bulls–t. Sure, once you hear that clip-clopping percussion — borrowed, along with the puffs of organ, from Timmy Thomas’s 1973 hit “Why Can’t We Live Together” — you might be tempted to write the smash single off as nothing more than a mid-2010s concern. Instead, try thinking of it as a time capsule: of its moment, but well worth revisiting. Dig it up and savor the neon colors. — K.M.
2. “Worst Behavior” (No. 89, 10/12/13)
This song shouldn’t work. The first two verses — even its chorus — are more like adlibs strung together than thoughtful 16s. DJ Dahi’s beat is a skittering glitch, like the sonic depiction of hacking a mainframe in a movie released in 1995. Distorted vocals appear and vanish like a slightly caffeinated Burial track. And to cap it off, Drake borrows a Ma$e flow to deliver one of the most purely enjoyable verses of his career. End song. What?
But this is music, not architecture, and though the blueprint might look a mess, the song is sheer exhilaration, surprise after surprise after surprise. How is he pulling this off? How does this still sound like the future? Its quotable lines are indelible: “My momma probably hear that and be mortified.” “For all the stunting I’ll forever be immortalized.” “I should let you know ahead I’m coming back on my worst behavior.” That last line seals it — he’s warning us about the future he’s seen, where he’s an unstoppable force, an immovable object in the narrative of pop music, never to be separated from it. He let us know ahead of time. Remember? — R.S.
1. “Nice For What” (No. 1, 4/21/18)
Drake has been stung with misogynistic claims throughout his career — not totally unfairly, as he’s long used his smooth croons as a deflection of gaslit lyricism that fails to hold himself accountable for his own f–k-ups. But with age comes wisdom, and as the superstar entered his 30s, he made a big step towards making things right by crafting an empowering anthem specifically directed for those same subjects in his heartbreak-riddled songs. “Nice For What” seems like such a simple phrase, but the weight it holds transcends even the chorus it springs from.
Released at the height of the #MeToo movement, the song captured just how frustrated women were with a society that didn’t support us: “You gotta be nice for WHAT to these n—as?” Laid atop a New Orleans bounce-inspired beat, with Big Freedia’s in-your-face adlibs and Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” sample coursing throughout, “Nice For What” reminded us to hold our chin up, shake our ass if we felt like it and raise a glass to post-relationship liberation. The female-directed video further cemented this notion, highlighting famous women like Olivia Wilde, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross and Tiffany Haddish who embraced the song’s core mantra: being unapologetically free. And Drake, in his giddiest, most endearing form, was there advocating for us. — B.G.