Producer: Mike Zombie
Album: Nothing Was The Same
How can this be? How can Drake's "Started From the Bottom," which peaked at No. 6 in the U.S., No. 56 in France, No. 91 in the Netherlands and—oh yeah—was second on our own best songs of 2013 list, wind up on our worst songs of 2013 list? One word: Credibility. (As for the whole "sparse" thing, Pusha T did it better on "Numbers on the Boards" which didn't even make our 50 best songs of 2013 list and —oh yeah, I quit.)
I'm not saying that Drake actually has to be a thug, he just has to come off as a credible one. Which he doesn't. Yes, Rick Ross the rapper isn't a drug kingpin, but he's perfectly cast as one. He's believable on some Tony Montana "I tell the truth even when I lie" ish. Drake? He can drop the N-word as many times as he wants, but it doesn't get any less cringe-worthy with repetition.
And while his early life may indeed be comparable to [deep breath] Tupac's, growing up poor among the affluent while pursuing an acting career, Drake's tone has a note of petulance where 'Pac's was pure defiance. It probably didn't help that I heard this song a billion times, either. Maybe I should have moved to the Netherlands. —Russ Bengtson