All eyes are on Drake right now, and justifiably so. His long-awaited album, Scorpion, dropped early Friday morning and it’s filled to the brim—seriously, it’s 25 tracks long—with tracks that cater to Drake's ability to drop bars and sing his heart out. Littered across the album are both mini-subs and huge admissions, like the fact that Drake is indeed a father and may or may not have been hiding his child. Not every track is a candidate for a feature on The Shade Room, though. Some songs display the old Drake we’ve come to appreciate, the lover at heart who wants nothing more than to serenade the women of the world. And nowhere is that more apparent than track six on Side B (aka the R&B side) of Scorpion, “Ratchet Happy Birthday.”
Upon pressing play for the first time, the beat sounds more… delicate than one would anticipate for a song with this title. But cool, soft shit is Drake’s M.O. anyway. If there’s anybody that can make a gentle beat work, it’s him.
But suddenly, words begin coming out of Drake’s mouth and everything quickly ceases to make sense. Less than 30 seconds into the intro, Drake says the following: “Seems like time's out of our control/It's a celebration.” Hold up. If it’s my birthday—an annual reminder of my waning mortality—why are you taking this moment to remind me of the futility of my fight against time and shrugging off my slowly impending death with “it’s a celebration”?
As if that wasn’t a jarring enough initiation to the track, Drake goes on to describe a woman in a way that’s half-endearing, half-street harassment. “You talk so tough, I know you're soft like buttercups,” he croons. “Reese's, Reese's, don't be ridiculous.” This is Drake's lyricism at its clumsiest. (Also, a word of advice—don’t ever tell a woman she's soft like a piece of candy, even if it's a delicious one.)
But most troubling of all is the title of this song, which brings to mind 2 Chainz’s 2012 true ratchet birthday anthem, “Birthday Song.” The beat on the latter is bombastic, the hook is simplistically iconic (“All I want for my birthdaaay is a big booty hoe”), and the overall energy of the track screams “Throw some ass!” After six years, the song still rings out at birthday celebrations.
“Ratchet Birthday Song” is not an anthem for anyone to have a ratchet anything. It doesn’t make me feel like twerking. It doesn’t make me wanna make my knees touch my elbows. It doesn’t make me wanna back up anything on anybody. If anything, it sounds like the song you’d play in the Uber on the way home from a celebration, in that moment when everything won’t stop spinning and you’re trying your best to not throw up and ruin your rating.
Sorry, Drake: this is a song for the birthday memories you wish you could forget.