Are we about to enter the summer of Drake?
It’s been two years since he released his last full-length studio album, Scorpion, but it’s finally time for Drake to begin a new chapter. In late April, before releasing Dark Lane Demo Tapes, he made the announcement: “My sixth studio album dropping summer 2020. Lucky number 6.”
Dark Lane Demo Tapes was a nice palate cleanser, but the stakes will be higher when he serves up the main course. Did the 6ix God save his best work for his sixth album? Or will the most commercially successful rapper in the world stumble and begin an inevitable descent from the mountaintop?
As we wait for it to hit streaming services, we put together a list of 11 things we hope to hear on the album.
A summer album
It’s been a dark spring. During a time of the year when we would ordinarily be emerging from hibernation and blasting music outside, we’ve been forced indoors because of the pandemic. (It’s a cruel injustice we haven’t been able to hear albums like Eternal Atake in crowded bars yet.) It’s impossible to predict what the world will look like whenever Drake’s album finally sees the light of day, of course, but it’s a safe bet that we’ll be in need of summer anthems however it turns out. In a perfect world, everything will be getting back to normal and we’ll be searching for music to play at our first public outings. And even if things are still shut down, we’ll need an album that at least helps us feel like it’s summer. If we can’t go to bars, we’ll still need something for the backyard. Summer pop hits were absent from Dark Lane Demo Tapes, which leads us to believe he might be saving them for the proper album. And after making it through one of the most bleak periods of our lives, we deserve to emerge from this with a triumphant summer album playing in the background. Who better than Drake to deliver that album? —Eric Skelton
In early May, a Medium article by David Dennis Jr went viral, outlining how Drake began his career by making songs for 22-year-olds, and over a decade later, he’s still making songs for 22-year-olds. It’s an interesting point. Drake is now a 33-year-old man, but his subject matter and lifestyle haven’t changed much since the So Far Gone days. In some ways, the approach is working for him. As he puts it, he’s one of the only rappers at his level who “really lives this rap life.” A decade into his career, he’s still living every college kid’s dream, and still making songs that are custom-fitted for frat parties. Judging by all the streaming records he’s broken in recent years, it’s a smart approach, but we’re also interested in hearing from 33-year-old Drake. He’s a father now, and he’s picked up life experiences that he didn’t have when he put out Nothing Was the Same. The party records are inevitable, but we’d like to hear Adult Drake make it into his songwriting, too. —Eric Skelton
“Losses” might objectively be the best song on Dark Lane Demo Tapes, but my personal favorite is “Landed,” which is a spiritual cousin to one of Drake’s best songs of the past few years: “Nonstop.” The pop hits are fun and we’ll never get tired of the introspective album cuts, but over the past few years, Drake has been at his best when he finds a hard-hitting beat, puts a little extra bass in his voice, and talks shit. He’s the most successful rapper in the world right now; the man quite literally has more slaps than the Beatles. No one else could talk this much shit and have the resume to back it up. And he won’t be in this position forever, so he needs to make as many of these songs as he can right now. We’ll love every minute of it. —Eric Skelton
A concise tracklist
No one has time to sit through another 25-track album from Drake, even if we are stuck in the house with nowhere to go. Scorpion had hits, but it was weighed down by its exhausting length. And the last time Drake released a concise body of work was in 2015 with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which included 17 tracks. That felt like it hit his sweet spot, so we’d like to hear a 14-17 track album this time around. That leaves Drake with enough room to show a few different sides and styles, without overdoing it. —Jessica McKinney
After debuting the first photo of his son Adonis on Instagram on March 30, we hope Drake is finally ready to discuss his new role as a father in his music. Sure, he was forced to address rumors about his kid on Scorpion. And he followed up with a bar about Adonis on “When to Say When” (“I will split heads and break necks for my little man”), but we’re looking for Drizzy to dig a little deeper and explore the new emotions and responsibilities that come with parenthood. What are intimate moments with his son like? What are his hopes for their relationship moving forward? Drake has spent much of his career as the quote-unquote “emotional rapper.” But, in addition to discussing his trust issues and relationships with women, it would be nice to hear him channel his energy towards what it’s like being a dad. —Jessica McKinney
A different take on relationships
As we’ve pointed out recently, Drake still isn’t the best when it comes to romantic relationships. Just last year, he told everyone where he stands with relationships in real life during his Rap Radar interview, stating, “I love my space. I love my work, and I love my routine. And for me to break that for somebody, it would just have to be a really special person that fits into that puzzle and is supportive of the things I’m doing.” But when it comes to expressing his feelings in his music, he still seems to be some place between looking for the girl of his dreams and landing a fling of the night. One minute he’s bagging women on Finsta (“Times Flies”), and the next, he’s “hurtin’ deeply inside” over the girl that got away (“Not You Too”). We’re ready to hear Drake display the same maturity and thoughtfulness that he put into his interview on wax. —Jessica McKinney
A Young Money reunion
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard a Drake and Young Money collab. Since launching OVO Sound, Drake has paved his own path and spent less time in the studio with the Young Money family. In a recent interview with Lil Wayne on Young Money Radio, the two spoke about their lack of recent collabs. Both agreed they needed to make something new soon, but Tunechi exlplained it’s not as simple as swapping verses for the duo: “We got a standard we got to live up to, and we got a track record and a legacy we got to always protect.” So if we do get a project, expect a well thought-out production piece. “Family Feud” from Dedication 6 was the last time we saw the two work together, and 2017’s “No Frauds” was the last time Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj all teamed up for a song. The trio have an incredible track record—including “Only,” “Truffle Butter,” and “Bedrock”—so we’d love to see another. This will be the first Drake studio album that won’t be released by Young Money or Cash Money Records, but we hope that doesn’t keep him from giving us the collabs we’re craving. —Sabine Adorney
Drake is well-aware that fans expect him to appeal to his rap side and R&B side on every album. It’s apparent on both Dark Lane Demo Tapes and Scorpion that the made an effort to include both sides on the projects, but on the next album, we’d like to see a better balance between the two. That balance doesn’t have to translate to another double-disc project (refer back to our point about a short and sweet tracklist). Some of his best projects were the result of weaving the slower, singing tracks in with the uptempo, club bangers. On Nothing Was the Same, Drake transitions from an uptempo radio hit like “Started from the Bottom” to the melodic “Wu-Tang Forever” to “Own It.” Then he starts the cycle over again, starting with “Worst Behavior” leading into “From Time.” That repetition provided balance and cohesion without piling on an absurd number of songs. —Jessica McKinney
The next evolution of Drake-y one-liners
The king of quotable one-liners, Drake is known for his Instagram-ready lyrics. The last time he dropped a studio album, he blessed us with memorable one-liners like, “Imagine if I never met the broskis” and “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” Now, there are even Drake caption generators for those in need of quick Instagram inspiration. Other Drake one-liners show a little more depth of lyricism: “Nickels for my thoughts, dimes in my bed, quarters of the kush shake the lines in my head.” Drake doesn’t just brag, he does it artistically: “Drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments.” Drake’s sometimes sappy side has made for some iconic love lyrics over the years, as well: “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on, that’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.” Or this romantic gem from Drake’s feature on Rihanna’s “Work”: “If you had a twin I would still choose you.” On his next album, we hope he levels up with a new evolution of Drake-y one-liners. Can he find a way to come up with captions for our TBT and quarantine posts without getting too corny? We’ll find out soon. —Sabine Adorney
More samples of iconic female artists
Drake has sampled countless iconic female artists over the years, from Aaliyah to Jennifer Lopez. Perhaps most notably, his No. 1 single “Nice For What” effortlessly sampled Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.” The song became the anthem of summer for girls everywhere, and the accompanying music video starred badass women like Tiffany Haddish, Michelle Rodriguez, Emma Roberts, Issa Rae, Rashida Jones, and Tracee Ellis Ross. Many other standout moments in Drake’s discography feature female crooners: Mary J. Blige can be heard in “Weston Road Flows,” Jennifer Lopez is sampled in “Teenage Fever,” and Aaliyah’s music appears in “Unforgettable” and “Is There More.” Even his Young Money counterpart, Nicki Minaj, had her live remix of “Boss Ass Bitch” sampled in “That’s How You Feel” on Scorpion. This is a trend we’d love to see continue on Drake’s next album. —Sabine Adorney