When Drake’s “More Life” premiered on OVOSoundRadio last Saturday night, it seemed like the world stopped to tune in. Okay, maybe not EVERYONE but definitely the music fans on my Twitter timeline…
On the long awaited and well curated playlist, you’ll be sure to find the different faces of Drake. On songs like “Teenage Fever,” “Nothings Into Somethings,” and “Since Way Back,” he sings and shows his vulnerable side, while on “Do Not Disturb” and “Lose You” he steadily attacks with his raps almost like a sharp shooter. What you’ll also find are a handful songs with a dash of Caribbean flavor. While Drake is no stranger to adding a West Indian style influence in his music with his recent summer smashes “Controlla” and “One Dance,” some fans are quick to dismiss it.
Critics label Drake a “culture vulture” for his nod to Caribbean music because he’s a half Jewish kid from Toronto. Little do most know that the 6 is full of West Indian culture with locals known for using patois lingo and reggae/dancehall music being a part of every day listening. I happen to take well to his appreciation and love for the West Indies. This American girl has no Caribbean background but growing up in New York, I have been influenced by the culture with having most of my friends being from the Caribbean, eating at Jamaican spots and bussing a wine to popular dancehall at parties. I understand there’s a huge difference from appropriating and appreciating, especially when you’ve been around it most of your life.
Drake’s recent chunes on More Life aren’t the only Caribbean vibes from him. “Find Your Love” was a leading single from his debut album, “Thank Me Later” back in 2010 that mixed a Jamaican beat with his soulful like vocals. He also remixed DRAM’s “Cha Cha” riddim for his hit “Hotline Bling” in 2015.
While Drake shows love to dancehall and afrobeats in a dope way, we can’t passa passa on Caribbean fused hip-hop without paying proper respect to others who’ve paved the way initially. In fact, some of the founding fathers and pioneers of hip-hop are originally of West Indian decent such as DJ Kool Herc, Luvbug, and Pete Rock. Additionally, producer duo, The Heatmakerz, have been known for incorporating reggae in their samples in classic Dipset’s tracks. Drake’s own, Boi-1da, spreads his Jamaican roots into his production, especially with his contributions to Rihanna and Drake’s West Indian fused, “Work.” The list goes on from Wyclef, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Canada’s own Kardinal Offishall, and much more.
The fact of the mater is this, Caribbean music will forever have an influence on hip-hop, past, present and future. Let’s enjoy Drake’s take on it. If you haven’t taken the time to get to know the “Drizzla” side to Drake like I have, check him out on “More Life.” Songs such as “Blem,” “Passionfruit,” and “Madiba Riddim” are my favorite with a little island vibe. His unruly side can be shown on “No Long Talk,” “KMT” and features from Giggs and Skepta.
Don’t call Drake’s island style an “identity crisis,” he might just be hooked on whatever’s left over from being with Rihanna. Issa vibe. yuh dun know, ey?
What did you think of Drake’s new music and island influence? Buss a comment below!