Where music is right now, it seems that no matter what Drake does, it'll go platinum. Whether it's dishing out monotonous, overplayed hits, making a viral music video, or getting exposed by Pusha T with another disstrack, Drake seems to always come out on top. His new record is a testament to that, but also comes with its weak moments. Drake has many hits and misses in Scorpion, and its largely side-based.
Scorpion is a double album, split into a more hip-hop centric side and an R&B side. The first side, the hip-hop side, is where things really peak. Despite featuring 'God's Plan,' which is inoffensive even in the context of the record but is stale from being overplayed (and is really only worth the one verse everyone knows), and the whiny single 'I'm Upset,' this side of the record is where Drake consistently delivers good material. 'Survival' brings things to an okay start, Drake's flow sounding uncertain and the beat playing things safe as he raps about his experience in the industry. Half of the beats on this side of the record are pretty average and don't engage you, like with 'Elevate' (which is entirely dull), but there are plenty of great moments, particularly in the second half. Drake takes it old-school with some Kanye West-style beats in 'Sandra's Rose,' and keeps that roll going with darker textures in 'Talk Up' where JAY-Z comes in and really takes the song to a new level. The beat in 'Is There More' is creepy and very engaging, though its not always just the beat that keeps things moving. Drake acknowledges all the controversy he's been in recently - including his son - in one nasty bar: "I wasn't hidin' my kid from the world / I was hidin' the world from my kid."
Things sort of fall apart in the second side of the album, though. While Drake seems to be vicious and ready to pounce on the first half of the album, the second side sees him return to the monotone of his R&B tracks. The slow and dull 'Peak' brings it in, sounding very uninspired based on the tracks that had just come before it. 'Jaded' confirms that Drake is unwilling to shake up this boring, typical attitude of his, and it carries through with tracks like 'Ratchet Happy Birthday' and 'After Dark,' where Ty Dolla $ign and Static Major really don't add much to the song. The Michael Jackson feature doesn't really add anything to 'Don't Matter To Me,' either, and though the melodies are nice it really seems like he went for the shock effect than anything else there. 'Final Fantasy' even manages to see a deader flow than what he was already delivering, though sometimes he masked it with big beats to hide that face like in 'Nice For What.' 'Summer Games' is the only song that stands out above the rest on this half, and it's almost a complete departure from what Drake's done before. The synths sound warm and loud as Drake croons uncharacteristically sweetly above it, really selling it as a feel good summertime song.
Drake has many hits and misses in Scorpion, with a solid hip-hop side and a weak R&B half setting the tone for the entire record. It's not as much of a cop-in as More Life was, and though it definitely is far from perfect, it's a better effort than we expected all the same. Now if he could commit to the same drive he had for the second half of the hip-hop side of the album, he'd really be in business.
Favorite Tracks: Talk Up, Summer Games, Is There More
Least Favorite Tracks: Peak, Ratchet Happy Birthday, Finesse, Blue Tint
Rating: 72 / 100
Stream or buy Scorpion on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: