What a time to be alive…if you were to tell me ten years ago that one day I’d see Jimmy Brooks from Degrassi out of his wheelchair and adored by a nation for his fondue party-inspired dance moves, I would be more than a bit skeptical. Yet in spite of how implausible that scenario seems, that is the sublime reality we live in. Drake’s latest music video went from 0 to 100 real quick, becoming an overnight internet meme, and inspiring countless numbers of video remixes featuring The Boy doing everything from playing Wii Sports to tossing around Poké Balls. Although, a very important conversation was lost in the mad scramble to share the dankest of memes. Drake or Champagnepapi (a pseudonym he uses on Instagram) promotes some misogynistic ideals in “Hotline Bling” and that should have us all stressed out.
What is Drake stressed about? Well from the opening verse it seems clear that he doesn’t like the fact that his ex-girl started “wearing less and going out more.” He’s stressed that she used to be a “good girl” that stayed home. Drake is stressed because his ex has formed an individual sense of self and sexuality, that her personality is no longer tied to him. This is a song about sex shaming. How convenient is it that she can get nasty with Drake, but the moment she stops “blinging” his hotline she’s no longer a “good girl.” What is the term “good girl” supposed to imply anyways? It seems like Drake views her as some misbehaving adult child not following orders. It seems that Drake is infatuated with the idea of obedient women too. In ‘Preach’, Drake says he wants to get out of Miami because girls there are too messy and aren’t good at “taking direction.” While that was just a single line, the entirety of Hotline Bling shows Drake being petty and possessive.
Although Drake, who also goes by 6 God, isn’t all bad, I think the fact that he allows himself to express emotional vulnerability is a great message to males who view him as a role model, at least to some degree. Although it’s that style that makes it so much easier for Drake to hide misogynistic messages in his lyrics. Rap has always been littered with misogyny, from objectification to just plain violence against women, but it’s always been aggressive. Drake’s tracks harbors a decidedly softer tone that invite you to let down your guard, making inherent misogyny that much easier to conceal.
It’s easy to just want to hold on and go home with Drake, but we need to analyze and be critical of the media we consume. What kind of message are we communicating when we say that Drake being petty and possessive is “adorable?” I mean his dancing like a dork is adorable sure, but shaming of women who aren’t domestic goddesses isn’t. Drake is pioneering a new style of rap music largely influence by R&B and being all in your feelings. This new style also holds traditional misogyny that acts as a slight undertone but can still be just as dangerous.