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Drake's single is musically sound; lyrically ambiguous

By Emily Herbst
On February 13, 2013


It's official: Drizzy's back at it. The Canadian-born 26-year-old rapper is once again cranking out the tracks and slowly dropping singles in preparation and promotion for his upcoming studio album. The fresh single, throbbing with 808s and attitude and devoid of Drake's typical sappiness, is entitled "Started From the Bottom." The popularity and download rate has been overwhelmingly large, but has also yielded mixed reactions. The song, just under two weeks old, already has a corresponding music video, hand-crafted by the singer himself.

"Started from the bottom, now we here" is the ongoing line, spoken with power and slight cockiness. Through this track, listeners get the full scoop on the Canadian artist's come-up in the rap world, feeling his pain seeping through each word, as though we had lived it ourselves.

The problem is that we're not sure what constitutes the "bottom" for Drake in this no-nonsense anthem. Growing up in the "slums" of suburban Toronto? Landing an 8-year acting job on the Canadian TV classic "Degrassi?" We know it wasn't poverty, the necessity of selling drugs or the pressures of gang violence. Perhaps it was his tricky car situation, "working all night, traffic on the way home and my uncle calling me like where ya at? I gave you the keys told ya bring it right back." Yes, Drake was dealt the card of not owning, but having to borrow a vehicle throughout his adolescent years. The details of his struggle-laden teenage life are still cloudy, but we can luckily affirm that it did not include busting gats and the like.

Okay, perhaps I'm being a tad harsh. The beat is tight, the song grows on you with each listen and head-bobbing ensues. But one must face the facts. There is truly no happy medium when it comes to the content of Drake's music. He's either drowning in his feelings or bragging about stacks, gold records and cars. And sadly, this song follows the trend.

The video is a quirky balance between retrospection and humor, showing flashbacks of Drake's childhood soccer games and drives through his hometown. He also depicts his young adulthood employment at Shoppers Drug Mart, a Walgreens-like chain based in Ontario. Goofing around the store with two other hoodlums, Drake shows us that there was enough fun with peers to keep him going when times were tough.

Despite all the above mockery and sarcasm, Drake is (and will always be) a guilty pleasure for much or nearly all of hip hop and rap fans. He just needs to pick a lane when it comes to the attitude he exudes, musically. Anticipation is growing for his new work, and we should keep our minds and ears open. 

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