It’s been less than a year since More Life dropped, but already Drake season is back. The Toronto rapper-singer extraordinaire promised on his last project that he would “be back in 2018 to give us the summary” of his exploits, and his new Scary Hours EP seems to be just that. The first of its two tracks, God’s Plan, has proven to be the smash hit, breaking streaming records the world over.
After a stunning couple years of success for young Drizzy, many commentators towards the end of 2017 were quick to suggest that we had already reached “peak Drake”. His sultry tones and attitude-laden bars were too oversaturated in the market, and he would soon be overtaken by new stars. The success of God’s Plan proves that isn’t quite yet the case. Even lyrically, Drake seems to be pointing fingers at his detractors, lamenting the many “bad things” that a non-specified “they” are wishing on him. Most Drake tracks seem to fall into one of a few categories lyrically. On some he croons about a long lost lover or object of unrequited affection, on some he angrily tears down and condemns his enemies, and on others he pompously celebrates his success. On God’s Plan, he does a bit of all of these, as he instructs his girls “not to pull up at 6AM to cuddle with him”, and proclaims that he “might go down as a god” in true Kanye-like fashion. Indeed, when listening to Drake in 2018, it’s rather hard to imagine the public image he had just a few years ago. Think back to the man who climbed the charts in 2011 with Take Care, skinny and clean shaven, and seemingly unable to move on from his alleged many heartbreaks at the hands of cruel women. Now, some many years later, the popstar Canadian is bearded up, beefed up, and glowed up. Still, we can sense that under the hard exterior, there remains a boy who might have shed a few tears when dumped by Rihanna, J Lo, or another of his several celebrity flings.
Part of the reason why Drake might have so easily cruised to the top of charts in both the UK, US, and Canada with this track is that it is a slight departure from his more recent work. Both Views and More Life were dominated by tropical, Caribbean-influenced numbers that, while popular, may have begun to grate on the ears of people by the 100th listen of One Dance or Passionfruit. God’s Plan, on the other hand, throws back to a simpler era of straight-forward, digestible pop-rap. There’s no island beats or dancehall features on this baby, and though that makes it a less adventurous musical outing, it may have also won back the fans who just want to hear Drake solo, spitting a few quotable lyrics and singing a catchy hook. If you don’t like the song, you better get used to it, because this one will be featuring on party playlists and club dance floors for some time to come.