Opinion: Drake Is the Wal-Mart of Music

Drake is the Wal-Mart Of Music. The Microsoft of the rap game. One might even compare him to your local Comcast, because at this point he’s a downright utility–something that we use every day but don’t think passionately about.

Drake is not a scrappy startup anymore, looking to innovate new ideas or disrupt a marketplace. To the contrary, like these Fortune 500 companies, his goal is to maximize shareholder value. If he were on the New York Stock Exchange, he would be that safe, reliable stock, that I would love to have in my mutual fund.

Large companies are reluctant to change, and similarly, Drake continues to push the exact same music that we have reliably come to know and expect from him. He’s in his feelings. He can’t take it with some girl he’s dating. He still has haters that want to test him (“I’m Upset” anyone?).

And because we are consummate consumers, we always come back for more. Drake’s Scorpion has beaten streaming records on both Apple Music and Spotify and will most certainly become the top album in the country by a landslide.

As a fan of his music from some time, however, Drake was not a old school company, but a scrappy startup. As a recording artist, he helped re-define a genre and push a new dynamic to the rap game. But it seems that Drizzy has hit his plateau. Scorpion, was simply mediocre. The 25 track epic maybe has around 5 or 6 tracks you really want to come back to on any given day. In addition, there were no bombshell retaliations for the Pusha diss, no banging summer track (other than “Nice For What” and “God’s Plan” which were released in the spring), and no real surprises (Drake, we already knew you were hiding a child).

Considering the fact that he can count the monster streams of “God’s Plan” and “Nice for What” towards album releases, Drake knew he had enough corporate support that any new album release going to #1 was a given. With that background, it’s not surprising that Drizzy completely avoided and later took the L on his rap feud with Pusha T and continued on with his album marketing campaign. Pusha could’ve released footage of Drake doing a modern minstrel show and–on a financial level at least–he would still win the summer.

WIth all of the clout and cultural cachet that Drake, unlike his peers in the industry, is in the unique position to take more risks with his music. He’s no stranger to moving the cultural needle, and with the culture still at his side, Scorpion could have become made a concise, quality project.

But is Drake even motivated by quality anymore?