WARNING: This story contains graphic language.
The long-awaited new album by Toronto artist Drake has arrived.
Drake unleashed Scorpion, his explosive new 25-track album, onto streaming music services on Friday and he has delivered a confessional like we’ve never heard from him before.
While it’s a digital-only release at this point, Scorpion is being presented as a double-album that’s divided into two parts, one half rap songs and the other R&B tracks.
Scorpion, which clocks in at nearly 90 minutes, features an array of guest appearances by marquee rappers like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Future. It’s also packed with classic music samples from Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Lauryn Hill.
Here are seven things we learned listening to the 31-year-old artist’s fifth studio album, Scorpion.
1. Drake most likely has a child (but it is still not 100 per cent confirmed.)
The God’s Plan rapper appeared to confirm that he secretly fathered his first child — putting to rest a rumour that’s been circulating on gossip websites.
In May, rapper Pusha T declared that Drake had been hiding a child on his Drake exposé, The Story of Adidon.
“I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid,” the Toronto star raps on Emotionless. He continues, “From empty souls who just wake up and looked to debate / Until you starin’ at your seed, you can never relate.”
Other songs that reference his son include 8 Out of 10 (“Kiss my son on the forehead, then kiss your ass goodbye.”) and March 14, where he directly addresses the boy (“I only met you one time, introduced you to Saint Nick.”) and confesses he’s “embarrassed” to tell his divorced parents he’s “a co-parent” too.
“Single father, I hate when I hear it / I used to challenge my parents on every album / Now I’m embarrassed to tell them I ended up as a co-parent,” he says on March 14. “Always promised the family unit / I wanted it to be different because I’ve been through it / But this is the harsh truth now.”
2. Why Drake hasn’t responded to Pusha T’s diss track
Drake never retaliated against Pusha T again because his mentor, J. Prince, allegedly said that Drake’s response, which had apparently already been recorded, would’ve been too “overwhelming” and damaging to Kanye West’s family and Pusha T’s career.
On album opener Survival, Drake reveals why he stayed quiet, saying he didn’t want this rap beef to turn deadly: “I’ve seen this movie a hundred times, I know where it’s headed / Realize someone gotta die when no one will dead it / N***as gambling with their life for some content / That’s the type of lottery that could get your top picked.”
3. Jay-Z and Drake have made amends
Jay-Z is featured on Talk Up, meaning the two have made up since their last fallout. Drake had famously left Jay-Z and Kanye West’s verse off his album, Views.
When Zane Lowe asked Drake why he cut Jay-Z and West off of the song, Pop Style,Drake said that Jay-Z didn’t really do a verse.
“Really I just was trying to get Ye (Kanye) on it at first,” Drake explained, “and Ye just sent it to me like that: ‘Yo, Jay kind of just did my first few lines for me, and he was just here and that’s how we flexed it.’”
“Of course, people wanna hear Jay-Z rap, right,” Drake continued, “so hearing him do two lines, might be frustrating to a certain audience.”
The pair has put the drama behind them and reunited on Talk Up, where Jay-Z makes it clear that his verse was recorded as recently as last week due to his references to XXXTentacion’s murder and Trump.
“I got your president tweeting / I won’t even meet with him / Y’all killed X and let Zimmerman live / Streets is done,” Jay-Z raps.
4. Drake still has hard feelings towards Kanye West
Kanye West produced Pusha T’s most recent album which featured a track directed towards the Toronto rapper titled, Infrared.
Drake responded to Infared with his Duppy Freestyle, in which he disses West, rapping, “What do you really think of the n***a that’s making your beats?/ I’ve done things for him I thought he never would need / Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me / I pop style for 30 hours, then let him repeat.”
Drake recently attended the Wyoming recording sessions where West created his latest album, Ye. Drake contributed writing to West’s song, Yikes.
On Scorpion, Drake mocks West on his song 8 Out of 10, saying, “All sevens, no sixes’ — this is a reference to most of the Wyoming albums’ seven-song tracklists (Pusha T’s, West’s, Kid Cudi and West’s, Nas’ and Teyana Taylor’s — “Rest easy get some shut eye / Hold on, hold on / But I miss making ‘em pay.”
5. Drake addresses his record deal with Cash Money — suggesting he might be an independent artist now
The status of Drake’s label situation has been a topic of conversation for years. In 2016, Ebro Darden tweeted that Drake’s Cash Money deal would be over after More Life dropped — which didn’t happen.
In 2015, Birdman told Angie Martinez that Drake and Nicki Minaj wouldn’t be going anywhere, even if Lil Wayne got off Cash Money record label.
The same year, many people were wondering if Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late would count towards his Cash Monday deal — and it did.
On Is There More, Drake implies that Scorpion has fulfilled his contract: “Soon as this album drops, I’m outta the deal / In the house playin’ D’Angelo, How Does It Feel?” And he adds on Survival, “I’m pretty sure we got a label, I’m still independent,” referring to his own label, OVO Sound.
6. Paul Anka helped Drake with the unreleased Michael Jackson song
Fans were baffled when it was confirmed the Ottawa-born crooner was in the studio with Drake earlier this year.
It turns out the duo was putting a new spin on an unreleased Michael Jackson track Anka produced in the early 1980s. It Don’t Matter to Me was reworked into Drake’s mid-tempo Don’t Matter to Me, a brokenhearted love song punctuated by Jackson’s unmistakable voice on the chorus.
Many fans were shocked by the Jackson feature and took to Twitter to discuss it.
7. Drake boasts about his rap skills and thinks being No. 1 is very important
On Sandra’s Rose, Drake raps about how successful he is on the music charts. “Every title doing numbers like I’m Miss Adele,” he says.
He boasts about his success on Blunt Tint. “Double my price again / Top the charts, back in they hearts / N***a he strikes again, woah,” he raps.
Between the boasts about his rap skills and competitive nature, Drake pauses to consider what the pursuit of fame and fortune actually means in the bigger picture.
The question rings most strongly on Is There More, which throws his corporate deals and endless parade of women into the spotlight to ask, “Am I missin’ somethin’ that’s more important to find? Like healin’ my soul, like family time?” He doesn’t reach a conclusion on the song, which assures Drake still has plenty of conflicts to explore on his next album.
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Drake’s album comes with a self-aware editor’s note from Drake to his biggest critics:
Fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the album with some hilarious, emotional and excited posts.
You can stream Drake’s album, Scorpion, on Apple Music and Spotify.
—With files from the Canadian Press