Here’s Mychal Denzel Smith’s take on the Canadian performer Drake:
I can appreciate his attempts to disrupt the narrative of hyper-masculine posturing in hip-hop that often expresses itself in violent, sexist, and homophobic ways. But I make this concession on an intellectual level. I don’t actually feel like he has accomplished anything of any true value, regardless of his message. Drake’s music lacks the grit necessary to carry the themes he favors, the grit in the songs about all those things he was supposed to change. The stories don’t feel like his. His connection to them is too distant—and his talent too lacking—to breathe any life into the lyrics and give them full-throated existence.
I should be thrilled that the chest-thumping, nut sack-grabbing, false machismo that colors a lot of hip-hop music is largely absent from Drake’s catalog thus far. It should give me hope that it doesn’t sound like he hates the women he’s rapping about. His willingness to discuss feelings of vulnerability, rejection, lust, sadness, regret, and pain should be refreshing and welcome for someone who believes more men need to get in touch with these very emotions.
It should be, but it isn’t. It’s not always about the content; the messenger can sometimes be just as important as the message.