King Aubrey is doing numbers. Scorpion debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the biggest sales week of the year (and record-breaking streaming numbers), which gives Drake his eighth No.1 album and brings him closer to rarefied territory (only the Beatles, Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley have more No. 1 albums).

But that’s not where the real news is. The real news is on the Billboard Hot 100, where all 25 tracks from Scorpion charted this week and “Nice for What” rebounds to No. 1 for an eighth non-consecutive week. The records being set and extended are plentiful, so stick with me:

  • Most concurrent entries on the Billboard Hot 100 (27 — all of Scorpion‘s tracks plus two others)
  • Most concurrent entries in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 (seven)
  • Most concurrent entries in the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100  (12)
  • Extends his lead as solo artist with the most Billboard Hot 100 entries (186 — second only to the Glee cast)
  • First song to have four stints at No.1 (“Nice for What”)
  • Most simultaneous debuts in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 (four)
  • Most Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits among solo male artists (31 — third to Madonna’s 37 and the Beatles’ 34)

It’s worth noting that two of the songs that interrupted the “Nice for What” reign were viral hits as opposed to songs that actually held the consciousness of the general public. Just eight weeks after its No. 1 debut, Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” (one of the interrupters) is sitting at No. 24, which kinda supports my initial assessment of that song. The good news is that all these interruptions allowed Drake to set another record while demonstrating what true staying power looks like.

There aren’t many artists who have had this good of a run in popular music, and in hip-hop, it is almost unheard of. People may have their reservations about Drake, but his achievements speak for themselves and deserve every bit of respect.

I don’t expect much when it comes to music videos because very few will be above average, and that’s fine. Sometimes, an artist might surprise you by releasing a video that’s really good, and other times, they will surprise you by doing the opposite. The latter is the case for Nicki Minaj’s “Bed.”

I understand that there isn’t a lot of new ground to break as far as music videos are concerned, but I like to see that an artist at least tried. Nicki didn’t try; she gave us a boring-ass video where she is looking constipated in what’s meant to be a sexy bedroom shot. There’s supposed to be a second video (or a second “edit”, as Nicki calls it), so I am hopeful; this can’t be it, especially when you consider that Nicki has been teasing the video for like two weeks as if she was about to blow our minds.

In any case, “Bed” is dope track, and both Nicki and Ariana look good in the video, which also features a cameo from Odell Beckham Jr. and an unsubtle product placement for Lyft. Peep the clip below.

From the king of blue-eyed soul to the queen. Teena Marie has long been crowned the Ivory Queen of Soul, and with the exception of maybe Linda Lyndell, I can’t think of any white woman who has ever sung with this much soul; not Celine, not Adele, not Ariana.

“Déjà Vu (I’ve Been Here Before)” is an album cut from her debut release, Wild and Peaceful. It’s a beautifully written song about having lived before and how we will all keep being reincarnated until we stop living in sin — so I guess I’ll be coming back. The true patrons of the arts will know this one, but if you’ve never heard it, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy.

Zayn made a cover of Beyoncé’s classic mid-tempo, “Me, Myself and I.” The song, co-written by Bey, Scott Storch and Robert Waller, was the third single from her solo debut, Dangerously in Love, and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is a personal favorite and a song that requires real vocal ability, so I was nervous when I saw that Zayn, of all people, covered it. But I was curious, so I clicked anyway.


In the words of Erica Dixon, I am disgusted. I don’t like shit like this. Where is his fucking integrity? Where are his morals? Where are his values? As a fucking singer, as a human. Where? Where are they?

This cover did not need to happen. It did not need to happen because he simply doesn’t have the range (and doesn’t know how to harmonize for shit). Excuse me while I go listen to the original to erase this from my memory.

Late last night, Ella Mai dropped the remix to her smash hit, “Boo’d Up,” featuring verses from Nicki Minaj and Quavo (who are both credited as lead artists). It’s what I’d describe as a lazy remix (i.e. guest verses are added to the original song as is); this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the original song is so huge and the guest verses are anything short of spectacular, it can be particularly underwhelming.

Early reviews appear to be unanimously negative, but I don’t think it is terrible. We could definitely do without Quavo’s verse and the phone call at the end, but what can you do? Listen below.


PS: That phone ringing at the end had me thinking I had a phone call.

A new trailer for Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story has just been released. The six-part docu-series, co-executive-produced by Jay-Z , takes an in-depth look at the murder of Trayvon Martin and the gross miscarriage of justice that followed. The incident was a seminal moment for the Black Lives Matter movement, and in some ways, further catalyzed the groundswell of loud white supremacy that was already taking place as a result of having a black president.

George Zimmerman, the racist wannabe-cop who killed Trayvon, has not been able to stay out of trouble in the years since. Watch the trailer below.


Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story is set to premier on July 30 on the Paramount Network.

Let me start by saying that I won’t be doing this very often because reviews are a bit of a heavy lift. They’re also very subjective, and I am of the opinion that there are no real experts when it comes to consuming works of art. I also kind of grew up hating music reviews because a lot of my favorite artists were always maligned by the critics at RollingStone and all the other major music publications. In many ways, that is where my playful but sorta serious disdain for hipsters was born.

That being said, Drake’s Scorpion is one of those albums I would describe as a cultural moment. One of the biggest artists in the industry — by far the most bankable rapper today — who happens to be on the losing end of a beef with a crusty middle-aged man is dropping an album that is supposed to answer a lot of burning questions. Did he really have a baby by a porn star? Is he coming back with that draco for that man with braids? Spoiler alert: Yes to the first question and no to the second.

While I would love to see Drake obliterate that other guy, this moment is so much bigger. Already eligible for platinum certification, the two-disc set has broken streaming records at Apple Music and Spotify, with the former Apple Music record being held by Drake himself. Of course, numbers aren’t always a true reflection of quality, but in this case, they very much are. Scorpion is a comprehensive body of work that deserves all the accolades.

Side A, made up of all rap tracks, gets off to a slow start with “Survival,” which talks about Drake’s adversaries over the years, including Meek Mill and Diddy (but no mention of Pusha T). The next track, “Nonstop,” didn’t move me at all on the first listen, but after a few more plays, it grows on you. The song includes a line about being light-skinned “but still a dark nigga,” which is presumably a response to Pusha’s digs at his blackness. I’m gonna admit that I don’t know what to make of that line, but users at Genius.com interpret it as Drake declaring that he has a dark persona despite his light skin. Anyway, moving along.

“Elevate” sounds like something off of the Take Care album and gives us the first appearance of R&B Drake. The song features what is sure to be one of the most popular Instagram captions this summer (and perhaps for years to come): “I wanna thank God for working way harder than Satan.” If nothing else, this album is an Instagram caption mine.

Three tracks in, nothing is jumping at me quite yet. Cue “Emotionless.”

Side A’s fourth track samples the MTV Unplugged version of Mariah Carey’s “Emotions,” with the opening vocals being looped throughout song. From a lyrical standpoint, this is a shining moment on the album, with Drake prophesying that he won’t be loved till he’s gone (a sad but likely truth) and pointing out that he has surpassed many of his predecessors, which has evoked a bit of envy among said predecessors. He also calls out the lameness of social media flexing and, for the first time on the album, talks about his love child, explaining that he wasn’t hiding his kid from the world, but that he was hiding the world from his kid. Good save, Aubrey.

The next two tracks are “God’s Plan” and “I’m Upset,” two of the album’s three lead singles. They’ve been out for a minute, so I don’t think a lengthy assessment is needed. “God’s Plan” is a bona fide jam and the biggest hit of the year so far, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for 11 weeks. “I’m Upset,” on the other hand, is just not it; also, the line “Can’t go fifty-fifty with no ho” did not age well at all.

“8 out of 10” is a certified chune that sounds like a throwback to pre-fame Drake (“Zone” comes to mind). The song, which includes another mention of his son, is about as close to a direct Pusha response as we get:

Kiss my son on the forehead then kiss your ass goodbye
As luck would have it, I’ve settled into my role as the good guy
I guess luck is on your side
I guess luck is on your side


This amounts to saying “you lucky they holding me back!” I wouldn’t have bothered with it, but it is what it is. Dope song either way.

Drake declares that he is sick of these niggas on “Mob Ties,” where he raps about putting a hit on his enemies. The lyrics to this song are boring by Drake standards, but the beat is decent. This assessment also applies to the next track, “Can’t Take a Joke”; in fact, the beats of both songs are very similar.

“Sandra’s Rose,” an obvious word play on the name of the messy Atlanta-based blogger, is an ode to his mother, also named Sandra. Lyrically speaking, the track is one of the stronger performances on the album and sounds very different from your typical Drake song — it almost sounds like something Jay-Z would make. Drake talks about his struggles leading up to fame and success, and how he pulled himself and his mother “out of a living hell.” In a hilarious and unexpected dig, Drake raps, “Like Charlamagne, I see the light and see the darkest patches,” which is a reference to the popular radio host (and Drake hater) who bleaches his skin (while routinely making fun of light-skinned people). Poor guy.

We go from a Hov-sounding song to a song that features the man himself; I can’t help but feel like this was intentional. “Talk Up” is flex central, with both rappers talking their respective shits about career success and material possessions. Jay-Z concludes his verse on a more serious note: “Y’all killed X and let Zimmerman live, streets is done.” The X in question is XXXTentacion, who was killed in his home state of Florida, where George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin six years ago and still walks free. I would never advocate for the murder of anyone (and I don’t think Hov is advocating for that either), but it really makes you wonder about the streets. Like wyd?

“Is There More” brings even more flexing from Drake, but this time, he is also introspecting, asking if there is more to life than money and fame. In one line, he says if you combine his peers sales numbers and multiplied by two, they’d still be less than what what he has sold, which is factual. Drake also admits that his moral compass breaks in the south, evidenced by his taste for Houston strippers. The song ends with Nai Palm from Hiatus Kaiyote singing a few lines from Aaliyah’s “More Than a Woman.”

We’re now on Side B, where Drake does more singing than rapping. It starts with “Peak,” which is the first song that I can unequivocally classify as trash. Sonically, it’s like “Marvin’s Room,” except the melody isn’t as good and the lyrics aren’t as clever. The opening line is “Treat you like princess / Rest in heaven, Diana”; I am very generous in my assessment of song lyrics, and I am here to tell you that that ain’t it.

“Summer Games” is somewhat of a step in the right direction. It’s as pop as we’ve probably ever heard from Drake, and I don’t use that classifier carelessly. It has a slight EDM quality that would remind you of David Guetta and Usher’s “Without You,” and the drums sound like the ones on “Too Good,” Drake’s collabo with Rihanna on Views.

“Jaded” is more “Marvin’s Room” redux. It’s boring, but vocally, it’s the first time Drake has ever sounded like an R&B singer as opposed to a rapper attempting to sing R&B. The song is about a minute too long.

The next song is “Nice for What,” which is arguably the best song on the album. The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for seven non-consecutive weeks. Three months later, the song still goes.

“Finesse” is another descendant of “Marvin’s Room,” just with a bit more of a beat. Its chorus is far superior to those of “Peak” and “Jaded,” and the song would probably be better appreciated if there weren’t at least two other songs in the same vein. If Drake is going to commit to singing, he is going to have to broaden his range in sound and subject matter.

“Ratchet Happy Birthday” doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of its title, but it is exactly what I mean when I ask for range. It’s unlike any of Drake’s sung tracks; the production sounds like something No I.D. or Kanye would make — it’s very Chicago. I’m not sure what to make of the random-ass “brrrrrrrr” in the chorus, but it’s a dope track and features PartyNextDoor on background vocals.

“That’s How You Feel” is another good one. The chorus is catchy as hell and features snippets of Nicki Minaj’s live performance of her remix to PTAF’s “Boss Ass Bitch.” The extra minute on “Jaded” should have been allocated to this song, which is only 2 minutes 38 seconds long.

“Blue Tint” is classic Drake and features an uncredited Future. Drake opens the track with “Look who I’m fucking again,” a line that is already very popular on social media. Unlike most of Side B, this song is all rap and I am sure I am not alone when I say I am thankful for it.

“In My Feelings” is exactly the kind of song title that earns Drake a lot of ridicule from all the wannabe-tough guys of the world. They’re just going to have to find a way to get over it because this song knocks. Drake is singing and rapping on this one, which features snippets from Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and Magnolia Shorty’s “Smoking Gun.” The song switches to a Louisiana bounce beat towards the end.

“Don’t Matter To Me” features, ahem, Michael Jackson. The only issue is that MJ sounds like the rumored imposter on that Michael album released the year after the King died. I’ll admit that I was too distracted by the Michael feature to fully appreciate this song, but it is not terrible.

On “After Dark” (featuring Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign), Drake is on his Usher and Ginuwine shit. It sounds like an R&B song from the early 2000s and I am not in the least bit mad. Ty Dolla completely outsings Drake, but that is to be expected. This song — which kinda sounds like a 7 Aurelius production — is going to be the soundtrack to a lot of Netflix & Chills this summer.

“Final Fantasy,” as one might guess, is all about sex. In the first half, Drake is rapping on a beat that reminds me of Mario Winans’ “I Don’t Wanna Know.” In the second half, the song switches to one of those boring “Marvin’s Room”-esque songs I mention earlier in this review; it does have a quotable, though: “You’ve got options, but I’ve been chosen.” Look out for that one in Instagram captions this summer.

The album’s last song, “March 14,” is about — you guessed it — his son, Adonis. The date is supposedly when the paternity test was taken, but who really knows. We hear a rapping Drake express shame about the single father title, especially in light of always criticizing his parents for not maintaining one family unit. He mentions his mom always warning him about slipping up, which he did with his child’s mother, who — based on the lyrics — he slept with just one time and only met twice. He concludes the first half of the song by saying he and his son — also born in October — will talk more when he’s old enough to listen to his dad’s music. The second part of “March 14” ends the album on a poignant note:

No one to guide me, I’m all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I’m changing from boy to a man
No one to guide me, I’m all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I’m changing from boy to a man
I’m all alone
No one to cry on
I need shelter from the rain
To ease the pain
I’m changing from boy to a man


And it is this kind of sincerity and courage to be vulnerable that makes people love Drake so much. Scorpion isn’t perfect and definitely isn’t as good as Views, but it is a very strong showing from a rapper who is now almost a decade into his career (as a signed artist). I give it an 8 out of 10 — no pun intended.

Silk shirts, gold chains and machine guns. The “Narcos” video is an homage to Miami-drug-lord luxe life, complete with the naked coke lab workers. The song is not my favorite, but the Migos have the juice right now, so people will eat it up. The production sounds like what people are now calling “latin trap” and has a very similar feel to Cardi B’s “I Like It” — you could actually sing the “I Like It” chorus over the
“Narcos” beat and it fits perfectly. Watch the video — shot at Madonna’s Miami mansion without her knowledge — below.

In the Throwback Thursday post featuring Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes,” I mention white artists that get too much praise for making passable imitations of black art. Ed Sheeran, though classified as pop on his Wikipedia page, is very much one of those white artists in question.

In fact, Ed Sheeran doesn’t just imitate style and cadence, he swagger-jacks with impunity. His 2014 hit, “Thinking Out Loud,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Song of the Year,  is a flagrant rip-off of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” (written by Gaye and Ed Townsend). But before we go any further, please listen for yourself:

Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”


Marvin Gaye – “Let’s Get It On”

And not a single credit to Gaye or Townsend in sight. Where they do that at?

In 2016, Ed Sheeran — along with the co-writers and producer of the song — was sued by the family of Ed Townsend. In the time since that suit, the heirs of Townsend sold their stake in the publishing royalties (which is said to be a third) to Structured Asset Sales, a company that appears to specialize in royalties-based investments. After the sale, the company tried to be included as a plaintiff in the first suit, but was denied by the courts, so it is now filing a separate suit for $100 million. The Hollywood Reporter has all the messy details.

As it stands, Ed Sheeran still hasn’t been sued by the Gaye estate, which owns two-thirds of “Let’s Get It On” and was awarded over $5 million in a plagiarism suit against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams (for “Blurred Lines”). The estate will also receive 50% of that song’s future royalties.

Wanna know who else might have a solid case against Ed Sheeran? Tracy Chapman. For what song, you ask? Every song he has ever made because it all sounds like Tracy Chapman.