Fatherhood, guest spots, and his abiding love for UK culture...
'Scorpion'

Like the rest of the world, we’ve spent the last 24 hours listening to Drake’s double-sided fifth studio album ‘Scorpion’.

Here are five things (and a couple of bonus things!) that we’ve taken away from the experience...

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Remaking Three 6 Mafia songs is the new real hip-hop
‘Talk Up’ sees Drake and Jay-Z trading bars over production from DJ Paul of legendary Memphis collective Three 6 Mafia (and samples N.W.A’s ‘Dopeman’).

Paying homage to Triple Six is a rite of passage for contemporary artists - not to mention an easy way to get a tried and tested banger. See: Cardi B’s ‘Bickenhead’, Rae Sremmurd’s ‘Powerglide’, G Herbo’s ‘Who Run It’, A$AP Ferg’s ‘Plain Jane’, J. Cole’s ‘No Role Modelz’… the list goes on.

Jay-Z references the murder of XXXTentacion on ‘Talk Up’
Although Florida rapper XXXTentacion’s murder occured just ten days prior to the release of ‘Scorpion’, Jay-Z makes reference to the murder of the 20-year-old on ‘Talk Up’.

In the midst of the ‘On The Run II’ tour with Beyoncé, he closes his post-hustler talk with: "Y'all killed X and let Zimmerman live, streets is done.”

Drake “collaborated” with Michael Jackson on ‘Don’t Matter To Me’
While much of the OVO Sound roster is heavily inspired by Michael Jackson, Drake managed to secure a posthumous appearance from the King of Pop on ‘Scorpion’.

Earlier this year Drake was revealed to be in the studio with 76-year-old Canadian legend Paul Anka. It turns out that the pair were working on the ‘Don’t Matter To Me’, an unreleased MJ song that was produced by Anka, which appears on Side B.

Ty Dolla $ign is the king of contemporary music
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the influx of new music that’s being released this Summer, and somehow it feels like one artist has been present across most of it.

This month alone, Ty Dolla $ign has appeared on Kanye West’s ‘ye’ and Kids See Ghosts, Teyana Taylor’s ‘K.T.S.E’. He’s joined 6LACK for new single ‘Switch’, Buddy for ‘Hey Up There’ and Stanaj on ‘Dirty Mind’.

And if that wasn’t enough he’s released a video for his single ‘Pineapple’ and the brilliant collaborative single ‘The Light’ with Jeremih from their forthcoming ‘MihTy’ album. The singer, songwriter and producer makes his latest appearance on ‘Scorpion’ standout ‘After Dark’ - which also features, and is produced by, the late Static Major - as well as providing backing vocals on ‘Jaded’.

Whatever his involvement in a track, from backing vocals to leading the parade, Ty Dolla’s presence never fails to elevate a track and his consistency should be noted.

Pusha T wasn’t lying: Drake opens up about his hidden child
During a beef with Pusha T at the end of last month, Pusha revealed that Drake has a son to adult film star Sophie Brussaux, accusing him of hiding the child on the brutal diss track ‘The Story Of Adidon’. Soon after the beef was squashed by Rap-A-Lot Records CEO, J. Prince, and Drake hasn’t spoken on it until the release of ‘Scorpion’.

While there is nothing on here to reignite his situation with Pusha, Drake does make several references to his son. On ‘Emotionless’ he raps: “I wasn’t hiding my kid from the world, I was hiding the world from my kid.”

And the album’s closer ‘March 14’ sees him reflecting upon the day he found out that his son was born, admitting that as the child of separated parents he’s embarrassed to have ended up a co-parent: “Single father, I hate it when I hear it/ I used to challenge my parents on every album.”

By the end of the track he talks to his son directly, expressing his hopes to make up with Brussaux and closing, “We’ll talk more when you hear this, my G.”

Bonus: Stefflon Don appears on the album
Similar to Dave’s appearance on ‘More Life’, Drake enlists London rapper Stefflon Don and her crew to speak on the outro of Disc Two opener ‘Peak’. Steff took to her Instagram to reveal her presence on the album, writing: 

Bonus: The album was inspired by a bunch of UK artists
After releasing the album, Drake took to Instagram to reveal some of the music that inspired him during the ‘Scorpion’ recording process. Unsurprisingly this included legends like 2Pac and Biggie, and US rising stars like Lil Baby and Gunna, but also saw him looking to his “second home” London for new sounds.

The series of Instagram story posts revealed that Octavian’s ‘Hands’ and Ama Lou’s ‘TBC’ were both on heavy rotation during ‘Scorpion’ sessions, as was Loski’s ‘Call Me Loose’ mixtape.

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Words: Grant Brydon

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