I didn’t think anyone this summer could top Fetty Wap and Future. The former had about a billion singles — it seemed like every other song on the radio was one of his. The latter dropped his third project in six months in the middle of July. Fetty, Future and The Weeknd (who appeared on the Hot 100 PLENTY with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills“) ruled the summer of 2015. Until Meek Mill called out Drake for not writing his own lyrics. All the attention for the next two
weeks months was on Drake and, subsequently and unfortunately for him, Meek Mill.
Drake released “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” which wound up charting as high as No. 21 in Billboard‘s Hot 100, in response to Meek Mill’s accusations. The summer was now Drake’s. He “won” the battle that Meek unpreparedly created, but it’s really because Meek didn’t think Drake was doing something in return. It took Meek over a week and a half to release his first “diss,” which was “Wanna Know,” but it was far too late. Drake piled on and on and on, including a couple shots and rumored third and ultimate diss that was set to release at the end of OVO Fest. That final song never came out, but it didn’t matter at that point. The damage was done. Meek has been silent since, even after releasing his most commercially successful album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, a couple weeks previous to the “beef.”
In the middle of it all, though, Drake released two additional songs, “Right Now” and “Hotline Bling,” because we all knew the tough version of Drake wouldn’t be here without his soft, easily criticized side. “Hotline Bling,” a couple weeks after it’s release (and after being played out in my car and home), started to bubble with mainstream America.
On August 22, three weeks after its release, it charted at No. 66 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 and two months later, it hit as high as No. 2. The end of the summer really was Drake’s. And in between, he dropped an album with the guy whom he took the crown from, Future, with What A Time To Be Alive.
Drake, and especially “Hotline Bling,” are easy to digest, which allows for millions on millions to relate and enjoy. The production isn’t anything crazy, and “ever since I left the city YOU,” followed by whatever nonsensical issue Drake has with a girl moving on, is easy to sing along and enjoy, no matter how irritating Drake’s issues may be.
Over the last year, Drake’s minimalistic approach to his music (i.e. “Legend,” “0 to 100,” “Know Yourself“) has allowed him to become so much bigger than anyone really thought he could be. The beef with Meek, and then releasing a hot single (AND a hot album with the second hottest emcee in the game) was the perfect formula to win over nearly the entire rap world — even if he doesn’t write his own rhymes, which is the gravest crime anyone who considers himself one of the “greatest ever” can be accused of.
“Hotline Bling,” for me, will symbolize this summer more than “Charged Up” or “Back to Back” will. It’s more of a typical Drake song — one that fits the vibe of the summer much better than the two diss tracks did and is full of love and complaints. And it symbolizes Drake’s power more than anything. He drops two anti-Meek tracks, swipes away the man who came at him after selling 250,000 copies of an album, and continued on with his life as if the man never existed, making a song he dropped within the beef one of the top songs in the country.
I hope this visual can symbolize the end of the absolute bat-shit-insane summer, because I’m damn tired of hearing/writing about it. (Not to mention, this video is pretty damn forgettable.) I’m ready for this cold ass winter, and I’m hoping the rap world’s music follows suit.
Directed by Director X, Drake’s simplistic “Hotline Bling” video can be seen below, courtesy of Apple Music.
And since I know y’all are looking for the .gifs, I’ve included a few below.