All the talk of Ubers and wi-fi codes on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late got me thinking about my favourite Drake lyrics of all time.
I’m not saying these are the best (it’s impossible to be objective about this sort of thing) but this is a selection of some of the hundreds that have stuck in my head over the years.
10. ‘FOREVER’ FEAT. KANYE WEST, LIL WAYNE AND EMINEM
In your city faded off the brown, Nino
She insist she got more class, we know
Swimming in the money, come and find me, Nemo
If I was at the club you know I balled, chemo
Everyone on ‘Forever’ was trying to outdo each other (bear in mind it was the last time Kanye and Drake would rap on the same track for five years!) but only Drizzy could cobble together a punch line flow out of a Spike Lee character, a Pixar title and a cancer joke and make it sound classic.
9. ‘WU-TANG FOREVER’
When you see your enemy somewhere in the club and you realise
He just not in a position to reciprocate your energy
You ain’t ever worried cos he’s not who he pretends to be
A male model started on me in the club a few years back in what must have been the most pathetic beef in history. He called me “morally reprehensible” and I told him to be careful using words he couldn’t spell. In 2012 Drake’s crew allegedly smashed a bottle over Chris Brown’s head. I guess we’re all growing up.
8. ‘CLUB PARADISE’
I be with my ni**a Chubbs, he in love with street shit,
No wonder why I feel awkward at this fashion week shit,
No wonder why I keep fucking up the double cheek kiss
And long for that ignorant Young Money Miami beach shit
Drizzy’s output is so high (I’m counting well over 100 songs on my iTunes) that it’s easy to miss some of his great moments in the stuff he puts out between albums or official mixtapes. This line’s perfect, even though I can’t imagine Drake fucking up a double cheek kiss in a million years. It was hard to choose between this and the “mountain of truth/fountain of youth” line in ‘Club Paradise’ – that whole run up to Take Care was such a great era.
7. ‘5AM IN TORONTO’
Give these ni**as the look, the verse, and even the hook
That’s why every song sounds like Drake featuring Drake
Arrogance justified by eloquence. Four five seconds from Oscar Wildin’.
6. RICK ROSS FEAT. DRAKE – ‘MADE MEN’
Spending tomorrow’s money, I call it mañana
Off the rack just ain’t my style, I call it designer
One of my baddest women ever, I call her Rihanna
But that’s cos her name is Rihanna!
Drake’s had a few relationships with Rihanna, which puts him a few steps ahead of the rest of the human race. He’s also clearly as excited about it as we are – reminding us of it on at least five tracks. The reference above is the most brazen and hilarious, taking the piss out of Rozay referring to his Bugatti as Katy Perry and his S65 as Rihanna. In an ideal world Drake and Ri would marry and become the Return of the Jedi of great 21st century rap couples. It’s not out the question – as he tells his mum on ‘You And The 6’, “I’m always back with you know who.”
5. ‘SHUT IT DOWN’ FEAT. THE-DREAM
Who told the cops where the party was?
Why do I feel like I found the one?
What’s in these shots that you ordered us? Damn.
Even though Drake’s half-time verse in the middle of ‘Shut It Down’’s seven syrupy minutes is kind of corny, I’ve always loved this line. Drake said on ‘Lust for Life’ that he tends to “think of today as the past”, and here he perfectly sums up the apex of a massive night – the moment you realise you’ve peaked and start to feel the euphoria turning into nostalgia long before the comedown kicks in. Damn.
4. ‘DAYS IN THE EAST’
Remember one night I went to Erykah Badu house, she made tea for me
We talked about love and what life could really be for me
She said, “when that shit is real you just know”
And I was thinkin’ ‘bout you, you already know
I had tea with my mum once and she told me the same thing but I didn’t believe her until I heard it from the horse’s mouth (Erykah Badu via Drake obviously).
3. ‘CREW LOVE’ FEAT. THE WEEKND
Smoking weed under star projectors
I guess we’ll never know where Harvard gets us
But seeing my family have it all
Took the place of that desire for diplomas on the wall
One of the best verses on Take Care starts with a massive shout out to everyone who never finished filling out their UCAS form. This line also directly inspired me buying my ex a star projector a couple of Christmases ago. We broke up before we ever got to smoke weed underneath it though which felt like a Drake lyric in itself.
2. ‘SAY WHAT’S REAL’
Lost some of my hottest verses down in Cabo
So if you find a Blackberry with the side scroll
Sell that motherfucker to any rapper that I know
Cause they need it much more than I ever will
I got that new shit, I’m getting better still
Like many great rappers, I’ve always written lyrics on whatever handset I’ve been blessed with at the time – so this line got about 10 rewinds on first listen. Though unlike Drake, who can play it cool knowing he’s got bars for days, I once stood outside the T-Mobile shop on Holloway road from 9am waiting for it to open (having bitten through the screen of my 8800 during a particularly ‘adventurous’ night) before begging them to retrieve all the lyric notes that were sadly lost forever.
1. ‘LORD KNOWS’ FEAT. RICK ROSS
I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryna push me,
I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy.
If you had to define Drake in a single lyric this might be the one. Not only is he in touch with his feelings but he’s proud of it, even though people laugh at him behind his back. It doesn’t get much more real than that. Sad boys for life. If this line had existed when I was a teenager I could’ve probably skipped the entire Smiths discography.
Fred’s band Spector have a new single out called ‘All The Sad Young Men’. Watch the video, directed by Laura Baker, below.