SONG: DRAKE, “Fake Love”
History: “Fake Love” was released last October through an episode of Drake’s "OVO Sound Radio" program on Beats 1. It was sandwiched between a diss record to KiD CuDi and Drake acting like 21 Savage on “Sneakin,” even though 21 Savage was right there and far more menacing. Drake does this type of thing. If he’ll release a song attempting to impose his will on somebody (see the Meek Mill beef), he’ll slide in a pop record as a B-side. Currently, "Fake Love" is the No. 8 song in the country, which is another record for Drake in terms of Top 10 hits.
Could you imagine 2Pac delivering “Hit ’Em Up” as a lead single with “Dear Mama” or “Brenda’s Got a Baby” as the B-side? Or even wilder, a song with Boyz II Men? That’s how Drake games people, and in a way, you have to respect him for it. But you don’t have to respect “Fake Love,” which only really works when you’re drunk as hell at a bar surrounded by friends. It’s mostly annoying and insufferable everywhere else.
We’ve known that Drake loves to sing since at least 2008. Nine years later, he believes he’s a fully formed pop star who can do bachata and reggae, speak in a patois, and ultimately try to prove that he can be Andrea Bocelli in this bitch.
Why This Song Sucks: Drake, a guy notorious for being fake in certain situations, makes a song about people being fake to him. Its origins are a guy who has always wanted to be loved yet whose own hubris screws it all up. Also, Drake is less singing, more braying on “Fake Love” and that’s unfortunate for all those singing lessons he’s gotten.
So Drake Makes Pop Songs. That’s Nothing New: Drake is pretty hit-or-miss with his pop songs. Remember Thank Me Later, his debut album, on which a large chunk of the “pop” records were nestled in the front of the album and he sang “Fireworks” with Alicia Keys? Yikes. Drake really didn’t start nailing the formula until “Marvin’s Room,” an all-time creep anthem that fully enforced my longstanding belief that Drake will a) record you for a voicemail; b) use it as emotional fodder to say you should never leave him; and c) will share it with the entire world. Somehow he tapped into a goddamn gold mine with his pop records over the past four years, starting with “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” which is as close to '80s synthesized pop as you can get. “Hotline Bling” would have been his first No. 1 song if not for Adele’s return with “Hello.” The combination of “Work”/“Controlla” and “One Dance” set off numerous parties and social functions last year. Drake can make great pop songs. But “Fake Love” is not one of them.
Are There Terrible Lyrics? Name a Drake song without a terrible lyric. “I've been down so long, it look like up to me” is the very first line of “Fake Love,” a goofy-ass metaphor about being depressed while also realizing you are the dais for idol worship. I can imagine Drake sitting alone, paranoid out of his mind because he believes everybody wants to take his place in the world. Which is sort of true. You could name hundreds of people who wish they had a sneaker deal with Jordan Brand, an Apple Music deal, and had bedded a ton of women. But Drake talking about people wanting his spot and acting like Macbeth in the process over everything? It’s been a cycle of repetition from him. We get it.
Plus, it’s redundant to say that “fake people” show “fake love." Because if fake people showed anything real to you, that would make them...less artificial, no? Right. Drake is so paranoid that he’s yelling through tears right now.
Brief Examples of Paranoid Drake:
“Lord Knows,” 2011: “I don’t trust these hoes at all.” (No, not after you go through their cell phones, you don’t.)
“Know Yourself,” 2014: “Pray the real life forever man, pray the fakes get exposed.” (Ironically, this and a few other songs were the initial fire for the Drake versus Meek Mill beef.)
“Summer Sixteen,” 2016: “All you boys in the New Toronto want to be me a little.” (Drake versus Tory Lanez, which is more akin to somebody not named Drake stalking and playing “Single White Female” with his career.)
“9,” 2016: “I got it right now so I'm everybody's friend/ If I ever lose I bet we never speak again” (Self-explanatory.)
“Hype,” 2016: “My enemies wanna be friends with my other enemies/ I don't let it get to me” (But you do, otherwise you wouldn’t rap about it all the time.)
Fine, If “Fake Love” Were a Simpsons Character, Who Would It Be? Martin Prince in “Bart of Darkness.”
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Martin Prince? Precisely. I've once compared Drake to Hillary Clinton (still applies, by the way) without realizing that he truly is Martin Prince. He’s sort of privileged, smart and calculating, and people merely associate with Drake because he’s…Drake. When he does the layup lines for the University of Kentucky’s Midnight Madness, there’s a 3 percent cool factor there. When he hosts the ESPYs, there’s a 60 percent cool factor there. When he makes “Fake Love,” there’s a 0 percent cool factor, but people accept it because Drake. People accepted Martin Prince because he was rich, and in “Bart of Darkness,” he usurped all the coolness from Lisa Simpson because he got a bigger pool. What happens when fame gets too bright? The pool bursts, and Martin was left with his pants down.
Nobody cares about Martin Prince’s well-being. They’re only in it for the pool. And if any of those other kids had a pool, they’d be taking Martin Prince’s spot too. Circle of damn life.
Conclusion: Once upon a time, Drake made a song of himself mostly singing. It was called “Karaoke." It was terrible. Also, Drake's making a flat-out song about his paranoia like a terrible, tortured soul of his own doing is one of the most Drake things ever. No wonder it sounds perfect when you’re drunk in a glass case of emotion.