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Drake: Pointing at the fences. (photo by Samantha Hissong)
DRAKE'S BABE RUTH MOMENT

Drake has already proven himself to be a leading storyteller of our times. That's why a generation quotes him—from "yolo" and “0 to 100 now we’re here,” to last year’s “rolling through the 6 with my woes,” not to mention the best melody about a booty call ever, it works because he’s giving us the whole moment behind the unforgettable lines. 

This is an artist actively aspiring to do just that.  “It’s not like I’m just sitting here, just fuckin’ shooting with my eyes closed. Like, I’m trying,” he told The Fader in a rare interview last year, “I'm really trying to make music for your life.”

With “Summer Sixteen,” the inaugural joint from the madly anticipated new album Views From the 6, Drake sets the stage for exactly what to expect once the season starts.

Over a trappish track crafted for the occasion by Noah “40” Shebib, Boi1nda and CuBeatz, the beat literally changes course mid-song; so if we’re to catch that metaphor, he’s about to switch up hip-hop music in general—while Drake proceeds to call out every major player in the hip-hop game about those home runs he’s “looking, looking, looking” to hit out of the park. The greatest revenge is success, after all.

“Summer Sixteen” is basically Drake’s Babe Ruth Moment: pointing to the stands to indicate where the next ball’s going.

Which usually means straight to #1, exactly where this song has been sitting on iTunes since its release on Saturday.

“A new flow is absolutely the most crucial discovery in rap, to me,” Drake has said about his work on Views, and on this newest record he’s evolved even further with the island-flavored dancehall sounds he’s been flexing in recent releases, including the duet with Rihanna, ‘Work.”

“I just felt it was that time to start setting the tone,” he said about the song after jamming it several times on his Beats 1 show, OVO Sound Radio, this past Saturday.

Hip-hop culture wars are often about bragging rights around excellence in ability, just like sports. With Drake coming off two huge, and very different #1 bangers with “Hotline Bling” and then “Jumpman”—and with OVO Sound’s crazy successes now being regularly compared to elite hip-hop empires like Roc-a-Fella, there’s a very direct reason why he namechecks both Kanye—whose proclaimed that he’s about to drop “the best album of all time,” and also Jay Z, the widely regarded GOAT.

And the tone of OVO’s brand is authenticity.  Rooted in the music first, but with fully-grown trunks like a clothing line and flagship store on La Brea Ave in Los Angeles, a yearly music festival in Toronto that draws over 60,000 people, a rapidly-growing stable of label-signings with the OVO/Warner Bros. imprint, from Majid Jordan to PartyNextDoor and Roy Woods, not to mention those other careers launched just via a Drake co-sign like Popcaan, Skepta and even Bryson Tiller. The Apple Music/Beats 1 radio show functions nicely as a worldwide platform to launch new singles and control the narrative around it without a major-label “go” button. And of course, all the online tentacles the crew dominates, from Instagram to Soundcloud and Snapchat all ready to spring into action whether the order is to orchestrate the death-by-meme of a rival or chronicle that wild party going down in the 6 God’s massive swimming pool that’s bigger than Ye’s.

Drake is set to release View sometime in April, with numbers that directly coincide with the Toronto area code of 416 because, “You know that’s where I’m from.” 

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