Are Drake's Songs Feminist?
Growing up, top 40 hits and hip-hop were never my style. In elementary school, I preferred the tunes of (embarrassing) the Foo Fighters and (acceptable) the Beach Boys over the likes of J. Lo and N 'Sync. But in 2010, something in my alt/diy heart changed when Drake appeared on my radar and, believe me, I have spent an annoying amount of time promoting and defending my love for my man Drizzy. As a middle class liberal arts diy feminist, my appreciation for such an artist could be construed as “ironic” in today’s hipster culture, but I have never been more genuine about supporting a rap artists.
For some reason, Drake seems to annoy almost everyone I know. I mean, every third song on hip-hop radio has some connection to the man these days and it seems that for every incredible pun and beat that young Drake throws out into the world he has 1000 people throwing hate back. But I disagree with that hate. For all the misogynistic and overly masculine or aggressive music artists in mainstream media, Drake combats that with a sense of humor and a compassion that is unique to his genre.
In the video for “Best I Ever Had,” typical scantily clad females make up the comically bad underdogs of Drake’s basketball team. The team’s barely existent uniforms are the main focus of the video with Drake directly addressing them during a timeout, “I don’t know what to say we’re falling apart. Now I swore the new uniforms would be encouragement. The Mighty Ducks didn’t disappoint.”
This video made Drake seem to get the hip-hop culture of focusing on swarms of beautiful women without being fully offensive. This impressed and intrigued me.
I began listening to his music and at this point it is safe to say I know all the words to all of his albums. I love how he openly reflects on his struggles with women, education, and fame, while still being overly confident and extremely successful. He views himself as a writer and an artist and writers are sensitive, which he owns completely. He loves and supports women. He values higher education and struggles with his decision to not attend college. He’s brooding, thoughtful, and not ashamed.
And it’s not only that Drake is comfortable being sensitive, but he let’s the world know that his type of woman is more complex than a video girl. The intro to "Make Me Proud" begins, “I like a woman with a future and a past/Little attitude problem all good, it’ll make the shit last/ Don’t make it too easy girl, don’t take it to fast,” and reveals that Drake prefers women who are opinionated and experienced.
“Sweatpants, hair tied, chill’n with no makeup on/That’s when you the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong” from "Best I Ever Had" shows he thinks women do not need to put in so much time effort and money to appear attractive. And my favorite, from "Fancy": "I like my women both book and street smart" reminds me of a Darcy-esque desire for a truly accomplished young woman.
His sense of humor, compassion, and clever lyricism are why my overtly feminist and critical self can, without a hint of irony or embarrassment, fully endorse Drake.