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Drake takes rap music in a new direction

Charming Drake was a favorite character, “Wheelchair Jimmy,” on the popular Canadian TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation, but since leaving the show in 2009 he has relentlessly fought his way to the top of the rap game. His recent album, Nothing was the Same, released in September, sold 658,000 copies in its first week, rivaling the debut of Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV in 2011. This is an accomplishment many competing artists covet.

Hip hop is often considered an aggressive genre, but Drake has broken away from stereotypical rapper materialism by interweaving moral consciousness and raw emotion into his music. He sings about love, desire, loneliness and isolation. His cadences are almost melodic, and the mind echoes with his rhythms long after the song has ended. “I make my music for the purpose of driving at nighttime,” he said in one interview. Everyone can relate to driving alone at night and hearing a song that triggers some lasting emotion.

Drake’s willingness to share his own feelings and weaknesses has been referred to as his Achilles heel. Some have called him a “counterfeit rapper.” Others have told him to “come out of the closet.” People often joke about his song “Marvin’s Room” – perhaps his most emotional recording – but there is a reason for its fame. Awake at 4 a.m., anyone would be moved by his lyrics: “Talk to me please, don’t have much to believe in / I need you right now are you down to listen.”

Feelings bring people together, and Drake strives to create emotional connection even with crowds of 18,000 screaming fans. That is why we should all pay attention to this artist. Drake puts his own heartfelt twist on genre music that others dismiss as “stupid.” Everything he does is for his listeners.

Drake sings so that his fans sing back to him. When lyrics come to him, he writes them down right away, claiming they sound more natural or conversational that way. People can relate.

Yes, money, girls and cars are fun to sing about, and those songs can be fun to listen to, but in the end, humans want something more.

Drake has taken rap music in a different direction by sharing his own story, beliefs and feelings in the hopes that listeners feel something beyond excitement.

(Concord High senior Grace Mulleavey, who is considering a career in journalism, recently applied early action to several colleges. She is active in Key Club and National Honor Society when not spending time with friends.)

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