To diminish Drake’s relative bottom is unfair. As he has mentioned, he saw struggle through his father, who was in and out jail throughout his life. His single mother worked hard her to raise him on her own before falling ill, leaving a young Drake to become the
primary caregiver and head of household.
“We were very poor, like broke. The only money I had coming in was off of Canadian TV, which isn’t that much money when you break it down,” he said. “A season of Canadian television is under a teacher’s salary, I’ll tell you that much. It’s definitely not something to go f**king get.”
“I’d say it’s relative and almost everyone has a “bottom,” at some point in their lives because few of us start at the top of our desired endeavors,” wrote Alisha Tillery of Ebony Magazine.
And I agree. But, Drake’s upbringing is so far from my perception of the “bottom,” it’s insulting to be constantly reminded of it. “Affluent” isn’t and has never been a term used to describe any neighborhood where I’ve lived. I grew up with two working parents, who could barely pay the rent to the tenement where the four of us called home for years. The kitchen, beds we shared and closets were all right there–in one room. We shared a bathroom with the rest of the residents on our floor. Because of countless evictions, we were nomads. My sister and I shared a bed until we moved into a two-bedroom place in the projects. We shared a room, where I slept in a twin size bed until I was 22-years-old. Spending money was a myth, cable—huh? Police didn’t care to patrol my neighborhood because they rather let Blacks kill each other with illegal guns, drugs and hood mentalities that don’t go farther than limited images of success.
“What does it matter where I came from?” he asks. It doesn’t. But, it wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t make it one. If Drake didn’t constantly reference his struggle, it wouldn’t be the topic of conversations.
I understand his infatuation with the old school hip-hop mentality that puts strife on a pedestal. He grew up in a time when it was necessary to have a back-story leveled in the streets, to be considered a credible rapper, but it isn’t a requirement anymore.
Hip-hop was once a robust diary filled with rags to riches stories from gangsters. We are now at a crossroad in the genre, where rappers like Kanye West– whose mother was an English professor at Clark Atlanta University, and father the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution—are judged by their talent rather than their street cred.
“I think people in the hood can still connect with what I’m saying even though I’m not saying ‘yeah I got crack in my pocket’ ’cause that wasn’t my struggle necessarily, [but] I speak from a place that’s just human emotion,” Drake once told ABC News.
What he doesn’t seem to understand is that he will never earn the street stripes he seeks. Instead, he should focus on being the dynamic, multi-talented artists that he is–it’s time to drop the act. Sure, if you’re clever enough, you can write about the struggle you’ve never lived, but that doesn’t mean we ever are going to believe you actually did. It’s time Drake stop trying to convince us (and himself) about his bottom dwelling roots, and just continue to produce incredible music.
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