Drake's "Shot For Me" As a Template for Modern Masculinity
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Even softening up, though, Drake’s still an asshole. He admits to over-working, and says something cheesy like “you and the music were the only things that I’d commit to,” and then blames their dissolution on living in a small city. (Toronto? See, there’s some inferiority complex stuff going on.) It’s still kind of poignantly small that Drake refers to himself as “Mr. Perfect.”
“Take A Shot” is a really weird song. I guess it’s technically just two verses plus two very brief choruses. But the two verses seem like at least four verses, really, and the choruses are just one line, which really perfectly punctuates the end of each verse and twists them like a knife or the last couplet of an Elizabethan sonnet. And then there’s that prayer-coda. And the musical coda. It’s just a very weird, very compact, very well-built song. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. That second verse ends,
I could tell that you been crying all night, drinking all summer.
Praying for your happiness, hope that you recover.
This is one I know you hated when you heard it,
And it’s worse because you know that I deserve it
After the relative softening of the whole “I can’t lie, I miss you” part, Drake piles it back on. I mean, his ex must look like shit. Angry, cried-out eyes. She looks all bloated and boozy. And then he says he’s praying for her happiness, and hope she recovers. “Recovery”, of course, with the double meaning of getting over him, but also as in recovering from alcohol abuse. But, still, wishing her recovery and simultaneous back-sliding into drink isn’t the worst. It’s that everything he says, he says, is true, and he deserves his success. And his freedom from them. Thus, a parting toast:
May your neighbors respect you.
Trouble neglect you. Agels protect you.
And heaven accept you.
The first few times I heard the song, I thought the toast was just another cheesy Drake-thing. But once I actually listened to the song a few times, it was clear that the toast is the coup de grâce . It may be some bullshit old Irish toast , but with its conclusion of “And heaven accept you”, you know it’s just his way of telling her to just drop dead. The raucous coda that finally closes the song gives us a good grave-dancing groove.
If you think an air of opulence and a taste for gold and fine knitwear is soft, then I guess King Henry VIII was soft, too. I think there are some cultural assumptions that sort of undercut what I take to be one of Drake’s most captivating artistic traits: his headstrong puissance and complete self-satisfaction. Because he writes about relationships at all in a context that’s not simply about getting head , he’s taken to be ‘girly’ — or worse, gay! (Or is girly worse? Girls and gays both get fucked by guys, so they’re both pretty bad.) Because he doesn’t write about murdering people (very much…), he’s not a manly man, or he’s not a rapper, at least, because we all know young black males only have one form of social power: the sacrifice of their lives in the violent pursuit of ours. The total mischaracterization of Drake, popularly, does a terrible disservice to how colossal a shit-heel he really is. It also sort of under-serves people in the sense that, for instance, most rapes are perpetrated by acquaintances. Or how most women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends than by strangers. There’s this myth of a hyper-masculine bogeyman, but all there are are men. Drake’s supposed unmanliness is as pernicious a stereotype as any.