16 Songs That Have Defined The Drake Era

16 Songs That Have Defined The Drake Era

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“Headlines” (2011)

Drake was famously unhappy with Thank Me Later, his official YMCMB-released debut, so by the time his second label album Take Care came around, he’d spent a little more time writing, recording, and choosing singles that matched with his aspirations. That much is clear on “Headlines,” the album’s lead single. Dream production team of 40 and Boi-1da delivered an arpeggio-driven beat (which earned valid comparisons to songs by both Philip Glass and Santigold) over which Drake took on a new form, relaying an intentional, aggressive challenge to the Twitter-disseminated tropes about his music being strictly fodder for late-night texts to exes. Though there are plenty of emo moments all over Take Care—“Marvin’s Room,” “The Real Her”—”Headlines” was an introduction to Tough Drake.

Before the beard and the muscly thirst traps, back when he was still soft in the face and round in the belly, “Headlines” gave space for Drake to publicly reckon with having successfully made the transition from stealing his mother’s debit card to having millions for real. Today, he has no problem uttering threats or invoking the goons on the OVO payroll who will allegedly carry them out, but back in 2011, Drake’s raps about catching a body were the beginning of jokes, and serious questions, about his authenticity. Was the former child actor from Canada really declaring that he might end someone’s life? Yes, yes, he was. The drum programming and over-processed vocals might sound a little dated in retrospect, but “Headlines” remains quintessential: a mix of confidently delivered, deceptively simple boasts and crew loyalty shout-outs, paired with multiple hooks that’ll stick like glue to any listener’s head. They knowww, they knowww, they knowww. —RAWIYA KAMEIR

 

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