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Rapper, Actor, and Poet? Rap Artist Drake Releases First Book of Poetry

Rapper, Actor, and Poet? Rap Artist Drake Releases First Book of Poetry

Whether you fell for his charm as the popular kid on Degrassi or became a fan once he dropped his first album, Drake, also known as Aubrey Drake Graham, is undoubtedly a talented individual.

Drake switched from television sets to recording studios in 2006 with the release of his mixtape Room for Improvement. Since then, his career has been on an upward trajectory. With numerous singles and albums reaching the top of the charts in addition to winning five Grammys, it’s clear that Drake has made a wise career move. 

Often considered alternative hip hop or emo rap, his music is filled with catchy and honest lyrics that have helped him gross over $450 million.

The Canadian rapper has built a strong fan base through his music, and before pleasing his fans with a new album, he teased his fan base with the release of a poetry book. 

While this might seem like an out-of-the-blue move for Drizzy, it’s not too odd that he’s released a book of poems. After all, “rap” has been defined as “rhyme and poetry.” But does the talent of a platinum rapper translate well when his words are written in short poetic phrases instead of being attached to a beat and played over a stereo system?

About Drake’s poetry book

Rappers such as Mos Def, Common, and Lauryn Hill are known to have poetic flows that have audiences grooving while they contemplate the meaning of life. Thus it’s not too much of a surprise that another rapper, such as Drake, would try to exercise their poetry muscles. But does this actor-turned-rapper have the skills to take on this literary endeavor?

Drake’s poetry book Titles Ruin Everything: A Stream of Conscious, is a collaboration between himself and Kenza Samir. The book is supposed to accompany an album release, which can make one believe that this release of new material may be a simple marketing tactic. How serious is Drake about poetry? Or has his hip-hop exterior hidden away his more artistic and literary side?

Regardless of his intentions for putting out this book, Drake appeared excited upon its release. According to a caption on his Instagram, he wrote: “I don’t know if I have ever wanted people to buy or support something more in my life.”

Evidently, this book is meaningful to Drake, but what can fans, readers, and other poetry enthusiasts expect from this blue-covered 168-page book?

Opinions and critics of the book

According to critics and summaries of the book, it seems that, similar to Drake’s lyrics, his book of poems is meant to be silly but sprinkled with some deep one-liners.

Poet Aris Kian wrote to Complex magazine and shared over emails that the book is “a goldmine of mediocre mic drops.” Sama’an Ashrawi wrote in the article that the poems “mostly alter between bitter, jaded, and braggadocious, yet they seem to be…funny?”

Despite some critics, Drake has received support from his fellow hip-hop artists. DJ Khaled, perhaps one of Drizzy’s biggest fans, was seen on social media reading aloud passages from the book. Khaled also boasted about how Drake did the unexpected and came out with a book. 

While it’s nice to see rappers supporting each other, and Drake does deserve recognition for doing something different, it is also important to promote quality over novelty. 

Riddled with one-liners such as “Charged it to the game and paid the bill,” “Life isn’t fair, but karma helps,” and “Some days I got it all figured out, but most days I never learn,” the book seems to imitate Drake’s lyrical style.  

For fans, it makes the book an enjoyable read. For serious poetry fans, you might agree with  Kian, who was quoted in the Complex article saying, “Where he could push himself to indulge in the silliness and sentimentality that even the purest of poets would forgive, he disintegrates into petty abstractions and instead gives us lines like, ‘You were in my dream last night / They call that a nightmare, right?’” 

Is Drake’s poetry book right for you?

All in all, I wouldn’t say Drake pushed any boundaries or grew to another level of artistry when writing this book — no offense to his process. However, in my humble opinion, Drake took words he would have used for a song and simplified them to appear as poems. The quality of the poetry is debatable. However, I do believe Drake fans will enjoy the book. It’s more of Drake but in a slightly different form. 

The book may not impact those who aren’t already Drake fans. As Ashrawi wrote in his article, what makes Drake appealing is the whole package: the lyrics, the beat, the voice, the vocals, etc. His words may not be as attractive when you take a part of Drake and only put it into black text on white paper. 

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