2018 has been a harvesting year for hip-hop. The first half of the year has already seen album releases from Kanye West (Ye), Jay Z and Beyonce (Everything Is Love), J. Cole (K.O.D.), Migos (Culture II) and Nas (Nasir). On June 28, Drake added his contribution with his fifth solo album, Scorpion.
It arrives just in time for the 40-plus date Aubrey and the Three Migos tour, kicking off July 26 in Salt Lake City. At the moment, the album appears to be an Apple Music exclusive, which has been the case for all of his releases since 2015. The 25-song, double-disc body of work features a guest verse from Jay Z, as well as posthumous appearances from Michael Jackson and Static Major.
Despite being released six months ago as one-half of the two-song Scary Hours EP, “God’s Plan” found a spot onto the highly anticipated album. The song spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard charts before being dethroned by its creator with the Murda Beatz-produced “Nice For What.”
But Drake’s campaign wasn’t unscathed. Just last month the Toronto native and rapper turned president of G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha T, went head to head in a lyrical battle. Pusha T’s “Infrared,” a song that pokes at Drake’s ghostwritten material, was matched with Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle” in less than 24 hours.
What began as a healthy spat between creatives quickly turned into a scathing attack from Pusha T, who promoted his counter with a photo of Drake in blackface and suggested the rapper fathered a child – Drake confronts the reality of the latter on the album’s final song, “March 14.” But rather than indulge in what Drake deemed a “circus” of events he remained refrained from a response and focused on his album rollout.
His mentor, Lil Wayne, made it through to the other side of his own issues, too. Three weeks ago, the rapper settled his years-long court battle with Cash Money and Universal Music Group (rumors pin the issuance to be around $10 million). Still, the settlement mean that Wayne’s highly anticipated Tha Carter Valbum could be released before the end of the year. With Nicki Minaj’s album due in the near future, the Cash Money crew could help round out this year of hip-hop.