I could resist Drake only for so long. His ability to dictate internet trends overnight and constant existence on airstream eventually broke down all the barriers I had set against succumbing to his overly emotional songs. My time outside and now inside the circle of Aubrey lovers has allowed me to conclude just one thing:
Drake is a modern, Shakespearean tragic hero in so many of his songs.
Drake isn’t hip hop’s greatest poet, but he is definitely unmatched as a dramatist - putting out albums that have enough pathos to create fully scripted plays. His current sensation, Hotline Bling, could arguably be a stand alone play because it effectively goes through all the stages of Shakespearean tragedies.
Like in all Shakespearean tragedies, you begin with a noble hero. However, you can already sense this hero has played out his story. He is now reflecting on a more colorful past, picture this sad hero up top a secluded balcony, and sings his woes with a fainted heart. What begins with happiness ends in misery.
Stage 1: Exposition
Hotline Bling sets the scene with a flashback to a more playful past.
“You used to call me on my, you used to, you used to,
You used to call me on my cell phone,
Late night when you need my love”
The lady hath used to calleth this gent on his cell phone for some of that late night amorous rite. You can tell here that our young chap, Drake, looked forward to these phone calls. These were high times for our hero, full of joy and curiosity.
Stage 2: Inciting Force
“And I know when that hotline bling,
That can only mean one thing”
Overtime, Sir Drake begins to notice patterns with his girl. Wherefore does the lady only calleth at night? Is the lady abusing his love? Love is blind, they say.
Stage 3: Hamartia
Drake starts to worry and senses an error in his judgment.
“Ever since I left the city you,
Got a reputation for yourself now,
Everybody knows and I feel left out”
Despite his concerns, Drake still has a rap career to lead and leaves town. Drake’s mistress played fast and loose once he left and the worst part is, he wasn’t even there to enjoy it. He didn’t know it then, but this was our tragic hero’s greatest misjudgment.
Stage 4: Crisis
The gent doth hear all these troubling rumors.
“Girl you got me down, you got me stressed out,
'Cause ever since I left the city, you,
Started wearing less and goin' out more,
Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor,
Hangin' with some girls I've never seen before”
Jealousy is a green-eyed monster and through his own flaws of being controlling and judgmental, Drake takes a path towards self-destruction.
“Ever since I left the city, you, you, you,
You and me we just don't get along,
You make me feel like I did you wrong,
Going places where you don't belong,
Ever since I left the city, you,
You got exactly what you asked for,
Running out of pages in your passport,
Hanging with some girls I've never seen before”
Drake is in his accusatory phase of ex-boyfriendhood, if we can even call him that. His anger peaks here, manifesting his controlling and judgemental demeanor. In these scenes, the audience starts to see that perhaps it was never the lady's fault at all - especially if she had to deal with this tumultuous behavior from our sad hero.
Stage 5: Tragic Force
“Doing things I taught you, gettin' nasty for someone else”
He begins to mentally spiral. He wonders if thou bendin' ov'r backwards f'r someone else, wonder if thou're rollin' up a backwards f'r someone else...
Stage 6: Moment of Final Suspense
Maybe Sir Drake will be able to redeem himself and get back up from this.
“You don't need no one else,
You don't need nobody else, no,
Why you never alone,
Why you always touching road,
Used to always stay at home, be a good girl,
You was in the zone,
You should just be yourself,
Right now, you're someone else”
We’re now near this end of this tragedy and come to find that much of Sir Drakesalot is still enamored by this lady. Despite all the rumors that gnawed away at his sanity, there is a glimmer of hope that their relationship will surpass the test of time, distance, and stripper poles.
Stage 7: Catastrophe
Think again, wenches.
“You used to call me on my cell phone,
Late night when you need my love”
Drake is back at it with his sorrowful chorus and reflection. I guess it never worked.
Stage 8: New Harmony
Although there should be a new character after the emotional death of our loveless hero, Drake leaves the audience in mystery with his closing line:
“Ever since I left the city.”
Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. What. Excuse me. Is this real? At this point, we don’t know if the story ends about his hotline fling or if we can expect a sequel that builds on his departure from said city.
One thing can be said for sure: Sir Drakesalot is a masterful lyricist, with an ability to evoke deep emotions through simple yet universally relatable verses. If Shakespeare were alive today, he and Drake would be on their 7th broadway hit.
*Round of applause*
*Throws flowers onto the stage*
*Drake catches a thornless rose in his mouth, all smiles*
Non-satirical footnote: Is he saying blink sometimes? He is, right? That’s confusing since he chose to purposely title this song with a speech impediment. What’s probably more confusing is that I’m now a Drake fan.
References to Shakespeare I most likely used inaccurately but I feel like he would be okay with it:
Love is blind – The Merchant of Venice
Fainted Heart – Henry VI
Play fast and loose – King John
Jealousy is a green eyed monster – Othello