Drake Transitioned From Brand To Meme With 'Hotline Bling'

Drake Transitioned From Brand To Meme With ‘Hotline Bling’

*Disclaimer: This article does not represent the views of the entire publication.

If you were connected to the internet last week, you’ve already seen it.

The video for Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ consumed the internet like a digital tidal wave. Left in its wake was a slew of GIFs, Vines, and memes commemorating the truly strange video featuring Drake dancing and singing mediocrely. But that hardly matters at this point. ‘Hotline Bling’ was Drake’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ moment, and with its release he has transitioned from brand to meme.

Just as Miley Cyrus hopped on a giant prop, became an internet sensation, and established a meme with an unfortunately long half-life, so too has Drake become a walking, talking, “singing” meme. We’re not paying attention for the music anymore – we’re paying attention for the lulz, and both Drake and Miley know this better than anyone.

Having transitioned from being a child actor to being a global phenomenon, Drake’s ability to thrive in the media spotlight has become his greatest skill. One move after another Drake stands, delivers, dodges criticism, and moves on to the next target.

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When Kendrick Lamar began taking subtle shots at Toronto’s own earlier this year, Drake played down the disconnect between the two artists and let the lyric heads decipher just who Kendrick might have been talking about on ‘King Kunta’. Later in the year, when Compton was released and it became clear that Kendrick had Drake in his sights, Drake made the smart move and stepped aside, instead settling for a rap beef with Meek Mill that he could win.

The Great Rap Beef Of 2015 wasn’t about who was the better rapper, though, it was about who was the better business man. Neither Drake nor Meek Mill can rap. But Drake knows this better than his fans do, so he bet on himself, and he won big. Instead of taking on Meek Mill in a fight about artistic integrity, Drake simply smiled back and said “so what”. And his fans loved him for it. It was peak Drake, or would have been, if not for ‘Hotline Bling’.

Audibly, ‘Hotline Bling’ is lacklustre. From the generic karaoke backing beat that opens the track to Drake’s talk-rapping (and dare I say, “singing”), there is not a single captivating moment during the song. If one dared to look into the lyrical content, the entire thrust (see what I did there) of the track is that Drake wants to fuck. It’s probably another ode to Nicki Minaj. And yet, the song reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

As far as the music video is concerned, it couldn’t have gone better for Drake, the business man. It has been watched millions of times, and it spawned its own lifecycle via Drizzee’s meme-worthy dance moves. It’s no “Never Catch Me”, but it served its purpose. And as much as it must hurt to have the internet collectively insult your dance moves, it must feel pretty good to have the internet care about your shitty song.

*Disclaimer: This article does not represent the views of the entire publication.