Review: ‘Scorpion’ is ambitious but not Drake’s best

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Story by Isong Maro / Contributing Writer

Canadian artist Aubrey Drake Graham’s fifth studio album is a double album. Its title, “Scorpion,” alludes to Drake’s astrological sign, Scorpio. Prior to the release of this album, Drake had teased the idea of making an R&B album, or at least an album where he sings and doesn’t rap. This was more than likely the inspiration for making this double album. “Scorpion” is divided into two halves, “Side A” and “Side B.” The first half has Drake primarily rapping, while the latter features him singing.

Drake enlists an interesting mix of producers for this album,  including legendary producers DJ Premier, No I.D. and DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia.

Drake’s OVO in-house producer, Boi-1da, and engineer Noah “40” Shebib are also involved in the project with Shebib simultaneously serving as the album’s executive producer. Burgeoning Memphis producer Tay Keith makes the cut as well.

Jay-Z is the only featured rapper on the album and is on the song “Talk Up,” produced by DJ Paul. Posthumous vocals from the late Michael Jackson were used on the song “Don’t Matter To Me,” with Jackson credited as a featured artist.

Nai Palm, the lead singer of the band Hiatus Kaiyote, receives uncredited vocals on the track “Is There More” for singing an interpolation of Aaliyah’s “More Than a Woman.”

The late Static Major and Ty Dolla $ign complete the list of credited featured artists for the album. Static Major’s vocals are used posthumously.

The first half of the double album opens up with “Survival.” Here Drake talks up his accomplishments over a menacing No I.D. beat.

Drake displays his versatility on the next track, “Nonstop,” effortlessly rapping over a distinct Memphis trap sound crafted by Tay Keith.

On “Mob Ties,” Drake delivers an interesting vocal performance reminiscent of a Young Thug performance.

Drake’s performance on the second half of this project is mostly underwhelming. The songs here are not necessarily bad. In fact, the production is mostly solid. However, the lyrics on several songs aren’t that good and often border on cringe-worthy. If the second half was released and judged separately from the first half, it would most likely rank really low on Drake’s discography.

“Scorpion” is an ambitious project. The concept of a double album with Drake rapping on the first part and singing on the other is certainly well within his range, given his talents. The first half, the rap half, is very well-executed. Drake showcased his ability to adequately perform over a broad range of differing beats, simultaneously showcasing different facets of his performing ability.

The second half, the singing half, however, does not hold up as well as the first. It’s almost ironic that this half is titled “Side B,” because a lot of these songs feel like B-sides. With the exception of a few tracks, a lot of the songs here are simply not interesting enough conceptually to be memorable listens. “Scorpion,” although ambitious, is not quite Drake’s magnum opus.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email

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