In the past, the impassive outlaw rapper and the gushing doe-eyed singer crossed paths only as a way of combining their genres’ respective charms for a hit single. Drake cracked the code: he collapsed the distance between these archetypes, seeming equally comfortable rhyming about dodging bullets and baring his insecurities in a come-hither hook.
There had been artists before him, like Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott, who toggled between rapping and singing. But what distinguished Drake was a sense of shameless guile, a confidence in his complex persona that was due partly to his background as an actor.
Hua Hsu, “The Self-Conflict Zone”, The New Yorker (16 May 2016), 96.