Believe it or not, it’s been nine years since Drake dropped his single “Best I Ever Had” off his “So Far Gone” mixtape and grabbed hip-hop by the throat.
Since then, he’s released hit after hit, wracked up millions of sales and went from a rapper to a straight up pop star.
But according to Ice Cube, Drake’s reign is coming to an end and not because of his beef with Pusha T, it’s just the natural order of things in the rap space.
“Drake built himself up to [what he is today]. He had a good run,” said Cube on the Bay Area station 106 KMEL. “You only got a three year run in the rap game. You only got three years at the tip top of the rap game, then you got to find your place in this thing. That’s just the pattern … [Lil] Wayne, when he was hot, three years on top, then you looking for somebody else …. Your reign becomes over. The audience has determined that. You can own the airwaves but then it’s time for somebody else. That’s just been the pattern. It was the pattern with me.”
Of course, Cube is speaking about his post N.W.A. days when he lit up the airwaves and streets with his politically charged gangsta rap. But eventually that buzz, albeit still strong, grew quieter and his songs didn’t reside on the Billboard charts like they did years before.
But it’s not like people were saying Cube’s music got worse at that time. In fact, some might say it got better over the years, so like he said about Drake, people just wanted to find something new.
It’s a point that JAY Z talked about with the New York Times last year, and he said what pushes rap or any other type of art forward, has to do with people finding things on their own and then sharing them. And that’s why it’s impossible for an artist to remain at the top forever.
But Jay also said being the newest, hottest thing shouldn’t be anyone’s goal, whether they’re an artist, businessperson or something else. Instead, that person should find a place within their field that they can occupy and then thrive from.
“Rap is about the gift of discovery. The white-hot space is when it’s fresh and new,” he explained. “‘Cause at the end of the day we’re going to find out it’s not about the white-hot space, but it’s about finding the truth. That white-hot space — people think it’s the biggest thing — but it’s really small. It’s almost like a trend … [Would] you rather be a trend or you rather be forever?”
As far as Drake, the next few weeks will be interesting because he’s due to drop his new album “Scorpion,” obviously his first major release since the whole Pusha T fiasco. It’ll also be the first real indication if the beef has harmed his brand or not, and if people are now ready to make someone else No. 1.