Another year, another Drake project.
Last year was a busy time for Drizzy, to say the least. He pushed out two mixtapes, one of which garnered astronomical acclaim (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late) with the other, What A Time To Be Alive, doing modestly well. In between the projects, he pushed out a number of singles and had an exhausting beef with Meek Mill. He also released the pop-rap anthem “Hotline Bling”, one of the biggest singles of 2015. At this point, despite his album arriving sometime later this year, there is a very real chance Drake has overstayed his welcome.
“Summer Sixteen” is presumably the first single off his new album and follows the same formula as the singles off If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. It has a skeletal, catchy beat with Drake carrying the entire track – a beat so hypnotic it could have very easily slotted into the aforementioned’s track list. Drake does take a different perspective in his raps with his success earning him a place as a hip-hop overseer. Again, he raps about Meek Mill, though this time somewhat atypically, with lines like “I coulda killed you the first time/it’s nothing personal I would have done it to anyone, and I blame where I came from”. It’s an almost apologetic line, as if the two beef tracks (“Charged Up” and “Back To Back”) were nothing but a part of Drake’s job. But make no mistake; “Summer Sixteen” has Drake on the offense, reminding everyone in the game just how monumental and seemingly untouchable he’s become.
The latter half of the track continues this offensive position, but introduces a beat switch. Drake seems eager to steal the spotlight away from Kanye and his G.O.O.D. Fridays, unapologetically boasting “Now I got a house in LA/Now I got a bigger pool than Ye/And look man, Ye’s pool is nice/mine’s just bigger’s what I’m saying”. Drake certainly has found his own unique style, and “Summer Sixteen” only seems to further his ability to perfect the bare, trap sound. This track also seems to further the idea that Drake is not only a force in terms of unwavering relevancy, but also in sheer dominant force against his “opponents”. He raps confidently, swiftly and coldly – yet it’s hard to shake off the feeling of déjà vu. He seems to be going with the ‘Hook, Rinse, Repeat” approach to songwriting, which has certainly aided him in the past. Ultimately though, “Summer Sixteen” is a track reminding us Drake’s still here, but if he wants to keep our attention, pretty soon he’ll have to introduce us to some new tricks.
– J. Faull