Drake’s recent More Life album serves as one of his best works mainly because he channels the different versions of himself that he’s shown us throughout his career. It includes everything from the bossed-up lyrical shots to the affinity for tropical riddims. But the real question remains: which one is the best? We break down and rank the rapper’s best music personalities that we all can’t get enough of. Flip through our ranking here!
Drake’s obsession with U.K. grime culture goes way back to 2009 when he was interviewed by DJ Semtex, where the rapper discussed his love for the music. Since then, his appreciation got even stronger as he befriended grime lords like Sneakbo, Wiley and Skepta (that “TRUSS MI DADDI!” sample on “Shutdown” is pretty much iconic at this point). While Giggs’ features on More Life tracks “No Long Talk” and “KMT” aren’t appreciated enough by us Americans, we can surely expect more grime experiments from Drake in the future.
Also heard in: “Gyalchester,” “KMT,” “Used To”
Now this personality has been a longstanding and controversial one! Drizzy Drake’s admiration, or appropriation as many would call it, has been woven throughout his career since his Thank Me Later days. The rapper, who thinks of himself as a honorary Jamaican, constantly uses patois and local slang in his tweets, Instagram captions, during concerts and in songs. Drake’s 2010 “Find Your Love” video was shot with Mavado in his hometown of Cassava Piece and the dancehall star brought him on stage for a “bloodclaat”-riddled speech. He also befriended Popcaan over the years and bigs up the Unruly Gang every chance he gets.
Also heard in: “With You,” “One Dance,” “Madiba Riddim,” “Blem,” “Too Good,” “Ojuelegba,” “Come Closer,” “Find Your Love," "Signs"
While J. Cole urged to not save these women on “No Role Modelz,” Drake likes to do the complete opposite. He has a strange passion for taking women out of the stripclub and into his bedroom where he thinks he can better her life. But when she decides to move on after getting tired of his obsessive caretaking, Drake get upset and calls her out—and that’s where the Champagne Papi persona comes to play. There was a point in time around 2011 where Drake couldn’t stop wearing silk shirts and gold chains, where he resembled your former drug dealing uncle who stops by the family cookouts every other year. The artist further confirmed this when he waved the Dominican flag in “Started From the Bottom” and donned flip-flops with a suit in French Montana’s “No Shopping” video. Look out for Papi in the club requesting “Suavemente” so he can get his bachata on.
Also heard in: “Fancy,” “Shot For Me,” “Make Me Proud,” “The Real Her,” “Practice,” “Own It,” “Come Thru,” “Madonna,” “Child’s Play,” “Plastic Bag,” “Teenage Fever”
Drake has been putting on for his city since the beginning of his career, which soon gave birth to OVO Sound—his own record label that is filled with fellow artists repping the 6. Even when he’s packing dollar bills in a Houston stripper’s thong or lounging on a private beach in Jamaica, he has never forgotten where his roots reside. Almost all of Drake songs reference the streets he grew up on, his relatives, the local corner store and his loyal OVO crew. As long as he remains in this industry, we will never stop hearing about the greatness of Toronto.
Also heard in: “5 AM In Toronto,” “Crew Love,” “Wu-Tang Forever,” “Know Yourself,” “Weston Road Flows,” “You & the 6,” “Views,” “Do Not Disturb,” “From Time”
Drake may have a lot of friends in this industry, but that doesn't mean he trusts them. With this persona, he always seems wary of how a waste man is moving shaky or the fairness that surrounds him as he career accelerates. The rapper has definitely been double-crossed by someone and that hurt seeps through a handful of his songs. It has actually given us some of his strongest lyrical moments thus far, where he reflects on his life in a relatable and introspective way. Most people would just jot these thoughts down in a diary, but it’s much better when Drake shares his storytelling with the world.
Also heard in: “Say What’s Real,” “Fear,” “Over,” “Lord Knows,” “Worst Behavior,” “Too Much,” “Keep the Family Close,” “U With Me?,” “Lose You,” “Fake Love”
Is there anything much better than hearing Drake wallow in his feelings? There are very few rappers who are willing to share their deepest thoughts, yet this guy notoriously does it in all this emo glory! We saw glimpses of this persona with So Far Gone, but things got even heavier once Take Care—Drake’s saddest album to date—arrived in 2011. Since then, the lyrical themes got darker and the production sunk as deep as the ocean. It’s beautifully heartbreaking, but also brings up the fact that he should probably speak to a therapist about this. We can always count on him to serve up the best times to soundtrack your crying in the bathroom post-breakup sessions.
Also heard in: “Houstonlantavegas,” “Bria’s Interlude,” “Sooner Than Later,” “Karaoke,” “Cece’s Interlude,” “Take Care,” “Good Ones Go,” “Doing It Wrong,” “Hate Sleeping Alone,” “Jungle,” “Redemption,” “Hotline Bling”
One cannot specifically pinpoint the moment when Drake transformed into the cockiest rapper of our generation. But this new character was brought to life more than ever once If You're Reading This It’s Too Late arrived in 2011. I mean, the man blatantly called himself a legend! We knew Drake was a confident guy, but this project solidified that he really thinks he's the best rapper alive. His braggadocio lyrics and laid back flows was a display that he didn't even have to try to make a hit song. Drake doesn't have to prove himself to anyone anymore, and it shows as his muscles gets bigger and his smirk gets even more wicked.
Also heard in: “November 18th,” “I’m Goin’ In,” “Up All Night,” “Miss Me,” “Thank Me Now,” “Over My Dead Body,” “Headlines,” “Under Ground Kings,” “The Language,” “Paris Morton Music 2,” “Still Here,” “Big Rings,” “Jumpman”
Drake is often considered a softie in this rap game, but don’t ever get it twisted—he’s never had an issue coming for someone’s throat! Most women love his more tender songs, but I think his best moments occur when he’s fearlessly throwing shots. Whether it subliminal disses or directly dropping other rappers’ names, he’s shown that he has the ability to defend himself when need be. His slick disses gave us one of the most entertaining hip-hop beefs in recent history (poor Meek Mill is still recovering) and puts a necessary battery pack in his peers’ spines who are failing to keep up. In other words, don’t get on Drake’s bad side.
Also heard in: “Summer Sixten,” “0 to 100,” “Stay Schemin,” 6 God,” “Used To,” “6PM in New York,” “Hype,” “Charged Up,” “4PM In Calabasas,” “Draft Day,” “Free Smoke,” “No Shopping,” “Do Not Disturb,” “100,” “Two Birds, One Stone,” “Can’t Have Everything”
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