I understand bragging is a big part of hip-hop, as is showmanship. In fact, it’s one of the funniest parts of the genre. Yet, if we were to take every claim that rappers and entertainers made seriously, then we would be celebrating serial killers, psychopaths and deranged monsters who own enough houses and vehicles to start their own independent country.
There has to be a certain amount of creative license given to entertainers, and especially rappers, for them to do what they’re paid to do, which is to entertain. We also have to realize that while much of their music is often autobiographical, at the end of the day, they’re still authors who embellish stories sometimes to the point of weaving completely fictional escapades that no one man or woman could truly experience in a lifetime.
That being said, this is only funny when what they’re saying is funny, or engrossing or interesting, or some combination of all three. In other words, they need to have a personality for their brags to stick when they throw them up against the wall of mass media.
In hip-hop’s biggest mainstream star’s case, Toronto rapper Drake, his brags too often fall flat on their face due to his oddly vanilla braggadocio that feels more akin to getting teeth pulled than it does a rich entertainer flexing. No song exemplifies this more than “Sicko Mode.”
What do you think of when I mention 13-year-old’s living in the suburbs? Fortnite? Nike Elites? “Sicko Mode?” While this is no shot at Travis Scott – as I have no beef with him whatsoever – it seems that whenever something reaches peak suburb popularity, it becomes ruined for eternity. For example, fidget spinners were once a nice tool intended for people dealing with stress or ADHD that wanted something to fiddle with while doing their day-to-day tasks. Then, the suburbs got them. White 12-year-olds started collecting them, and it was all but over for the fun little knickknack (I kind of hate myself for using the phrase “fun little knickknack,” but what else am I supposed to call them? Baubles? Doohickeys? There’s no word I could use that wouldn’t end in some form of self-deprecation. But maybe this is cyclical, and it all circles back to little Johnny with his Nike Elites and his fidget spinner, and he ruined the word for me).
Regardless, this is what happened with Travis Scott for me. I enjoyed his album “Birds in the Trap Sing Brad McKnight.” It had a fair amount of heaters; a decent amount of bops, and there’s no denying that. Then came “Astroworld.” And then came the suburbs’ pallid white claws armed with their snapback-adorned 11-year-old maniacs to ruin my perception of a decent artist. And then, finally, came the real atrocity: “Sicko Mode.”
“Sicko Mode” is nobody’s fault but Aubrey Graham’s (AKA Jimmy Brooks AKA “the lightskin from Degeneres,” according to our Lord and savior Soulja Boy). I can’t even blame the suburbs for Drake’s strangely bland brag on “Sicko Mode.” The beat switches are cool, okay, whatever. But the hilarious memes about it…
… are even better. The wheels really fall all the way off when Drake utters the single most atrocious chorus I’ve ever heard try to be passed as a brag:
“I did half a Xan, 13 hours ‘till I land / Had me out like a light, ayy, yeah / Like a light, ayy, yeah.”
There’s so much wrong with these three lines. First of all, bragging about doing drugs is one thing, but bragging about how all they did was put you peacefully to sleep for 13 hours is… strange? Oddly pretentious? Oddly average? I don’t even know what to call it.
What’s even more though, is he seems very excited that half a Xanax put him out… like a light. Does he want congratulations for being asleep three to five more hours than the average doctor recommends for his patients to sleep on a nightly basis? Would he like a medal for boarding an airplane and falling asleep? What I really want to know is if this was a red-eye flight. Because if it was, then this becomes even odder, as everyone else was probably asleep with him too. Grandmothers, janitors, accountants. Drake would’ve made an entire chorus about how he’s as mediocre as your run-of-the-mill high school janitor that took the redeye to visit his sister with a bad case of the gout. It’s not like if the flight was during the day it was any cooler, though, like “Oh my God, Drake fell asleep in the middle of the day on an airplane! That’s gnarly, dude.”
In summary, it’s such a mediocre thing to boast about. What makes it even worse is there is 0 percent tongue-in-cheek humor here. If he was being sarcastic or ironic or even didn’t take himself so seriously, it wouldn’t be that bad. It could be a good laugh and a flippant satirical take on the typical drug-user-trope of 2018 trap music. But none of this is there. It’s just Drake seriously telling us that he did indeed take half of the recommended dose of an Alprazolam name brand normally prescribed to those with anxiety or panic disorder issues, he did indeed doze off, and he did indeed stay dozed off for the entirety of his flight, which in this case was 13 hours. And also, he’d like to include a simile a first grader could write: he was out “like a light.”
It might sound like I’m being cynical, or that I don’t like fun music, and maybe that’s partially true. But regardless of any of my personal tastes in music or opinions on Drake and Travis Scott and the suburbs’ youth and their Silly Bandz ruining things, Drake undeniably had the strangest brag of 2018.
“Like a light, ayy, slept through the flight, ayy / Knocked for the night, ayy.”
Good night, Aubrey.