By SELENE SAN FELICE
When Drake dropped Views in April, the only thing that surprised me about the album was how bored I was by it. Out of 20 songs, there were only a few real bangers. He even threw in the practically ancient “Hotline Bling” at the end in an attempt to keep the meme alive.
What never fails to surprise me about Drake is the misogyny he infuses into his music that seems to grow more bold and blatant with each new record. Fans male and female alike seem to eat up lines like “Used to always stay at home, be a good girl,” not realizing the patriarchal mentality they carry.
Earlier this month the so-called 6God dropped his video for one of Views’ few hits, “Child’s Play.” The video starts with Drake washing up in a Cheesecake Factory restroom when, after grossly drying his hands by shoving them in his pockets, he realizes he forgot his phone on the table. His girl (Tyra Banks) is definitely reading his texts. He comes back and she tells him she’s caught him in a lie, so she starts yelling at him and other restaurant patrons, fulfilling the prophecy of the now iconic line, “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake?” She ends the fight by smashing cheesecake in his face and pouring red wine over his head. Bitches be crazy, right?
Drake raps for a bit with cake on his face, then forgets the whole thing and heads to the strip club, segueing the video into a completely unrelated skit. Because “the 6God is taking over tonight,” the girls have a new boss, Texas Hammer Jr. (played by OVO member OB Obrien). Hammer Jr., who touts himself as a big pimp but is clearly a loser, tells the girls there will now be an 80/20 pay split. You can probably guess who gets what. The rest of the video is just strippers twerking while Drake throws money, or them all sitting oddly still in front of him while he raps.
At the end of the song, Drake sings in his nasally whine, “I’m not someone you should trust, I know.” So why do we? Why do we feed into the old-fashioned idea of the “good girl” and let him turn listeners against women? It could be because Drake is fun and charismatic. We want to “bounce that shit like woah” because it’s catchy. Tyra Banks acting the part of the crazy bitch and throwing cheesecake at him is funny. Demeaning strippers and ogling them at the same time is easy.
Drake feeds us back the patriarchal bullshit older generations have been spewing for years in a way that seems cool, but still does just as much harm. He has an incredibly radical and one-dimensional way of looking at women. They’re either “good girls” or “bad bitches” (academically known as the Madonna/Whore complex), which I wrote about at University of Oxford. “Good girls” are ones that he can easily manipulate with money and are willing to wait for him while he balls out on tour for the rest of eternity. “Bad bitches” are usually just strippers or women who have a lot of sex. Somehow women are supposed to be both of these at the same time. Spoiler alert: this works out for no one.
A perfect example of this is “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” a hit song from his 2013 album, Nothing was the Same. Drake croons “But you’re a good girl and you know it” while telling her “Just hold on, we’re goin’ home.” In the music video, he rescues his girl from evil mobsters like a true hero. Oh, and she just happens to be dressed in the sexiest white lingerie ever made and pearls — a subtle hint at innocence that says she still puts out. The perfect Madonna/Whore.
Good girls and bad bitches come up in almost every song of Drake’s discography. You’ll see Drake go through cycles where he thinks he’s found his good girl like in “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” then when it goes wrong his lyrics turn to bitter rants like in “Hotline Bling.”
Drake also uses women’s financial situations to manipulate their relationship. He loves buying them things. “Take you to the mall and get you a new outfit” is repeated in “Child’s Play,” along with the line “I give Chanel out like a hug, I know.” He sings “I bought this one a purse, I bought this one a truck / I bought this one a house, I bought this one a mall,” in If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’s “Energy.” But then, he flips the switch when he realizes he doesn’t have his good girl — all of a sudden they’re just using him for his money.
In “Child’s Play,” he treats who he thinks is his good girl to a nice (if Cheesecake Factory is what you consider “nice”) dinner. When she catches him texting other women and throws a fit, she’s too hood for him. He blames her for acting out and threatens, “Don’t make me take you back to the hood.” Good girls don’t make a scene, even if her man is cheating. So now she’s just using him for free dinners at Cheesecake Factory and rides in his Bugatti. She’s a crazy bitch that doesn’t mean anything to him if she’s not easily controlled.
If he can’t get a good girl, Drake will, of course, turn to bad bitches. The music video depicts strippers doing their thing, but what’s supposed to be funny about it is the fact that Texas Hammer Jr. is basically taking all of their money and they’re just supposed to be cool with it so they can strip for Drake.
If you think you can’t date girls because they’re crazy and think strippers are fun but are also worthless and sleazy, then you’ve got a Madonna/Whore complex problem. Yes, Drake is fun and catchy, but if we keep letting him dominate charts it means we’re taking at least part of what he says seriously. Stand up for what you know is right; don’t be afraid to throw some cheesecake and make a scene over it.
Selene San Felice can be reached at email@example.com.