Drake, The Accent Connoisseur
Over the years, Drake has been criticized for ‘borrowing’ accents, slang and even full blown languages, infusing them into his music, and by extension his persona. As a result, we have witnessed Caribbean Drake, Spanish Drake, French Drake and most recently, Arabic Drake- a feat only surpassed by the GOT’s many faced God. To help you keep track of it all, here is a comprehensive list of languages (and their corresponding songs) that Drake has used thus far:
Patois: Drake feat. Rihanna- Too Good
From growing up in Toronto (a city heavily influenced by Caribbean culture) to hanging outside Rihanna’s family home in Barbados, Drake’s affinity for Patois is something he didn’t inherit. Instead, he cultivated and learned from those around him to become the Transcaribbean he is today, skillfully weaving it into numerous tracks and features until it became second nature. With his authentic accent in the bag, alongside his ‘Unruly’ friends, what else does a Degrassi actor-turned-rapper need to know about island life? Only one song could make the cut and we went for the bars that would make his new people proud. “Cock up yuh bumpa, siddung pon it!A special shoutout to “And I’m never on a waste ting, shawty” and “smiling back when they pree” from Controlla. A true cultural reset.
Spanish: Bad Bunny feat. Drake - Mia Remix
The internet went into a bit of a frenzy when Bad Bunny dropped the Mia remix featuring Drake singing in spanish. "Porque todos te quieren probar / Lo que lo sabe es que oy / Lo te voy a buscar," he sang in an accent resembling that of a Boricua earning him the tongue in cheek title “Drizzy or Doricua” from NPR’s Sidney Madden. Honourable mention to the OG feature that broke the internet on Romeo Santos’ Odios.
Yoruba: Drake feat. WizKid- One Dance
Although Drake’s Afrobeat stint was shorter than NEPA light, he did provide a summer banger in 2016, earning his green Nigerian passport in the process. OluwaDrake dropped a quick bar in Yoruba, showing us that he, in fact, was the one who taught Wizkid (the unknown feature artist) the language. “Oti, oti/There's never much love when we go OT”. The dialect wizard made a play on the word “oti”, which could mean “no”, or with a little intonation, ọtí can mean liquor. The oga at the top strikes again.
French: DJ Khaled feat. Drake- Greece
When geniuses get bored, they learn. Next on his agenda was conquering France like the 1848 revolution, and with a DJ Khaled on production it was nothing short of magnifique. Ironically titled, Greece featured the words "Come with me, fly you out to Greece/Full speed, survoler Paris, yeah” in the chorus. “Surlover Paris”, translating to fly over Paris, is a hidden message telling his fans and followers that mastering his French accent was too easy and Greece may well be his next destination.
Arabic: Drake and Headie One- Only You Freestyle
The internet told one joke too many likening Drake to an Arab man, and he absolutely ran with it on his verse in the recently dropped collaboration with drill rapper Headie One. Or maybe DJ Khaled’s been getting extra coin from tutoring lessons. Or maybe this is Drake’s latest attempt at getting Rihanna’s attention (keep up Drizzy, they broke up already). Only You Freestyle raised a few eyebrows when he rapped “Arabic ting tells me I look like Youssef, look like Hamza/ Habibti please, ana akeed, inti wa ana ahla,” which translates to “My love, please, I’m sure, you and I look better together".
And we haven’t even gotten started on how he “rides the wave” when it comes to genres. Clearly, Champagnepapi has transcended his national status as a Canadian and become a citizen of the world. The conversations on how artists incorporate certain music elements and cultures into their work and the implications is important. Not only for the host culture, but also the artists’ whose work is usually bit off from are crucial. Whether you veer on the side that Drake’s recent career moves should be considered appropriation or appreciation, here are five points of reference to help you build your argument on the matter.
Here's the a playlist of our first round picks and the other accent examples: