Step Aside Bieber-Fever — Drake-itis is taking Over (and it’s FAR from Over!)

June 16, 2010

So, have you had enough of Drake yet? No?

That’s good because what seems to be a complete Drake takeover is, well, far from over.  Many in Toronto proclaimed June 15th Drake Day, because for thousands of fans, his album “Thank Me Later” finally dropped.  Radio sang his praises all day, one even doing a Top Seven Drake Countdown – first thing in the morning – as in 7AM. *sigh*

So how big is he? Let’s take a look at the activity over the last little while:

*Big enough for CNN, probably the most respected media outlet in the world, to do a piece on him a few months ago (which surprisingly very few people in the hip hop community jumped on). And that was before he had an album, making older viewers realize that mixtapes were still alive and well.

*Big enough to pretty much shut down an area of NYC last night (according to the news – so it must be true!!), the same day as his album release, where he offered a free concert to the thousands of fans who basically lost their minds before he even hit the stage.  Event sponsors were shocked at the amount of people who showed up, saying they greatly underestimated his appeal and the amount of attendees.

* Big enough for people to be standing in line before midnight on June 15th to be the first to purchase the CD along with getting the highly coveted wristband for the chance to get the CD signed by Drizzy next week.  When I left the radio station in downtown Toronto at about 2:30AM on June 15th, the line up at the HMV at 333 Yonge Street was almost at Gould St. (about 80 people deep) – complete with tents and sleeping bags. By 11AM the line up was 2 blocks south of that, and winding around the corner – see the picture below. My boy who works for Universal Music Canada (which distributes TML), said the street team went down to take pictures and there were girls in line who were crying – seriously!!  What’s even more surprising, is that some of the folks in line were grown-ass people. As in my age. Standing in line on Yonge Street to purchase a Drake CD…. (No judgment, I’m just sayin’)….

*Big enough  that Twitter was going nuts yesterday with love him/hate him tweets. The vast majority of  tweets for at least 10 hours had something about Drake, the album (doo-doo vs. wikkid), where to get it, how to get it, etc. etc. etc –> Some were pretty damn funny (like @smashbrovaz who said they found his CD in the pop/soft rock section in Walmart – c’mon son!), to the almost insulting (like @dreamhampton313, whom I have loads of respect for, saying that Drake is successful because we’re in the Obama era, and “Lightskinned dudes w/white moms with country accents from places where there are none. Rapid rise to the top. Nice guys w/ weird jobs”) …. ummm… really?? Wow.  I’ll leave that debate for another day……

My two cents? I think the stuff he’s released on the mixtapes is way fresher and lyrically stronger than what’s on the album  (Ransom and Unstoppable are STILL on my ipod), but that being said, the album was made to make money, and if the line ups of crying teenaged girls were any indication – he most certainly will.   I cringed at labeling yesterday ‘Drake Day’ and prefer to remember it as “Toronto Day” …. Call me selfish, but I do want Drake to win and come out on top mainly because if he’s able to do it, then maybe it will open doors for more MCs and singers from north of the border. I’m also banking that if that happens, the gap between successful artists coming from Canada will get smaller and smaller.  Until it’s no longer such a big deal.  Stranger things have happened…. like Justin Bieber (from Stratford, ON) getting nominated for a BET Award….  



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