Drake and Kanye West: Rap’s Favorite Hipsters

August 13, 2013 1 comment

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We all should have seen this coming.

Two of Hip-Hops biggest names hugging it out and making the Social Media Timelines explode with excitement, displeasure, joy, and anger all at the same time; a moment that will be marked in infamy years down the line, but epic within this exact time frame. Of course, I’m talking about Kanye West making a surprise appearance at Drake’s OVO Fest two weekends ago. Among all the stars that appeared – from Diddy, French Montana, Miguel, TLC, to name a few – Kanye’s surely was a shocker that sent a strong message within the rappity rap circles.

To bring people up to speed on their history: Drake was influenced heavily by the autotuned melancholy that was 808s & Heartbreaks, one of West’s most intriguing albums that also began a flurry of prog experimentation and the rearrangement of rap’s ‘traditional’ barriers in his discography. With the help of his buddy Noah ‘40’ Shebib, Aubrey went to expand on those elements a bit further with his breakthrough So Far Gone mixtape. The approach was not subtle as he begun to mold out a persona through his rhymes of naked emotion, paranoia, and sympathy towards strippers.

Initially, Drake and Kanye were rubbing elbows and doing tracks with one another, with Ye even adding input on Aubrey’s debut album Thank Me Later. Somewhere in between that and Take Care however, they had a fallout filled with sub shots and no end in sight. A frequent reason behind it was that Kanye was salty that Drake and 40 was “replicating his sound” and as a result, he did what he could to distance himself from it. As Drizzy’s star rose with each simp anthem, Kanye was rising into a stratosphere of its own with each abrasive retort. They were going in two different directions musically, yet both met with the same criticism from the Twitter Music Connoisseurs.

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Within it all laid a common ground: They are big, big hipsters when it comes to music relatively unknown or avoided. In terms with Drake, his fascination for all things Southern Rap has yet to meet a limit. From his Houston appraisal on his full-lengths and most recent verse for Atlanta’s trio Migos party hit “Versace”, Aubrey really wants to be down with the trill and finesse. It’s also highly uncommon when he pulled this off a year earlier when he hopped on Future’s “Tony Montana” to incredible results, catapulting the latter to a success that he had might not had reach if it wasn’t for that. It’s as if he was going through the evolution of a rap listener, from shouting out Little Brother and Slum Village in his Comeback Season backpack days to now rapping over Mike Will and hopping on what’s hot (and great).

The same can be said for the Louis Vuitton Don, who has found interest in his hometown Chicago Drill scene. This became all too apparent when he hopped on Chief Keef’s intense “Don’t Like” for a G.O.O.D. Music Remix. Things didn’t stop there as he brought Keef, King L, and Young Chop to Paris to help record Yeezus which they were featured on and reassuring that he is still cares for his city. From the acid house and Drill that was sprinkled all over his latest album, Kanye stick to his roots in his own twisted imagination.

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While they are here to rap and shit like that, they really do love their indie music too. Kanye snuck in Magazeen and Popcaan to add a dark dancehall effect to Yeezus, only amplified by the like-minded antics of his producing protégé Travis Scott. It looks to be his new theme to do ever since it was first featured on “Mercy” and also rearing its head on Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail. His fanboy crush for Daft Punk hasn’t gone away either when his idols aided in producing 1/3 of Yeezus. The initial Industrial output can easily be mistaken for an interest of early Nine Inch Nails work (which wouldn’t be surprising to see Kanye and Trent Reznor perform together during the Made In America festival). He always had a knack for acquiring obscure sounds and incorporating them into his own (Bon Iver in “Lost In The World” and everything after) and as a result, he will introduce a lot of people to these artists for the first time.

And that’s something I can appreciate from him and Aubrey, who himself focused heavily on the elements of The xx and SBTRKT throughout the release of Take Care and onward. His latest single, the groovy 80s pop-esque “Hold On We’re Going Home” sounds like it was left off recording sessions with Jessie Ware and Solange. Aubrey knows what he is doing and he’s very meticulous in reaching out to his audience with a song like this: bubbly, warm, and very accessible for a two-step at a family cookout. With the upcoming Nothing Was The Same in September, he’s looking to make use of all of the deep house that is popular right now in Europe.

It is all to be determined however as to when Kanye and Drake will begin working together once again and make great music. They’re cozy with blue-eyed-soul sad man James Blake, so I hope this is the start of something great between the three of them. With this and Kendrick Lamar lighting a fire under the ass of his friends, the future of rap is looking pretty awesome…I mean, if people actually have fun with their music and rap like the people I’m writing about.