I can’t even imagine how much money was put out on the table in order to make this happen, but Drake somehow managed to get Kanye, Wayne and Eminem to guest on his new track, “Forever,” which leaked yesterday and which is going to be on the soundtrack to a new documentary about Lebron James. Because Lebron James is interesting enough to warrant a documentary, apparently.
Anyways, the track is pretty good, even despite Drake’s presence on it. Kanye makes jokes about Benjamin Button, McLovin and Ferris Beuler, rocks the line, “You would think I ran the world like Michelle’s husband,” and he says “Like they was down with the old me / No you fucking wasn’t,” which makes me laugh every time I hear it. Wayne talks about Mars a bunch, then New Orleans a little, then Nevada for some reason, and ok, on second thought, maybe this verse is a little weak. Eminem makes up for it, though, with a dizzying verse that’s more impressive than anything I’ve heard from him in a very long time.
One thing I really just cannot get down with, though, is the hook. Sung by Drake himself, it goes like this:
“It may not mean nothing to y’all
But understand nothing was done to me.
So I don’t plan on stopping at all.
I want this shit forever.
I’m selling shit down at the mall,
and telling that girl she the one for me,
and I ain’t even planning to call.
I want this shit forever.”
Now, we put up with all sorts of stupid, nonsensical, or even totally offensive shit when it comes to hip-hop—it’s really just part of the deal, and you have to accept it or you’ll drive yourself insane. But for me, such things are less tolerable when they appear in choruses.
As part of a verse, I can deal with almost anything because in a half a second, there will be a new line that has the potential to make up for the sins of the last one, and it often does. With a hook, though, every line, every word even, is just begging to be torn apart because of how they’re lingered on and because they’re so often delivered in a way that’s meant to sound very sexy or very heartfelt, or sometimes both. So it’s a favorite pastime of mine to evaluate the words being sung in the context of the intended tone.
From the title and from the themes carried out in the verses, I have gathered that this track is about sticking around for the long haul—about how they’ve all been themselves since long before they were famous, and about how they’re going to continue being themselves (and being famous) for the foreseeable future. It’s a harmless and entirely trite sentiment that should not have been nearly as difficult to express as Drake made it out to be.
The first two lines don’t make any sense. “It may not mean nothing to y’all / But understand nothing was done to me.” That is true. It doesn’t mean anything to me that Drake’s life has been without incident. Then he says “I don’t plan on stopping at all” and that he wants “this shit forever,” and, sure, that works just fine. I understand where he’s coming from. But then he starts talking about the mall.
If we’re going to work under the assumption (and I am) that mainstream hip-hop is essentially a pose, wherein grown men use different devices—drugs, sex, guns, etc—to tell people how tough or how cool they are, then I have to question Drake’s decision to sing about the mall, which is probably the least tough or cool place a person can be. And further to that, he talks about lying to a girl by telling her he wants to be with her forever, when in actuality, he’s not even planning to call her. It’s dickish, sure, but that’s not even the problem. In fact, I’d have been happier if he’d said, even in super graphic, demeaning terms, that he’d slept with her and then lied to her. But just lying to a girl you meet at the mall? I don’t know… isn’t that what, like, every boy does when they’re 14?
I’m certainly not looking for rappers to take any sort of moral high ground—as the backpack crowd has proven for years, that shit gets pretty boring too. But for the love of christ, it would be nice if they would at least hold a microscope to their words and make sure they get the point across as planned, lest they just come off like dweebs.