Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Drake – Nice For What

We’re asking the same question, Aubrey.


Crystal Leww: I’M ACTIN OUT. 

William John: An irresistible loop in search of a drop, or at least one with more fortitude than the frenzied drum, vocal and siren goulash it is afforded here. Drake is more than capable of mountain-cresting epics — “Lord Knows” being the best evidence — but his approach here is faint and minimalist, a coasting effort when assiduousness was warranted. As for its politics, it is curious to see someone who consistently saw fit to condescend to the “good girl” now tread the path of obsequiousness, but I suppose spring is as good a season as any to turn over a new leaf. Several bonus points for the video’s inclusion of a smiling Tracee Ellis Ross, a genre of content to which I am extremely partial.

Ryo Miyauchi: Boi-1da took Drake back to the Take Care days with “God’s Plan,” and now Murda Beatz and Blaqnmild rewind it even further to Thank Me Later or even the mixtape era with that sped-up Lauryn Hill sample. Drake cheerleading his favorite women also loosely recalls “Best I Ever Had,” except he trades his no-make-up-on corniness for IRL/URL cheesiness.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Canadian Gentrification Dream Team! Murda Beatz and The Drakk East India Company have docked their boats to purse New Orleans Bounce for a moment (which not for nothing, could’ve used a fucking Wayne or Juvi verse but imagine Aubrey sharing the spotlight for a minute). It’s a simplistically light bob and weave of a bop, but doesn’t feel like the true harbinger of any new onslaught of Drakkonian terror. Which leads me to wonder, if Drakk is dropping all these singles with no real album in sight, what sort of scheme is he planning?

Nortey Dowuona: Murda Beats should’ve used something other than Lauryn Hill. Otherwise these bouncy, vibrant drums are perfect. Drake is completely useless here. He doesn’t add anything other than that sample, which could have been replaced with anything else and seemed superb over these drums. The drums and Big Freedia samples get the 5. Everything else gets nothing.

Julian Axelrod: Drake is ubiquitous. He is an institution. He is the air we breathe, he is the sun as it sets and rises, he is a collection of ones and zeroes and million-watt superstar charisma. He has remade pop in his own image, supplanting himself at the top of the charts like most of us change our socks every morning. And lo, just as the flowers start to bloom and the sun awakens from its slumber, our benevolent 6 God has bestowed upon us yet another banger. A nonbeliever may look upon the bounce beat, the Big Freedia drops, the Lauryn Hill sample that quivers and dissipates like mist upon the lake, and cry appropriation. But true disciples know Drake as a voracious, omnipotent force of nature, subsuming everything in his orbit to create a globe-spanning pop utopia. He commands us to get our motherfuckin’ roll on, and we comply. He commends the girls working overtime for their one night out, and they caption their selfies in tribute. Years from now, Drake will stand before the adoring masses, on the final night of his ten-month farewell Vegas residency. And one last time, with tears in our eyes and wonder in our hearts, we will watch the breakdown.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: IYRTITL retroactively made Drake’s previous albums significantly worse, revealing how much better his music and rapping could have been if he had just hired more (or better) ghostwriters. “Nice For What” is the first time since then that I’m reconsidering; perhaps all Drake should do now in order to succeed is write songs that make his shortcomings irrelevant. At this point, his personality is so firmly established that the little he offers here — lackluster rapping and familiar lyrics — is all we really need. He’s simply a peripheral but recognizable hypeman for the listener here, offering his supportive nice guy shtick in a way that can be comfortably ignored with an eye roll. Because if anything, the actual empowerment of women here comes from how easily they can recognize his presence as superfluous. It turns out that Drake is at his most benevolent when he stands outside the frame, allowing the rest of the song to become a space for people to “hit them motherfucking angles.”

Andy Hutchins: Fucking Drake. Nearly a decade removed from “Best I Ever Had,” he’s still trading on decent dude credentials while writing and singing lyrics that imply that the exact sort of empowered woman “Nice For What” is for and about should or even might care about Drake’s permission or blessing to take fire selfies or dress up or be hot. (Imagine Rihanna’s reaction to any man at all condoning any “showing off” she does with “But it’s all right / This is your life.”) That aside, this is a masterful master of ceremonies in party-starter mode, gliding (“roll on” and “slow song” should not rhyme so well) over an utterly unstoppable Murda Beatz-made gumbo with just the right light touch of “Triggerman” and an airy flip of “Ex-Factor.” It is a jam and a bop and a half — one that, unlike “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance” before it, features its chameleonic creator straining only to let the influences he’s synthesizing shine in their own right. Ask Drake if he’s singing songs like this to get with women, and he’ll say yeah. But he’s been making these all along, and while some of them have also been the No. 1 songs in America, not all of them have let Big Freedia be an indomitable (if lamentably uncredited and unseen) force, or been creative triumphs so profound it’s worth putting aside cynicism. Again: Fucking Drake.

Joshua Copperman: And this is what happens when Drake gets some new friends! “God’s Plan” remains a slog despite the endearingly silly music video, but Drake sounds genuinely happy on “Nice For What” in a way that I don’t think he’s ever sounded in the near-decade he’s been rapping. Much has already been said about the samples of Lauryn Hill and Big Freedia, as well as the surprisingly empowering lyrics from the man who wrote “Hotline Bling.” But some additional praise should go to the moment at 2:30 where Drake’s voice is chopped-up courtesy of BlaqNmilD, the first time in years where a Drake song actually builds up to something instead of just meandering for four minutes and fading out. “Nice For What” feels like an event single in the way “God’s Plan” didn’t. The only thing really holding this back from the highest tier of Drake is the awful mixing – tinny hi-hats obscure the Lauryn Hill sample, ironic in the one song where Drake puts women first. 

Stephen Eisermann: The “Ex-Factor” sample here works exceptionally well, but it’s only one piece of an extraordinarily good song. Drake, who’s rested heavily on his laurels as of late, finally breaks out of the self-aggrandizing mold and opts instead to dedicate this track to women everywhere. Here, Drake presents the tale of an every-woman and speaks to all of the things she achieves, overcomes, and copes with, but he does so with such energy that he keeps up with the bounce music style and never lets the song come across as corny. Instead, it’s empowering, high energy, and a ton of fun. This is Drake at his best and it’s a welcome return to form from a star rapper who’s been coasting for far too long.

Reader average: [6.18] (11 votes)

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6 Responses to “Drake – Nice For What”

  1. Is this the highest scoring Drake song?

  2. Hold On We’re Going Home got slightly higher

  3. “An irresistible loop in search of a drop” – yes

  4. Best Drake song since Passionfruit

  5. I love this song more than I love some members of my immediate family

  6. i love “make me proud” and i love this. thanks everyone