Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

DJ Khaled ft. Drake – POPSTAR

Once you pop you can’t stop! (Though we wish you would…)


Katherine St Asaph: Never stops never stopping.

Oliver Maier: Is Drake being ironic when he calls himself a popstar? It’s natural to assume he’s too big-headed to really cop to such a role, perhaps he feels that it’s too antiquated or reductive an idea to fully encapsulate him. At the same time it’s not like he expresses that outright; he cops to the title pretty straightforwardly here, after all. It’s interesting — moreso than anything going on here musically anyway — that you can infer so much about what the role might mean to him, that he accepts it less as a genuine descriptor about who he is and more as a badge that he can flash, for instance, to get the police off his back or win girls over. It’s similar to when he called himself a “singing n***a” to dis Meek Mill 100 years ago in 2015, or solidified his pop dominance by turning himself into a laughing stock; Drake only grows bigger the smaller he makes himself look. No wonder he’s so insecure! Anyway, the song sucks ass.

Thomas Inskeep: Drake sounds bored as he phones it in on (sorry) “another one,” but he can’t possibly be as bored as I am, listening to the end result. 

Will Adams: Drake ruminating on his ubiquity over a beat by the equally omnipresent DJ Khaled is one of the most obvious concepts a song can have. In harsher terms, there is absolutely nothing of interest to this. Okay, except for the fact that on the verses Drake’s intonation resembles John McCrea on “Short Skirt / Long Jacket.”

Leah Isobel: If any hip-hop artist from the past decade has the right to call themselves a popstar — with the all-quadrants, all-radio format dominating star power that implies — it’s Drake. (Well, really it’s Nicki, but whatever.) But that broad appeal can also signify a certain softness and palatability, and “POPSTAR” is as middle-of-the-road as its name implies. For one thing, the production is monotonous and grey; for another, these are not his best bars. He sounds most alive when he muses on wanting “a quick death, and an easy one” in the first verse, and he name-checks Scooter Braun, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, his platinum plaques, and Turks and Caicos like he’s reading a shopping list. Contrast this approach with DaBaby and Kevin Gates’ lively take on the same concept, where the whole point is that rap stars are pop stars without compromises. Here, Drake just sounds compromised. Oh, and DJ Khaled was also in the room when this was made.

Alex Clifton: Drake, if you were a popstar, you’d inject this with some brightness rather than the same brags we’ve heard from you before — you sound downtrodden. DJ Khaled, if you wanted people to dance to this thing, you’d have a hook in this bloody song rather than the gloomy-ass strings haunting the back. Go back to bed, both of you.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Well, at least it’s good to know that Drake is also as bored of his own fame as we all are. 

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