With 25 tracks and a run time that reaches nearly 90 minutes, Drake’s latest album, “Scorpion,” is a slog.
The double-sided LP has received mixed early reviews from music critics, most of whom bemoan the album’s length and the filler tracks that populate it.
For the listener who is put off by the prospect of digging into 25 songs, we’ve highlighted a few of the essential tracks from “Scorpion” to expedite your listening process.
We excluded the ubiqutous singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” which combined to hold the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for 19 consecutive weeks prior to the album’s release.
Here are the 5 songs on Drake’s 25-track album that are actually worth listening to:
The first quality track on “Scorpion”‘s rap-centric Side A, “Nonstop” interpolates an unreleased song from Memphis rapper Mack Daddy Ju over a bass-heavy beat. The track finds Drake unleashing the sharpest possible version of his uniquely corny bravado, boasting about his wealth with lines like “Bills so big I call ’em Williams, for real.”
The first in a series of tracks responding to Pusha-T’s ruthless diss track, “The Story of Adidon,” “Emotionless” finds Drake addressing the Pusha-initiated rumors that he was “hiding a child.” The song chops up a sample from Mariah Carey’s 1991 song “Emotions” for a moving instrumental that backs some first-rate, introspective bars, as the 31-year-old rapper confirms the existence of his first child and ponders the consquences.
“8 Out of 10”
On the jubilant “8 Out of 10,” Drake boasts of his successes while an unnamed woman’s voice acts as his nonchalant hype woman, endorsing each of his stanzas with the word “true.” The song serves as another response to Pusha-T’s diss-track claim that he’s a “deadbeat” father (“The only deadbeats is whatever I been rapping to”), and it features a comical outro from rapper Plies, who mocks Drake for seemingly being “big mad” over his latest rap beef.
Backed for the first time with soul-sample production from hip-hop legend DJ Premier, Drake reflects on how fame has shifted his personal life on “Sandra’s Rose.” The track’s title references his mother’s past career as a florist (“My mother had a flower shop / But I was Sandra’s Rose“), and he extends the metaphor to meditate on the trappings of the industry.
“After Dark” (feat. Static Major and Ty Dolla $ign)
The only worthwhile non-single on the album’s saccharine, R&B-centric Side B – which features one of Drake’s all-time worst songs in “Ratchet Happy Birthday” – “After Dark” is a smooth, guitar-led track fit for a nighttime drive. The song features a compelling guest verse from rapper-singer Ty Dolla $ign and stellar, posthumous vocals from the late R&B hitmaker Static Major.