[Photo via Instagram]
They'll be popping even more bottles at the OVO headquarters tonight as Drake's In Case You're Reading This It's Too Late just went platinum. The feat is especially impressive considering it's the first and only album released in 2015 that has gone platinum. Call it a mixtape or an album, it doesn't really matter. What is important is that a surprise release, comprised of what many have collectively assumed are throwaway tracks from his upcoming Views From The 6 album, is now the most commercially successful album released this year, across all genres.
I mean, one of the tracks was from Sorry For The Wait 2, just think about how much bigger VFT6 should be with proper marketing and single success behind it? It should also be noted that this is now Drake's fourth straight platinum-certified studio release, following Thank Me Later, Take Care (2x) and Nothing Was The Same. Drizzy took to IG give his thoughts on the success.
While topping the million mark in sales is a considerable achievement in 2015, a majority of these sales took place before the beef with Meek Mill began and the ghostwriting allegations came to light. It's been heavily discussed whether or not this amounts to blasphemy for a hip-hop act, but the bigger question remains whether or not this entire ordeal would affect Drake's popularity.
Drizzy could have easily seen his stock fall as a result of the negative attention, yet he instead rose to the occasion, playing the situation like a goddamn Bobby Fischer and unleashing a few potent diss tracks in the process. Those two hastily released diss records? They're now sitting at numbers 21 ("Back To Back") and 78 ("Charged Up") on the Billboard Top 100.
Along with "Back To Back" and "Charged Up," "Hotline Bling" and Game's "100" both made their debuts on the Top 100 this week. Joining Meek's "R.I.C.O." and Future's "Where Ya At," this means Drake is a headliner or featured guest on six songs in the Top 100. He also sits at the number two spot on Billboard's Top 100 Artists chart this week. In other words, this is Drake right now.
As far as who's challenging Drake at the moment for the unofficial "Runner of Rap," it's all of the obvious names. Obviously, there's Kendrick. Released two months after Drake's project, TPAB is sitting at just over 660k in sales, despite the insanely high critical-acclaim and a stronger marketing push. J. Cole's FHD is doing incredibly well, having surpassed the million unit mark in April, though the LP was released in late 2014. Kanye is still Kanye, though it becomes harder to pinpoint just how "hot" he is musically right now as we continue the wait for SWISH as well as his absence on the charts. Who else, Eminem? Jay Z? Ehhh. It could certainly be argued (for days) on a qualitative level that any of these names are running the game right now, but most of the quantifiable evidence points to Drake.
Despite all of the criticism he's faced in recent weeks, especially from what is regarded as the core "rap" community, it's hard to argue that Drake is not running rap right now. If anything, his grip on the position (which is admittedly quite subjective) has strengthened. In the world we live in, it's all about "what have you done for me lately?" and right now, no one's doing more in rap than Drake.
[By Brendan Varan. He needs Views. Follow him on Twitter.]