I don't know how to put this, but Drake's kind of a big deal. Like "more number one singles than Usher" level big deal. So when the man drops a new song the the world listens, when he rocks a new outfit the work looks, and when he throws a verse on a relatively unknown artist's song, the world is forced to ask, "Who the fuck is [insert name here]?"
It's the way Future got introduced to the larger hip-hop community, the way Migos got introduced to the larger hip-hop community and the way ILOVEMAKONNEN just got introduced to the larger hip-hop community, via Drake's remix of "Tuesday".
Basically Aubrey Graham just forced you to know who ILOVEMAKONNEN is or miss out on what a sizable chunk of the internet is talking about today. We know, we know, you've got better things to do with your time, like conduct blind taste tests to determine whether a M&M's color affects its taste. So never fear, we got you. We're professionals, we'll tell you everything you need to know so you can avoid getting sucked into an internet-research black hole and focus on what really matters in life.
Who Is ILOVEMAKONNEN?
Raised in L.A. and currently residing in Atlanta, Makonnen (real name) first started really making music after he was placed on house arrest for his alleged role in a friend's murder; the case was later dropped. Briefly signed to a publishing deal as a songwriter via Mike Will Made It, Makonnen grew frustrated by what he felt was Mike's slow pace and struck out on his own, eventually landing beats from Southern producers like Sonny Digital and Metro Boomin.
His "I Don't Sell Molly No More" was probably what first started getting him some attention on the interwebs, followed by the "Club Going Up On A Tuesday" garnering viral video status, as the kids would say, and boom, here we are.
What's He Sound Like?
The closest comparison is probably Lil B, which is fitting because ILOVEMAKONNEN considers the Based God to be a friend and inspiration. Makonnen does that "sing/rap in a way that's pretty objectively terrible but maybe actually terrible in a way that's endearing and catchy but maybe it's actually just terrible but maybe it's actually great" thing that's become such a staple of life on the internet.
Speaking of which, you also need to ask what he looks like, since that's a large part of the whole thing. A YouTube video's worth a thousand words so I'll just point out that he's known to carry around a mannequin head and let you get to watching.
Should I Care?
Um.....yes/no? Nes? Yo? As I laid out in the "What Does He Sound Like?" section, it's complicated. Since I started this off with Drake, maybe Drake's the best way to make sense of it.
Unlike Future or Migos (or Kendrick or A$AP Rocky or etc.), Drake hopping on "Club Going Up on a Tuesday" seems like less of one of those power moves he's so good at, where he identifies an artist with building buzz and strategically positions himself in "years from now I'll be able to say I helped put you on" territory, and more of a statement that he's just like us. Drake wastes time on the internet too! Just like us, he's got friends that say "you gotta watch this weird YouTube video"! He didn't drop a new hot remix, he dropped a new musical "SNL" skit.
But that's not exactly a dismissal of ILOVEMAKKONEN since a decent chunk of his stye is based on embracing the ridiculous and absurd. And really, the reason he went viral enough for Drizzy to notice in the first place is because, like Lil B or Riff Raff or Young Thug, he sits in that recently created, swirling vortex of the internet where it becomes impossible to figure out where irony starts and ends.
People will hate him, and people will love him to piss off the people who hate him. But who wants to be the guy who's too uptight to get the joke? Except maybe I should actually hold onto certain standards, except maybe people should just fucking relax and embrace the weirdness, except maybe pure weirdness is a bad reason to embrace something, expect maybe I don't like it only ironically, maybe I like it-like it, except maybe that's a sign I'm losing my fucking mind and so on and so forth until your brain starts to leak out of your eyeballs and you have to Swiffer up your grey matter.
Ultimately, the best way to deal with ILOVEMAKONNEN (and anyone else in the irony vortex) is to relax. Did you find that video entertaining? Fine, here's a full album that might be worth your time. Did you hate it? Fine, you should easily be able to ignore him from here on out; more actively fretting about him will only be a further waste of your time. At the very least now you know what you decided to ignore, and as a group of wise philosophers once said, that's half the battle.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast form and appears on RevoltTV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]