While its been a year since Drake’s last official release, More Life, the rap superstar has managed to keep himself busy. 2018 has seen him collaborate with the likes of N.E.R.D. and Migos, and his Scary Hours EP saw him score the biggest hit of his career with “God’s Plan”, which spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and broke Apple Music and Spotify’s first-day streaming records in January. Drake appears to be more popular than ever, which has made the anticipation leading up to his new album, Scorpion, all the more intense.
While there’s yet to be an official tracklist or release date for Scorpion, the Canadian rapper has continued his tradition of teasing information on social media. This information includes the musical direction of the album, the list of possible guest features, and whether the recent feud between Drake, Kanye West, and Pusha-T will influence its subject matter.
Here’s what you need to know about Drake’s upcoming album Scorpion:
1. The Album Is Scheduled for Release In June
Drake announced his plans to release Scorpion back in May. The announcement came via his Instagram account, which included a photo of the rapper wearing a Scorpion jacket and a caption that read: “JUNE 2018.” The title is believed by many to be in reference to Drake’s Zodiac sign, which makes sense, given that his birthday falls on October 24 and his record label, October’s Very Own, is named after his birth month.
The jacket that he’s wearing in the post has also build up buzz over the past few weeks, as various celebrities have been spotted wearing a similar design. So far, the list includes producer DJ Khaled, sport agent Rich Paul, TV personality Maverick Carter, NBA prospect Trae Young, and Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown (below). It is unclear whether these celebrities played a role in the album’s creation or are simply promoting it.
While the specific date of the album’s release remains unknown, there have been clues to suggest that it will arrive in the first half of the month. A recent post from Chateau Le Jardin announced that Drake will be performing at their dinner party on June 7th, which may coincide with the album’s rollout (read the full post here).
Drake has also alluded to the fact that Scorpion is almost done. On April 1st, he posted an Instagram story of himself with the caption “You can see the album hours under my eyes.” The rapper looks noticeably tired in the photos. He further hinted at the hard work he’s been putting in on May 21st, when he posted a photo with his longtime friend Chubbs that simply read: “home stretch.”
2. ‘Nice for What’ & ‘I’m Upset’ Will Be On the Album
After early snippets of the song leaked online, “Nice for What” was released on April 6th as the album’s lead single. It is produced by Murda Beatz, who had a handful of credits on Drake’s More Life, and features a prominent sample of the Lauryn Hill song “Ex-Factor.” The lyrics see Drake tackle female empowerment in the modern day, and the trials and tribulations that women face on their way to achieving stardom.
“Nice for What” received positive reviews from critics, with Pitchfork calling it “one of Drake’s most complete releases in some time.” Critics also noted that the empowering message was a welcome departure for Drake, who has occasionally been criticized for pandering to women with hits like “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and “Hotline Bling.”
The song enabled Drake to become the first artist in history to have a number-one hit replace his other number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed there for four consecutive weeks. The music video for “Nice for What” includes cameos from noted celebrities Olivia Wilde, Issa Rae, Misty Copeland, Rashida Jones, Jourdan Dunn, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez and many more.
The album’s second single, “I’m Upset” was released on May 26th. It is unclear whether “God’s Plan” or “Diplomatic Immunity”, the tracks off his Scary Hours EP, will make the album’s tracklist.
3. Drake Has Teased Different Collaborations On Instagram
Drake is known for pulling a wide array of collaborators for each album, and Scorpion looks as though it will be no different. The first artist touted as a possible guest feature was Spanish rapper Bad Bunny. The two were shown hanging out and smoking hookah on Instagram in January, and DJ Nelson, a frequent collaborator of Bunny’s, all but confirmed the news on Red Bull Radio, saying: “I just heard a track from Bad Bunny and Drake and Drake is singing in Spanish. It’s happening.”
Urban Islandz reports that singer Tory Lanez recorded a song for Drake that didn’t make the tracklist for his album Memories Don’t Die, and that it may end up on Scorpion instead. “This collaboration is long overdue and will be good for the culture and good for Toronto,” sources claim, “They been in the studio and recorded some stuff recently so don’t be too surprise if you see it on the album.”
Drake has also teased a song with legendary hip-hop producer DJ Premier. He posted a photo of Premier to his Instagram story on May 21st with a Scorpion emoji, hinting that the two of them have logged time in the studio. Drake’s desire to work with Premier dates back to 2010, when the producer recounted their first meeting to VIBE magazine: “[Drake] said ‘Yo next album I want to do some stuff with you’. He comes down and sits down next to us to watch the show and everybody in all the other suites next to us started bugging. He was just chilling and not acting like he was too cool.”
There have been rumors that Pharrell Williams, who worked with Drake on the N.E.R.D. remix to “Lemon”, could be also be lending his productions talents to Scorpion. SOHH reports that Drake tagged the multi-talented musician on Instagram.
That said, the most puzzling collaboration that we’ve been told about has been with singer Paul Anka. In a speech at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, Anka announced: “I’m working with a brilliant young artist who is as hot as you can get right, a fellow young Canadian and his name is Drake. We recorded something that will be released, out in June. That’s all I can tell you.” Anka is best known for his 1963 single “Put Your Head On My Shoulder.”
4. Drake’s Producer Promises A ‘Well-Balanced’ Album
Drake has confirmed that Scorpion will be executive produced by his longtime associates Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. Reports on the sonic direction of the album have been tougher to come by, but the general consensus seems to be that it is Drake’s most “balanced” album to date. In his appearance on the Baller Alert Show podcast, music exec Kenny Burns said: “I promise you he is going to deliver a project that you have been waiting for.. If you’re really a fan of Drake and you love the R&B side and the rap side, this album is for you.” Listen to the full interview above.
Preme, formerly known as the rapper P. Reign, added fuel to the fire when he posted a caption on his Instagram story that read: “And just know. That Scorpion album. Holy F*%#” followed by five fire emojis. “Y’all should never have pissed champagne off” he added, alluding to Drake’s nickname as the Champagne Papi. Read his full comments here.
To further support Burns’ comments, the most recent snippet we’ve heard from Scorpion sees Drake take a softer, R&B approach. The song is still untitled, according to HotNewHipHop, but the refrain in the snippet has led to some fans calling it “Maybe You Were Reckless Yesterday.” The snippet has since been taken down.
5. There Will Be More Disses Aimed At Kanye West & Pusha-T
Drake made headlines on May 25th when he released “Duppy Freestyle”, a scathing diss track that took aim at Kanye West and West’s labelmate Pusha-T. The track came hot on the heels of Pusha’s own diss track, “Infrared”, and sees Drake clowning Pusha’s waning relevance in the rap game. “Don’t push me when I’m in album mode,” he raps, “You’re not even top five as far as your label talent goes/You send shots, well, I got to challenge those.”
For West, a former friend and collaborator, Drake had this to say: “What do you really think of the n***a that’s making your beats/I’ve done things for him I thought that he never would need/Father had to stretch his hands out and get it from me.” Listeners were taken aback by the speed and brutality of Drake’s response, with many claiming him to be the victor. According to producer Jazzfeezy, however, Drake’s angry streak is far from over.
The producer, who worked on Drake’s 2017 song “Can’t Have Everything”, alluded to the fact that Drake has more to say regarding West and Pusha, and is simply saving it for the album. After a tweet from The Kid Mero, Jazzfeezy responded with “It’s bout to get heated my guy lol wait till the album.”
The response came with a gif of Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, implying that more lyrical “fatalities” are on the way. Check out the original exchange above.