Dear Drake: Please Leave Aaliyah Alone – New York Music – Sound of the City

aaliyah_promo.jpgThe R&B singer Aaliyah died in a plane crash 11 years ago this month; last week Drake announced that he’d be executive producing a posthumous album for her, and the first taste of that album, “Enough Said,” arrived online yesterday. Lest you think that the song would be a chance for people to remember her legacy, think about how singular her voice was, and reflect on how she’d be pushing R&B forward today, it is instead a testament to Drake’s ego; it starts with an “uh” from the former Degrassi star, who then, in response to her letting loose a particularly lovely “yeah yeah yeah,” offers up a “yo, whassup” that is annoying-guy-at-a-bar-level cringeworthy, and made even moreso when it’s repeated. I actually had to shut the song off before my first listen hit the 30-second mark, so irritated was I by Drake’s attempts to act not just as its executive producer, but as Guy Steering The Ship And Don’t You Forget It, Okay.

The swirly production, courtesy of Drake collaborator Noah “40” Shebib, is fine enough, although its chillwavery pales in comparison to the glitchy, propulsive beats that Timbaland supplied for tracks like “We Need A Resolution.” But then there is the issue of the lyricsβ€”in particular and unsurprisingly Drake’s verse, since the whole song seems to be an excuse for him to lay down a couple of bars where he can use the “talk to me about your problems, I want to help you” setup laid by Aaliyah’s verses to enter into a poor-little-me therapy session in which he brags about his watch and reminds people that, hey, he’s famous and he has “haters.” (Every million I gain an enemy or a cousin/ And people’s feelings have changed ever since I became somethin’,” he gripes. God, get a Tumblr, dude. Or at least a thesaurus.) Voice contributor Julianne Escobedo Shepherd said it best:

“… if Drake had any iota of an inkling how to act, he would not have offered that piece of shit of a megalomaniacal verse on a track with a new sketch from Babygirl. I’ve been disdainful of the concept of him sharing songspace with her vocals because his narcissistic manipulative emotions are the antithesis of the deep pathos her reticent presence represented. But this is worse than I could have ever anticipated. F U Drake and while we’re at it, RIP Static Major. Respect to the Haughton family, Diane, Michael, Rashad.”

Amen.

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