Make us your home page
Instagram

Column: Drake is the musical equivalent of salad and breadsticks

When it comes to Category: Spirited Debates, the arts and entertainment side of the newsroom has it in spades. While talk of politics and crime typically circulate around the building, pop music/culture critic Jay Cridlin and I recently had this Spirited Debate:

Drake.

Jay has become kind of fed up with the Canadian megastar's people-pleasing sound, which he explores in this week's cover story. "From the permafrost far below, your friendly Canadian rap god appears to be idling atop his Olympus," the story goes, "pleasing all kinds of people but going nowhere in the process." Drake, he posited, can only live in the middle for so long.

STEP IT UP, DRAKE: Drake, bound for Tampa Saturday, tries to please the masses

From my high school debate team podium, I pushed my glasses up and argued that in the middling middle, Drake has actually found his truth. He has carved out a brand (bland?) of slow jams that aren't exactly slow, what you play while driving to a hot date at the Olive Garden. He has found his thing, and that thing is unlimited salad and breadsticks. Why change what works?

For a tiebreaker, I called Chris Quirin, known around town as DJ BigChrisTheMovie. Along with Matt Kaye, Quirin puts on semi-regular Drake Nights at the Bends, a cool bar in downtown St. Petersburg.

The Bends threw a Drake Night at Christmas, to which people wore Drake sweaters, and one around Valentine's Day with posters of Drake on the wall inside hearts. The Bends is having a Drake Night this weekend, the night before Drake's show at Amalie Arena.

Quirin found out about Drake Nights in other cities and had to bring the concept here. Quirin mashes up Drake and other songs all night. There are Drake masks. Drake videos play on loop. There is a "Champagne Papi toast" at midnight.

It is one of the Bends' more popular events. People flock to Drake Night, in part because Drake is so palatable to women and men alike. Quirin explained:

"He kind of touches on lots of different bases. He's safe, but he's also a little dangerous, too. He's just real popular."

I floated my theory that Drake has become authentically Milquetoast and in doing so, has self-actualized.

"You're right!" he said, which made me want to run to Jay's desk immediately and do laps with a victory flag, but I let Quirin continue.

"He is about slow jams, but they're still good. People can dance to them and party and have a good time to it, which is kind of rare. People are dancing, people are standing there on the dance floor screaming the lyrics. As a person playing someone else's music, it makes my job really easy."

He defined Drake's sound in a way that shouldn't make sense but does:

"It's a slow-upbeat."

Sure! If you have been pro-Drake since he was little Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi, or if you continue to expect more fizzy from Drizzy, Drake Night is a good place to work out your feelings. It's from 10 p.m. to closing time Friday at 919 1st Ave N. And there are Drake-themed cocktails, so get a Hennessy in your hand. It helps fuel debates.

Column: Drake is the musical equivalent of salad and breadsticks 08/23/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.

    Events

    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  2. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  3. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  4. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]