Between A Stripper Pole & A ‘Good Girl’: The Drake Edition

Yes, I am a Drake fan. Not that hard to believe considering I am a late-20s, woman of color in America, remotely attuned to popular culture and music. (In this case, a self-diagnosed know-it-all). But the one thing that’s always bothered me about Aubrey Drake Graham is that when it comes to the regaling of women he’s cherry picked in his life, they are always in the predictable (for him) lane of a tight-as-a-leather glove dressed BBW, strippers and exotic dancers. Or they (hilariously) obtain the forever dubious title of a “video vixen” ( think: “Instagram model”).

This bad bitch motif is also visually represented in most of the videos he’s in. But why does Drake keep doing this to himself? He dates these hip-hop glam dolls and then accuses them of using him for trips, dick and luxury gifts as he  momentarily operates the typical scorned man retreat of declaring he wants a “good girl” for a change. Hmmm. That’s what they all say until they get a real one and don’t know how to act when a good girl rejects sexual advances every once in a while, that it isn’t an act that’s she’s obsessed with Sylvia Path and is consistently studying up on misogynoir. (Every good girl loves herself at least one smart as fuck, yet troubled woman iconoclast).

From his first major label release Thank Me Later to Nothing Was The Same, his music exposes that he has yet to learn that his preferences are no good for him in the long run. Put down the dollar bills Drake and head over to your latest tour stop’s library, coffee shop or park and meet a real bad bitch there. Like, one that knows what the Bill Or Rights is (#TeamPetty moment). But on some real shit, this when I push my imaginary “Honesty” button because I get that Drake clearly has a vice he just can’t bachata away from. We all have a minor checklist of what we chiefly like and don’t like and sometimes we can’t even help what we are innately attractive to. As women, we have to deal with the bad boy complex, a lot. I’m telling you. I am exhibit muthafuckin’ A in wanting a Tupac Shakur with a Ph.D. (So unfair). But I’m still going to have to give Drizzy Drake a hard time here because like most rappers and young male players in Hollywood, they are so many “good girls” out there to choose from, but they stay dating and trying to wife up…eh, I’m not even sure what to call the opposite of good girl anymore.

Hence Drake’s lyrics from his verse on Game‘s “Good Girls Go Bad” (of course): Where’s all the women that still remember who they slept with? Where’s all the girls too busy studying to make the guest list? But when you do go out, you still working what you was blessed with, get it girl…When I’m done with bad bitches, know I’m coming straight to you good girl.” The verse sounds dope in the actual audio, and is one of my favorite cameos of his. But I snort at it in retrospect because it’s funny how so many good girls can’t get a text back and yet these #HoesBeWinning, as confirmed via Amber Rose. And “working what you was blessed with”? (Does that mean you’ll finally accept us more modestly derrière’ed women Drake?!) The kicker was right at the beginning however with: “Where’s all the women that still remember who they slept with?” Yeah? Here’s a quote from his 2014 Rolling Stone profile where he commented on his highly publicized “love life”: “I’m not after pussy like I was three years ago, when I was trying to make up for all the years when no girl would talk to me. But I haven’t met somebody that makes everybody else not matter.”

Despite his binders full of women (I had to), I love Drake as an artist. I really do. I get him. When he went on one against Meek Mill and was a sleeping giant awoken? That’s basically what happens when Pisces is fed up. That and his track “0 to 100/The Catch-Up.” Whew, chile! That’s us right there! Even though he’s actually a Scorpio). But brakes screech right about now because his latest surprise hit of “Hotline Bling” still wants us to feel sorry for him and his history of romantic tribulations (look up songs “The Real Her”, “From Time”) as he adorably goes caterwauling “Ever since I left the city you. Got a reputation for yourself now. Everybody knows and I feel left out. Girl you got me down, you got me stressed out.” 

Feminist-y angled articles have been sprouting about on “Hotline Bling”, wondering if the lyrics are a tad counterproductive and advertise slut-shaming. Does Drake officially have a “good girl” anxiety? He’s sad that this supposed “good girl” ex of his is living her life as a single woman and that sometimes means going out and getting turnt. But see, this is how dudes act when they are with a good girl or used to be with one. They appreciate the quasi-godliness a good girl has. She’s likely has a college degree, her guilty pleasure is ratchet gossip but she herself is not ratchet. She aspires and is working on being an educator or in the arts field. She can look like a vixen if she wants to, but it’s just not her thing. And she’d rather be at home watching YouTube than at the club past the age of 27 (or is that just me?) Ah, yes, a good girl. But, the moment this good girl behaves like “any other woman” in wanting to feel sexy sometimes or hang out with her friends in actual public domains, maybe even exhibit a little bit of reckless abandonment, her man in question freaks the fuck out and starts shaming her for being herself or exploring other sides of who she is. He may even start accusing her of being a hoe just like the “rest of the women out there.” Ew. A typical male ego bruised.

And the “good girl” talk is largely a gimmick and a means to still moderate women and their behavior, usually pulled out of the man fuckery box once they feel threatened (by a woman): As pointed out by Kat George for Noisey on VICE: “On “Bound 2” Kanye West raps “One good girl is worth a thousand bitches” and on “Runaway,” “See, I could have me a good girl / And still be addicted to them hoodrats.” It could be argued that Kanye’s use of the good girl trope is self-aware and therefore less toxic as it’s used to self-deprecate, while Drake’s is self-denying and therefore more dangerous, luring audiences into a false sense of security with his “nice guy” intentions.”  And she’s right. While we can believe this Blinged out “character” Drake is mirroring himself in is ultimately a good guy, on the other hand, we can’t ignore the fact that in the chorus, he’s also romanticizes late night booty calls. Only douchebags co-sign that shit.

George and Noisey also smartly went on to take other male artists to task for their patriarchal, sexist and plain lewd lyrics such as: “In “Blurred Lines,” the rape anthem of the century, the lyric “You’re a good girl” is followed by “I know you want it,” suggesting that through sexual violation, the man can strip the woman of her good girl title. You know, the one he bestowed upon her in the first place. Likewise, in “Part II (On The Run)” Jay-Z raps “I been wilding since a juvi / She was a good girl ’til she knew me / Now she is in the drop bustin’ Uey’s, screaming,” while in Cobra Starship’s 2009 summer banger “Good Girls Go Bad” the band sings, “I know your type/ Yeah daddy’s little girl / Just take a bite (one bite) / Let me shake up your world.” Rihanna laments this in “Good Girl Gone Bad,” singing, “’Cause once a good girl goes bad / We die forever” (written, by the way, by a 3/4 male team). The most important aspect of the good girl is that she exists only in so far as the men in her life allow her to.”

You know what “Hotline Bling” reminds me of, speaking of being a pop culture junkie? Stone Temple Pilots‘ “Sour Girl”, an autobiographical track written by former lead singer Scott Weiland. One verse goes as follows: “The roller coaster ride’s a lonely one. I’d pay the ransom note to stop it from steaming. Hey, what are you lookin’ at? She was a teenage girl when she met me.” Then the chorus: “Why would you do if I followed you?” Both songs deal with a man begrudgingly dealing with the fact that a woman they once knew and loved has simply moved on. Her good times do not need him. Her fulfillment doesn’t need him. She can sleep at night without making another tired, pathetic phone call for his approval, only to still feel empty or misunderstood afterward. Music by men is quick to praise the good girl during their ragged defense from a woman who went femme fatale on his ass. And as the quote goes: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Well, good girl women seldom get songs dedicated to them before a man’s ego has been stabbed. Remember, Drake has been here before in “Marvin’s Room” where he quietly howled: “Fuck that nigga that you love so bad. I know you still think about the times we had. I say fuck that nigga that you think you found. And since you picked up, I know he’s not around.”

Maybe like Pharrell Williams, it really is time for Drake to hang up the “bad bitches only” cape. The media actually enjoyed seeing him with a woman like Serena Williams because Williams is an icon in the making, accomplished and a woman with drive. Aside from Rihanna, Drake’s binders often just read as conquests and “video model.” That’s a huge generalization but you can also Google search to confirm why I’m ending my piece as such (aka: “Courtney from Peach Street.”) These dalliances are great for his music, but as Drake heavily remains pondering from album to album, where do lonely boy hearts of hip-hop music go?

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