Toronto rapper Drake has officially become an icon. The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame should just go ahead and induct him now. He has not only proven himself as a top lyricist but he also knows how to manipulate the internet to his advantage.
Drake was already riding high when his ex-pal Meek Mill called him out for allegedly using a ghostwriter. He responded with two dis tracks that sent Meek running home to his girlfriend, Nicki Minaj. To prove he had won hip-hop's most current beef, at a concert Drake prominently displayed memes making fun of Meek.
He then followed up by dropping an online mixtape with Future that generated more memes jabbing Meek. One of them included Drake and Future (heads superimposed on the bodies of former Miami Heat teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) completing a vicious alley-oop dunk over Meek (who was dressed like a Boston Celtic). Both James and Wade, along with hundreds of thousands of Instagram and Vine users, shared the 15-second clip.
Meanwhile, the gossip sites were all over Drake's rumored liaison with tennis star Serena Williams. The internet blamed him when Williams lost in the semifinals of the U.S. Open because he showed up to watch the match.
But Drake wasn't done. Last month, he dropped the video for "Hotline Bling," a song he released on the music-sharing social media site SoundCloud, and all hell broke loose.
The video has become the meme of the century. He knew the video would be repeatedly recut by creative members of the internet hive.
In an interview with Complex magazine, his choreographer, Tanisha Scott, quoted Drake as saying "This is totally going to be a meme" when he watched the video takes. Drake understands we are living in an age when kids on social media make fun of celebrities.
As a result, "Hotline Bling" rose all the way to number two on Billboard's Hot 100 without any traditional marketing. Drake has everybody waiting for what he'll come up with next.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.