Drake Surpasses Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Even the Beatles. What’s Next for the King of Rap?

Photograph by Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Kanye West lamented that he was no longer the king of rap. He conceded to GQ that Drake now wore the crown. West didn’t seem thrilled about it. But the so-called rap game is a competitive one. There are winners and losers. If there weren’t, what would these guys have to rap about?

For Drake, the honors (and potential lyrical fodder) have been piling up this week. Billboard reported that his latest single, 0 to 100 / The Catch Up, is his 18th No. 1 on the magazine’s Rap Airplay chart. West has a mere 10. The same is true for Lil Wayne, who, of course, is Drake’s mentor.

The news follows Billboard’s announcement this week that Drake has now reached its Hot 100 chart 73 times—surpassing the Beatles, who did it 72 times—with his appearance on ILoveMakonnen’s single Tuesday. Yes, it was a guest verse. But that’s why artists pay the Canadian rapper a lot of money to furnish their songs. He gets them more listeners.

How do we account for Drake’s dominance? He’s a B-grade rapper and a C-grade singer at best. But he’s the first rap star to combine these two talents in a way that doesn’t turn off the hard-core hip-hop fans. And for all his boasting about selling records and consorting with strippers—and even a Hooters waitress—Drake is a guy with feelings. His best tracks have a moodiness and vulnerability that’s rare in his game of choice. Apparently the combination is irresistible.

Now he just has to worry about his reputation. TMZ reported that one of Drake’s alleged acquaintances from the exotic dancing world recently called the Houston Police Department to alert authorities that the star had apparently sent her threatening texts because he was concerned she might go public about their trysts. Drake’s people say this is untrue.

A whiff of scandal might help Drake with the fickle rap audience. The danger for an artist who straddles pop and hip-hop like he does is that he might be seen as inauthentic. The TMZ report reminds his audience that he may indeed be the roguish character he presents himself to be in his songs. If Drake’s fans feel otherwise, someone else will be wearing his crown.

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