Drake is our new pop overlord | Bleader

Drake is our new pop overlord

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Last year Billboard changed the way it tallies its Hot 100 chart to include streams from services like Spotify and YouTube, causing some immediate and fairly significant shakeups. Taylor Swift, who had just released her album Red, benefitted immensely as her fans' digital-native listening habits were finally acknowledged, and overnight a half dozen songs from the album—most of which weren't being officially promoted as singles—popped up on the chart.

Eleven months later, Drake's Nothing Was the Same has made Swift's achievement look minor in comparison, putting an even dozen songs on the chart. The album's current single, the disco-inflected "Hold On, We're Going Home," is on there (sitting pretty at number four), but so are tracks that were previously released as teaser leaks ("Wu-Tang Forever") and a bunch of deep cuts that haven't even been individually promoted at all. In all, 12 out of NWTS's 15 tracks are on the Hot 100 right now. Strangely enough, aside from "Connect," the easily overlooked midalbum tribute to Houston hip-hop, the only ones that aren't on the chart are the monster lead single "Started From the Bottom" and "305 to My City," which if my Twitter timeline is any indication is developing a serious cult following. My current favorite song from the album, the fuzzily structured, Wu-Tang-referencing "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2"—which features a guest spot from Jay-Z that's nimbler and funner than most of Magna Carta, Holy Grail—is hanging in there at number 65.

Pop music thrives on spectacle, and Drake's oeuvre, hip-hop, is arguably even more about it. And now that selling a million copies of an album its first week out—large-scale rappers' boast of choice for years before the record industry's implosion—is beyond even the biggest rap artist's reach, total album domination over the pop charts may become the new standard of industry success. If it is, charting 12 songs simultaneously—or 80 percent of the album's content—will be the bar other pop rappers will need to clear.

Good luck.

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