Drake vs. TumblrMichael Loccisano/Getty Images
If you missed it, Drake vs. Tumblr happened. He doesn’t like the silly emulating bloggers. Lots and lots of “turkeys” out there. Needless to say, this is the beef the world has been waiting for! It’s on now: Man vs. Technology! The collective hive mind vs the indomitable individual spirit. Auto-Tune vs. Autoreblog. Once more unto the breach!
Now the immediate thrust of Drake’s criticism is sort of easily dismissed. He doesn’t mind the freedom (music leaks are all good with him), but he dislikes the choices people make with their freedom. Which is very understandable when everything you do, from wearing sweaters to giving hugs becomes viral fodder for the insatiable masses.
But it should go without saying that social media, blogging platforms et. al are, of course, what you make of them. A cursory glance may reveal porn, spam-artists, and too many Drake-related memes for his liking. But there are also thriving communities brimming with creative energy. Many think this obvious. If you were too far gone to notice THE FULL INTERNET, you can thank me later for the memo.
The grander irony is that this comes from an artist who wants you to live vicariously through him, and who is releasing an album full of fake-it-til-you-make-it confessions, which seems a grand illustration of Narcissus himself gazing at his reflection and noting what displeases him.
“Remember what it was to be me: that is always the point” is what Joan Didion writes in On Keeping a Notebook. About writing things down, doodling, etc. And it seems apt because the blogs, mixtapes, albums — they’re all notebooks of a sort.
And so the real question here isn’t choosing a side between Drake or Tumblr, but rather recognizing that Drake is a Tumblr. His albums are patchwork snippets of a lifestyle quilted together to create an experience that makes you say fuckyeahDRIZZYDRAKE. And I’m all good with that, if he is. But maybe he isn’t?
Patrice Evans is a Grantland staff writer. Check out his (excellent) book Negropedia: The Assimilated Negro’s Crash Course on the Modern Black Experience. And for more on TAN, see his Q&A with The New Yorker.