Drake's "War"

On this track, Drake's flow is solid, but the delivery and energy aren't exactly there.

In today’s music sphere, there are only a handful of artists who have so much fame and influence that they can drop music without any formal rollout or announcement, and listeners across the world will stop everything they’re doing to tune in. A little after midnight on Christmas Eve, Canadian superstar Drake proved he can be one of these individuals by dropping a music video for his new single, titled “War.” 

As an artist who needs no introduction, Drake is sure to have a dedicated following that’ll support and praise any and all of his musical endeavors. While this has led to his monumental success, it’s also led to some stylistic mistakes and lackluster moments throughout his career. Unfortunately, “War” may go down as one of these less-than-ideal instances for the artist.

What’s interesting about this track is that it was only initially released through a music video on YouTube, not on streaming services. The visuals depict Drake and his team at some kind of snowy ski resort late at night. Snowmobiles, skis and overly puffy coats are shown throughout the video as scenes from a snow lodge party play. Overall, the music video does a fine enough job at complementing the general vibe of the song. Nothing is distinctly notable about the video, which speaks volumes about the single itself.

First and foremost, the production isn’t necessarily offensive or low quality in any way. If anything, it's a mellow and agreeable style that’s to be expected from most Toronto artists at this point in time. It has a spacey element to it while being just lively enough to give Drake something to keep up with. At its worst, it’s a do-nothing beat that drones on repetitively for roughly three minutes. At its best, it’s a clean, well-mixed beat that’s relatively harmless in the sense that it doesn’t contain anything that is challenging on the ears.

As for Drake himself on this track, one can’t deny his flow is solid, unwavering and consistent. On a technical level, he doesn’t disappoint in his ability to remain composed. However, his delivery and energy aren’t exactly there. Halfway through, one is likely to desire some sort of switch up or anything to keep themselves engaged. Drake seemingly chooses to prioritize consistency over style and charisma on this track, and it isn’t to his benefit.

As for the lyrics, the lines that have fans raving are the ones in regard to Drake’s fellow Canadian artist and potential longtime rival, The Weeknd. Drake raps, “And the boy that sound like he sang on Thriller, you know that's been my n***a, yeah. We just had to fix things, family, 6ix tings; we can't split up.”

While this is a historic moment for fans of both artists and should be celebrated, the overall lyrical content of this track is nothing to write home about. Drake comes through with some true corniness with lines such as, “You n****s spend too much time on captions, not enough time on action.” It’s nothing fans haven’t heard or expected from the rap heavyweight at this point, but it surely doesn’t do him any favors.

Complacency is something no artist in the music industry should find themselves submitting to. “War” isn’t a genuinely bad song, but Drake gives listeners little reason to be impressed. Even with him bringing back his incredibly awkward and goofy fake British accent for a number of lines, Drake definitely could’ve put more effort into his last release of the decade.

Contact Julian Denizard at denizajs@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.