Drake releases Scorpion

Drake’s Scorpion holds at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second week, logging the biggest sophomore week for any album in more than two years. The set earned 335,000 equivalent album units in the week ending July 12 according to Nielsen Music (down 54 percent from its big start of 732,000 units a week earlier). Of its second week sum, 29,000 were in traditional album sales.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new July 21-dated chart (where Scorpion stays steady at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Tuesday, July 17. So how does the 31-year-old feel about attaining a level of cultural ubiquity usually associated with strongman leaders of military dictatorships? Not great, apparently. “There’s times when I wish I was where I was back when I was wishing I was here,” he raps early on. The phrase “I’m so tired” is spoken several times, in addition to “I’m upset,” “I’m sick of this s—,” “I’m jaded,” and “I’m exhausted and drained.”

He mentions that upon the release of this very album, he will be out of his record contract, and sounds none too concerned about the prospect. On “Is There More,” he attempts to perform a self-audit on his own catalog of soul-sucking excesses, only to get distracted by a glimpse through the past month’s expense reports: “Is there more to life than taking trips to Dubai? / Yachts on the 4th of July, G5 soaring the skies? / Is there more to life than all these corporate ties and all of these fortunate times?”consisting of an unwieldy 25 tracks, “Scorpion” is split into two “sides,” with Side A featuring aggrieved, combative hip-hop, and Side B focusing on moody, bruised R&B.

Both have their moments: Singles “God’s Plan” and “Nice for What” have lost none of their earwormy insidiousness; the Southern-fried flows on “Nonstop” and “Mob Ties” may raise eyebrows, but they also show off Drake’s versatility; “Summer Games” and “In My Feelings” cast Drake’s signature nocturnal musings over interesting new textures; and Jay-Z and Ty Dolla $ign both bring welcome energy to their guest slots. But it’s hard to listen through the entire expanse without performing a backseat edit, and even after several spins, too much of the album remains an indistinguishable muddle.

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