The New York Times entered the hip-hop and R&B chat on Sunday (Nov. 24) with one of their bolder opinion pieces on Drake, whom they credited for making singing more commonplace in rap.
In the article, titled “Rappers Are Singers Now. Thank Drake,” writer Jon Caramanica opined that the OVO honcho “fundamentally rewrote the rules of entry for what it meant to be a rapper in the 2010s.” Caramanica further claimed that Drake’s 2009 So Far Gone mixtape “marked the arrival of a new path: singing as rapping, rapping as singing, singing and rapping all woven together into one holistic whole,” with a brief, cursory nod to T-Pain’s influence on the tonal shift.
“Drake exploded the notion that those component parts had to be delivered by two different people, and also deconstructed what was expected from each of them,” he argued. “His hip-hop was ﬂuid, not dogmatic. And in so remaking it, he set the template for what would eventually become the global pop norm.”
Despite Caramanica’s ardent sentiments, the article was met with swift backlash from hip-hop heads over the apparent erasure of the pioneering artists that long preceded Drake’s career.
“Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, Mos Def, Phonte, Kanye West, Cee Lo, 50 Cent, T-Pain’s first album was literally called ‘Rappa Ternt Sanga’, Q Tip, Nelly, Biz Markie, Pharrell, Wyclef etc. etc. but hey get them clicks” one person wrote on Twitter.
“Drake was (by his own account!) working from @phontigallo's blueprint tho,” another person pointed out. As the clapbacks continued to roll in, more hip-hop fans rattled off a slew of names that the NYT article overlooked, including those of which Drake has even cited as an influence on his own career:
After his name popped up in the conversations, Phonte of Little Brother eventually weighed in on the discussion. “The more you try to erase me, the more that I appear,” he issued in response to the article on Twitter. He later followed up on those sentiments in a second tweet.
“I’m thankful to make a good living doing what I do and awards/accolades never meant much to me. But I refuse to let you m**herf**kers rewrite history while the n**gas who helped shape it are still breathing,” he finished:
Let us know who else you think the NYT piece snubbed.