October’s Very Own: Drake’s Top Five Songs from a Former Drake Hater

Cooper Tamase, Opinion Editor

Aubrey Graham, a man of many names, Drake, Drizzy, Champagne Papi, the “6 God,” Certified Lover Boy and October’s Very Own (or OVO for short). It is certainly an understatement to say that Drake is a popular figure in the media. From his record breaking album sales and streams to his various appearances and collaborations with fellow figureheads of the industries, Drake seemingly cannot be escaped. Prior to late 2021, the inability to escape Drake and his music irritated me, but when I say music I mean his repetitive radio hits such as “One Dance,” “Hotline Bling” and “In My Feelings.” However, over the past year and a half, I’ve gained an appreciation and liking for Drake’s music to the point where I would consider myself a fan, due to his infectious melodies and instrumentals to his quotable lyrics. 


Here are my five favorite songs by Drake:


  1. Look What You’ve Done – from Take Care (2011)


I’m a sucker for piano instrumentals, whether it is the primary or the secondary instrumental, if there is a piano I most likely will heavily enjoy the song. The slow and melancholic piano for the first minute and 20 seconds, paired with Drake’s somber and calm lyrics about his past are able to reel me into Look What You’ve Done immediately. Drake’s delivery and lyrical content doesn’t change as the beats change from an upbeat drum-based instrumental to the masterful piano one. The best way I can describe this song is that Drake is writing a letter rooted in the reminiscence of the past that he had with someone while expressing his appreciation for them, which is a lyrical subject that oftenly isn’t used. Look What You’ve Done is a masterclass in R&B infused rap and is one of Drake’s most unique songs to date. 


  1. Middle of the Ocean – from Her Loss (2022)


A return to form. That is what Middle of the Ocean is for Drake, and after releasing some rather inconsistent projects over the past five or so years, Drake returned to his rapping roots with this song. I find Middle of the Ocean to be one of Drake’s most lyrical songs, however, Drake’s lyrical content doesn’t branch out beyond his bragging about his lifestyle and valuables but that isn’t a problem with me. In his previous albums post-2017, Drake’s braggadocious songs of his wealth weren’t as hard hitting nor did they have the shelf life that I believe Middle of the Ocean will have. What makes Middle of the Ocean different from his songs with similar lyrical content is the instrumental. Specifically, the beat switch around the minute and 50 second mark compliments Drake’s lyrics and delivery perfectly. I honestly think the reason I like this song this much is because of that beat switch. 


  1. Champagne Poetry – from Certified Lover Boy (2021)


How can you not get hooked by the “I love you, I love you, I love you…” sample over that smooth beat at the beginning of Champagne Poetry? Sure, the lyric of “I’ve been hot since the birth of my son” is a tad bit cringey, but Drake thankfully makes up for it with his strong delivery. Once again, the usual lyric theme of bragging about his lifestyle is present, however, the beginning of Champagne Poetry sees spurts of Drake showing appreciation for his blessings. The change in lyrical content continues as Drake, despite not changing his vocal delivery, begins to express vulnerability with lyrics such as “The pressure is weighing on me,” and “Career is going great, but now the rest of me is fading slowly.” Yet again, my favorite part of the song is the instrumental/beat, especially the beat switch around the middle of the song as the choir samples, piano and synths pick up as the song comes to a close. Champagne Poetry is the magnum opus from Certified Lover Boy, one of the weaker Drake albums. 


  1. Jungle – from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (2015)


This song is the ultimate display of Drake’s vulnerability. Jungles sees Drake express his regrets, feelings and devotion for a woman as he seeks for reassurance. His moody yet calm vocal delivery fits the emotional lyrics so well, especially when taking the instrumental into account. I honestly wish Drake would use slower paced and moodier instrumentals, similar to the one on this song, more often because I think Drake does an excellent job with this kind of sound and style. My appreciation for this song mainly comes from Drake’s vulnerability as Jungle is an escape from his usual braggadocious style and lyrical content, which is certainly refreshing. This song is perfect for instances such as a night time drive, relaxing in your room or simply staring at the ceiling. 


  1. 5AM in Toronto – from Care Package (2019 but song was made in 2013)


Drake at his best. That is what 5AM in Toronto is, on this song Drake isn’t focused on heartbreak or women, he’s purely rapping. Expressing his frustrations with the ‘rap game,’ his journey to this point in his career, the doubters and of course Drake brags about his lifestyle on 5AM in Toronto. His delivery has such an added amount of energy to it that I attribute to how young Drake was at the time of this song’s release, and how he simply wanted to make a name for himself and get the respect he thought he deserved. Unlike many rap songs being released nowadays, Drake is able to bring energy and life to the idea of bragging about the journey, the fame and the wealth. The instrumental of this song is such an ear worm, I always find it difficult to get that looping drum-based synthy and smooth instrumental out of my head. Drake effortlessly slides over this beat and his delivery accompanies it so well. Looking back, it is clear as day that Drake put a larger amount of effort and energy into his earlier music compared to his lazier releases as of late, and 5AM in Toronto is the perfect example of that energy and effort from Drake. 


With Drake having such an expansive discography, it became a challenging process to select only five songs as my favorite. If someone had asked me to name my top five Drake songs only two years ago I would have simply said, “I don’t have a top five because I don’t like Drake’s music.” In all honesty, while looking back on this list it is weird to think that I’ve become a fan of Drake’s music after despising it for so long. Since I now consider myself a fan, I’m intrigued to see where Drake goes with his style and musical choices in the coming years, as well as reviewing more music.