Ready, set, go.
This morning at 2:33 AM, Drake's people dropped his latest video, 5 AM in Toronto, via his October's Very Own blog. And so, let the race for which Canadian media outlet can shit on it the hardest and the fastest begin.
Well, not today Toronto. And certainly not from me. And not simply because I'm an unashamed, unapologetic Drake enthusiast, but because today might be the most optimistic day on our city's calendar: It's April 2, the Jays home opener. And while spring is taking its sweet-ass time to arrive, the city hasn't felt this hopeful in a long time. For a rapper who once rented out the Rogers Centre for his Headlines video, this timing doesn't feel coincidental.
For those Internet critics who took issue with the suspension-of-disbelief narrative of Drake's previous video, Started From The Bottom - and to you, I ask, since when have music videos been banal, dead-accurate representations of reality? - his latest effort presents a pared-down, surprisingly sober window into just what exactly Drake and his clique get up to in the wee hours.
The video's settings alternate between an indistinct industrial area, some kind of caged-in beach volleyball court and a nightclub that, given the track's titular time of day, is presumed to be an after-hours. In that last, we get a brief cameo of the new marquee Raptor, Rudy Gay. We've seen local celebrities pop up in Drizzy videos before (shouts Matt Babel!), but this seems significant, especially after Gay's appearance at Toronto Fashion Week. (Do we finally have a sports star ready and willing to be a Toronto celebrity?)
The whole thing lacks the boys-will-be-boys jubilance and blatant Toronto landmarks we've come to know from our boy, and it's a refreshing change. All the better to showcase the lyrical prowess that reminds us why Drake has risen to the top. Nope, neither Swiss, Soto or Joso's features, but unless there's a 24/hr Swiss Chalet somewhere - is there? - this is fair and accurate. The mellow mood suggests that this is what Drake is doing just before making a Marvin's Room-type drunk dial and calling it a night.
Sure, the video has its eye-roll moments - ladies, if you're ever worried about making it until 5 am in Toronto, I suggest swimwear that is two sizes too small and the frigid chill of an isolated parking lot. But Drake's version of 5 am - though probably not exactly like this-isn't likely the spin classes and Tim Horton's runs of our own.
To the haters: Here is a genuinely Toronto-born and bred star, showering praise on his stomping grounds whenever he can, so stop moaning about how starting from Forest Hill ain't exactly the bottom. We love when indie rockers shout out lakes, trees and campy Canadiana, but we scoff when a true global superstar has the audacity to rap about his world domination and showcase our fine city while doing so. It's all very self-loathingly T.Dot of us, and I'm firmly against it.
So, for my inaugural post as NOW's new Music Editor, I implore you to resist that scornful pretension that might be bubbling toward the surface. For once, can we just celebrate our city - and our rapper - flaws and all?
C'mon. There's nothing wrong with being posi. It's April 2: spring is (allegedly) upon us and the Jays haven't lost a game yet.