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Drake, the rapper-singer, single-handed changed the rules of what it meant to be a rapper.
Before Drake, rapping was about narrative and singing about pathos, joy, or sensuality. In 2009, Drake exploded that notion, blending rap and singing into a fluid, hip-hop tone, making his pleasant and creative sound the norm in global pop.
Melodic rapping had been experimented by Kanye West and Lil Wayne before Drake, but the graceful, natural blending of rap+singing along with syrupy hooks was effortless and yet powerful when rendered by Drake. His song ‘Hotline Bling’ had no rapping whatsoever, and yet won the ‘Best Rap Song’ Grammy.
Rap stopped sounding like rap when other artists like Gunna, Travis Scott and many more followed suit. Drake also had conflicts with the orthodox rappers which didn’t like his style and accused him of plagiarism.
Drake's insistence on collaborating with promising young rappers acted as a shield, supporting and distracting them at the same time.
It is almost surreal how casually and effectively he rebuilt hip-hop, gaining global popularity due to the right timing, as his rise coincided with the streaming era.
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