If there was one male artist to make an anthem for women, it would be the 6 God himself. From Take Care to Views, Drake has always used his emotional acumen to reflect and praise women for their beauty, brains and pussy power. You can expect no different from his latest single, “Nice for What,” where he uses two very different hip-hop queens followed up with a female star-studded music video to show love to revolutionary women and remind everyone who runs the world, GIRLS.
Drake samples Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-factor” to create a track that anyone would listen to for the mere adoration of Lauryn Hill herself. After her time with The Fugees, Hill quickly made a name for herself with her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She could rap, sing, and had an ego of her own. On her live album, MTV Unplugged 2.0, she shared her experience with God, love, money, and motherhood. Lauryn captured her listeners with her simple perspective life led by God. On songs like, “Mr. Intentional,” and “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind,” she questions the power of traditional ideologies and leans toward a “lasting relationship without ownership.”
Drake sampling “Ex-factor” is more than a nostalgic sentiment but carries with it Lauryn’s perspectives on life, which makes the track more meaningful than it appears on the surface. In the same way that Lauryn rejects society’s ideologies, Drake challenges traditional female stereotypes when he says, “I know shorty and she doesn’t want no slow song.” Drizzy dismantles the stereotype that women only like slows jams. Instead, he skips the traditional man singing about what he’s going to do to his girl when he gets home kinda track to a song that liberates women with the help of Lauryn Hill and Big Freedia.
Throughout the song, Drake acknowledges the shift from a traditional woman to a revolutionary woman, who is independent and despite her line of work at the club, and her ability to “make that ass jump,” she isn’t required to be complacent to men or let men take advantage of her for the sake of pleasing them. A comparison can be made to the Harvey Weinstein effect taking over Hollywood in which women usually starting their careers were/are being taken advantage of by powerful men. “Nice for What” is a statement for women as Drake reminds us that women don’t owe men anything. Drake’s lyrics do not live up to Lauryn’s lyrical prowess, but he doesn’t try to. He lets the sample do the majority of the work.
By including vocals by the Queen of Bounce, Big Freedia, Drake tries to be inclusive of all women. Or perhaps, he points toward gender fluidity, in the words of Big Freedia herself, “I am not transgendered (sic); I am just a gay male… I wear women’s hair and carry a purse, but I am a man. . . I answer to either ‘he’ or ‘she.’” Whether Drake uses Big Freedia to experiment with New Orleans bounce scene, the song echoes sentiments of a revolutionary woman who makes her own rules like Big Freedia herself.
The track is followed up by a short film directed by a female, 22-year-old Karena Evans and features some of Hollywood’s revolutionary women: Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Letitia Wright, Olivia Wilde, and Emma Roberts. Again, with no explicit shout-out to the #MeToo Movement or #TimesUp Initiative, we can assume that if Drizzy attended the Golden Globes or Oscars earlier this year, he would have worn a Times Up pin on his suit. Rather than film a stereotypical music video, Drake is thoughtful and finalizes “Nice for What,” as a female anthem by displaying women who continue to challenge the status quo, in one way or another. From Jourdan Dunn who is a successful black British Model who broke many stereotypes for black models (like modeling while pregnant with her son) to Letitia Wright who plays the smartest Disney princess of all time with her role as Princess Shuri in Black Panther.
Drake is a visionary who sees opportunities to expand his art by exploring all realms of hip-hop. He is also a businessman who can use trends as a business opportunity to make trendy music. Whether you believe his feminist anthem is authentic or an attempt to hop on a trend for monetary gain, it’s just “a song for ya’ll to cut up to, you know?”