not like other guys 👉👈

Drake, It’s Giving “Pick Me”

An investigation into Drake's soft side, and what it might really mean.


not like other guys 👉👈 is a monthly musing on masculinity in the media and on the internet. Reading films, music, and online culture with a critical lens, this column is written for guys and non-guys alike, as well as for totally-unique, one-of-a-kind, ‘not like other guys’ guys!


In hip-hop, there’s violence: producer Metro Boomin watermarks his songs with the declaration, "If Young Metro don't trust you I'm gon' shoot you.” Lyrics showboat wealth: "In reality, I'm 5’4 / Stand on my money, now I'm 6’6,” Lil Uzi Vert boasts in “I Just Wanna Rock.” Music videos objectify women; half of Tyga’s “Taste,” with 1.4 billion YouTube views, is just women twerking in bikinis. Fused together, the genre is often characterized by masculinity at a toxic extreme.

It’s surprising that Drake—one of the biggest names in hip-hop—refuses to conform to this presentation. Drake is not like other guys. Or, more accurately put, he’s not like other rappers. His favorite drink is champagne, displaying his sophistication and romanticism. On Instagram, his stories consist of mirror selfies where he is pouting and curling his hands in oversized sweaters. He posts pictures of himself gazing at the sunset, accompanied by lyrical captions: “Please, my cup of tea probably in the house making herself a cup of tea / And god knows that dating profile life ain’t for me.” He also writes poetry (his first collection, titled “Titles Ruin Everything” was released in late June).

“Drake is not like other guys. Or, more accurately put, he’s not like other rappers.”

“Drake is The Most Sensitive Rapper Alive,” YouTuber JAMARI declares in a 2022 video. The rapper’s softer, more emotional presentation is even better captured through his discography. Take Care (2011), Drake’s most critically acclaimed album, comprises several slower songs where iterations between assertive rap verses and vulnerable vocals are the norm. In the album’s title track featuring Rihanna, Drake utters the words "Cause you don't say you love me / To your friends when they ask you / Even though we both know that you do, you do," to the sound of dark synth layers, low-tempo beats, and a somber keyboard. More than a decade later, professing heartbreak and confessing love remain common themes in his music. After all, Drake is a Certified Lover Boy who is often “In My Feelings” (as in the title of his 2018 chart-topper).

But fans paid particular attention to Drake’s 2022 song “Massive.” In comparison to previous songs, the new track’s smooth, dreamy rhythm was possibly the largest divergence from the rough, more typically masculine drum beats with which rap is often associated. In response, one viral Tiktok depicts a male fan wearing a crop top and voguing to the song. “Sounds like some shit you’d hear at H&M,” one user comments.

Drake’s sensitive image has since become a target of internet ridicule. An essay in COMPLEX describes Drake’s recent poetry collection as “a little like Rupi Kaur ruminations for straight men who learned about therapy from Instagram memes.” On Reddit, an entire community is dedicated to describing and satirizing Drake’s softer persona.

Even other notable figures have also mocked Drake’s softer masculinity. Nicki Minaj wonders, "I don't know if the pussy wet or if he crying and shit," in her 2018 song “Barbie Dreams.” Even the internet’s favorite misogynist, Andrew Tate, remarked, “Drake has the hands of a girl … Look at that?! Is that a man’s hands?! Those are baby hands! You’d let those touch you?”

As a teenager, I loved hip-hop. I remember my friends and I screaming the words, "Fuck with me and get some money," to G-Eazy’s “No Limit”—at the time, I hadn’t even kissed anyone or earned my first paycheck. XXXTENTACION topped my 2017 Spotify Wrapped, and my first sip of beer was to the sound of Travis Scott’s “goosebumps” blasting from a JBL speaker. While I’m not as avid a listener now, this experience isn’t unique: 48% of US teens list hip-hop as their favorite music genre.

Because of this, rappers have a real stake in the future of today’s youth. Their music is among several ways adolescents are introduced to mature concepts like drugs, money, and sex. And for many, it’d be tempting to say that Drake’s intimacy and vulnerability—a refreshing break from other rap verses that relish in materialism and objectify women—is a healthier example that impressionable teenage boys should look towards. But I don’t think it’s that simple.

Drake might be a softboy, but he’s still a softboy in rap. He’s not like other guys, sure. But is there serious merit to that when the “other guys” speak of violence, money, and women all the time?

“Drake might be a softboy, but he’s still a softboy in rap.”

While being a “lover boy,” Drake is still cold and detached at times: "All you hoes / All of you hoes … I got dick for you if I'm not working, girl / If I'm busy, then, fuck no," he sings in the bridge of “Rich Flex.” He’s also recently grown familiar with rap’s cheap disses. His most recent target? Megan Thee Stallion: "This bitch lie ’bout getting shots, but she still a stallion," he lambasts in “Circo Loco,” alluding to her life-threatening encounter with Tory Lanez. Other lines are just downright confusing: “I blow a half a million on you hoes, I'm a feminist.” Drake says in “On BS.” Is that supposed to be ironic? Disrespectful? Both? Make it make sense.

All this to say, we should question Drake’s image as a sensitive loverboy who rejects the toxic masculinity pervading hip-hop. Is he being genuine? Or is he just another rapper, but with crocodile tears covering his face? If we want real examples of vulnerability for our young boys to look towards, we need better, because Drake is giving “pick me.” His emotions feel less like genuine expressions of sadness and heartbreak, and more like a cute mask over a cold and misogynistic side to him. In reality, maybe he is just like other guys and just like other rappers.

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