On “Say What’s Real,” one of the most candid tracks on Drake’s acclaimed So Far Gone mixtape, the Canadian rapper passionately claimed “slip up and shoot the wrong fucking video/ And they think they can market you however they decide to.” This was in reference to the visual for his 2007 pseudo-breakout hit “Replacement Girl.” The clip was an incredibly run-of-the-mill effort (tilted fitted caps, giant sunglasses, girls dancing) and according to Drizzy, the higher-ups thought they could market the 6 God like any other middling rapper.
Fast forward almost a decade and Drake is hardly “shooting the wrong fucking videos” – in fact, 2018 has been the year of exceptional Drake videos. The run of clips from his Scorpion album have been more like modern short films set to the double-LP's biggest hits instead of traditional “music videos.” There is top notch acting from the man himself, live performances, cameos galore and some seriously generous donating - all of which complement their respective videos seamlessly.
Billboard groomed Scorpion’s five videos with a fine-tooth comb and ranked them from strong to strongest. Check out the ranking below.
Right after Drake dropped Scorpion, he appeared to have set flight for London, where he dropped some flaming freestyles on LinkUp TV and Fire in the Booth, played a surprise guest slot at Wireless Fest and filmed the video for “Nonstop.” The Tay Keith-produced track has become a fan favorite on the album’s A-Side and definitely deserved its own visuals.
Directed by Drake’s photographer, Theo Skudra, the black and white clip features Drake performing at Wireless Fest, cruising through the streets of London on a double-decker bus, rapping at a swanky party and most notably, drinking tea on a rooftop in a doo-rag. Compared to the other videos shot for Scorpion, “Nonstop” take a no-frills approach, focusing purely on the song and the existing energy it already exudes.
4. "I'm Upset"
Realistically, “I’m Upset” got mixed reviews when the audio of the song was released, but as soon as the video dropped, opinions quickly changed. In a theatrical six and half minutes, Drake assembled a full blown Degrassi: The Next Generation reunion. For those who don’t know, Degrassi: The Next Generation was the Canadian TV teen drama in which Drake got his start and for the “I’m Upset” video, he spared no expense.
Almost every main cast member that appeared on the series at the same time Drake did made a cameo. Directed by the very talented Karena Evans, the clip revolved around a pseudo high school reunion that turns into a raging party and subsequent fire hazard. The most endearing part was the side-by-side comparisons, call-backs to the original show and Drake’s OVO team chasing after Ephraim Ellis because his character, Rick, shot Drizzy’s character Jimmy, landing him in a wheelchair. There isn’t a ton of ties to the actual verbiage of the song itself, but seeing Drizzy back in those Degrassi hallways makes the video great nonetheless.
3. "Nice for What"
What do Oli Wilde, Misty Copeland, Issa Rae, Rashida Jones, Jourdan Dunn, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish, Yara Shahidi, Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta, Letitia Wright, Bria Vinaite, Emma Roberts, Syd and a levitating Michelle Rodriguez all have in common? Other than being highly influential females in their respective fields, they all made appearances in Drake’s “Nice For What” video.
Directed by Karena Evans, the strong female montage perfectly fits the theme of “Nice for What”’s don’t-need-no-man vibe. The video features the various women having fun, relaxing, being themselves but most of all “piping up” on their male counterparts. Drake finds himself roller-skating around while singing and rapping along to the iconic Lauryn Hill sample (courtesy of Murda Beatz). The video is simple yet wildly effective; showing women of all races, religions and sexual orientations that the female empowerment hustle is to be respected and admired.
2. "In My Feelings"
“In My Feelings” was the unexpected smash single on Scorpion. The B-Side banger took on a life of its own after Instagram comedian Shiggy sparked a viral dance that made its way all around the internet. The video, directed once again by Karena Evans, runs eight minutes long and features some top notch comedic performances from both Drake and Shiggy. Drake, who is grilled out down in New Orleans (which is where the song’s iconic bounce sound originated), professes his southern love to Keke, played by Lala Anthony. The video moves in between this scripted scene and bits of B-roll highlights of N.O.’s raw hip-hop energy.
It turns out that Drake simply dreamt the whole thing and it wraps up with a montage of some of the more famous #InMyFeelingsChallenge videos, including Will Smith’s over-the-top rendition. It’s the type of video that represents perfectly what the song is, what it became and what Drake’s acting chops can do when tested.
1. "God's Plan"
For many reasons, “God’s Plan” has the chance of being named one of the best videos of the past decade. The message that flashes across the screen before the six-minute visual starts is the clip's budget: slightly under $1 million dollars. All that money slated for filming Drake’s first single was instead given away to people in need.
The video, directed by Evans, was shot in Miami and follows Drake and his OVO team as they dish out the $996,631.90 to charities, students and even random folks shopping at a supermarket. They give out not just giant checks, but cars, scholarships, groceries, shopping sprees and cold hard donated to those struggling financially.
The video’s energy is infectiously positive and leaves viewers in a better mood than when they first pressed play. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to not sing-a-long when Drake and a massive crowd of University of Miami students chant the now legendary “She said do you love me?/ I told her only partly/ I only love my bed and my mama, I’m sorry.”