How to Rap Like Drake
Many artists get their start by emulating their favorite lyricist. And for many, that’s Drake. But like any artist, he’s evolved and changed over time, so learning how to rap like Drake means different things depending on which part of his career you’re discussing.
We’ll start with his style during his Young Money debut, and we’ll break down how Drake raps (from a beginner’s perspective).
Drake’s Vocal Timbre
When Drake dropped Thank Me Later the standout feature of his performance was his voice’s timbre or tone quality. The rapper utilized a deeper resonance of a young adult. Similar to how teens overcompensate for changing vocal cords, they intentionally make their voice deeper to sound more confident.
That musical quality, almost bordering on raspy is what gave him a youthful appeal. Up until that point few artists took that approach, likely because it seemed too generic.
Aubrey Drake Graham took an average style and doubled down on it. He made that tonal quality popular when most were afraid to sound too normal.
The moment he popped off, everyone started to emulate his sound. Even those who had never heard of him were associated with him because he became the center point for that vocal quality.
How Drake Uses Stories
Drake takes a conflicted perspective with the lyrics in his songs ranging from self-deprecation to pure confidence and cockiness. Above all, catchiness reigns supreme. Most of his breakout early songs are infectious in their delivery.
The title of his first mixtape was “Room for Improvement”, so in admitting his weakness he almost became the champion of the average dude. Few would acknowledge (especially rappers) where they need to improve.
As he grew as an artist his work constantly centered around relatable stories.
For instance, check out this section from his song Best I Ever Had:
Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on
That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong
You don’t even trip when friends say, “You ain’t bringing Drake along?”
You know that I’m working, I’ll be there soon as I make it home
He’s telling a relatable story about a young couple in love that understand each other, so much so that they understand one another deeply. This is about a relationship that’s progressed and is literally the best he’s ever had.
Now contrast this with this section from I’m Goin In:
First off you know what it is if you heard Drake
Making hoes wobble like a bridge in a earthquake
Never see me out cause I live in my work place
I give you the business so button up your shirt straight
Look at where I landed
You would think I planned it
I’m just doing me and you can never understand it
Chicks get hammered
Big dick bandit
Money flowing like a slit wrist
The cadence and delivery is a polar opposite but still tells a story of how he came to be. His confidence and cockiness come off as if his success were inevitable, but he meets it with some sideways humility in saying that “I’m just doing me and you can never understand it”.
Like the other song we referenced he also highlights his work ethic with “Never see me out cause I live in my work place” similar to “You know that I’m working, I’ll be there soon as I make it home” from Best I Ever Had.
No matter how many writers may be on his project, a central theme of his songs are stories around what makes him Drake. But he tells them in a relatable way, so much so that anyone could feel they’re describing their own life when singing along.
Perspectives Drake Uses
One theme stays consistent with Drake whether he’s crooning along with a melody, or spitting hard hitting lyrics (despite his actor background), and it’s that he’s on an entirely different level.
The album title Views drives that home symbolically in that he’s looking down on the world from the top. A cornerstone of his lyricism is aimed at sharing his world from that view.
He foreshadows this theme before Views in this section from one of his songs “No New Friends”:
All my bitches love me; if I had a baby mama
She would probably be richer than a lot of you niggas
Aye, that’s luxury, dawg
Day-one niggas, man, y’all stuck with me, dawg
Ever since YouTube, niggas been callin’ me the leader of the new school; fuck with me, dawg, yeah
Drake sees his brand and himself as being a trendsetter, as an artist that defines the sound of a genre. To himself, he’s untouchable. Not only that but he constantly refers to the loyalty for his day-one crew.
He doesn’t need any new friends because he’s good with the ones he started with, and they’re going to rule the world with him.
We’ve covered many elements that form the core theme around Drake’s style because that identity is what makes an artist themselves.
But to really understand how to rap like Drake you need to dive into the deeper elements of an artist’s wordplay.
The differences between their stressed syllables and unstressed syllables, their enunciation, volume of their vocal, energy, charisma, technique, inflection, and so much more.
Something that comprehensive doesn’t exist online, or at least it didn’t until Smart Rapper dropped a flow course created exactly around that.
If you really want to dive into the fine mechanics of what makes major artists tick, you need to check out the course where multiple top styles are broken down into their smallest parts.
There’s no point in having this information out there for free because then you won’t value it, you won’t take it seriously. There’s a reason why Rob Level’s music has reached millions, it’s because he put the work in and invested in himself.
If you’re ready to take your flow to the next level, check out the How To Find Your Rap Flow | Professional Video Course.