In the Biblical book of Genesis, Eve, the first woman, is tempted by a serpent to eat from the Tree of Life. She persuades Adam, the first man, to do the same, even though God has forbidden them from eating the fruit, because it is endowed with knowledge of good and evil. But they eat it anyway, and their divinely appointed innocence is shattered – they realise, all at once, that they are naked, so they begin to fashion garments out of fig leaves. The sudden revelation of who and what they are brings with it the ultimate human curse: self-consciousness.
In many ways, this is just like Drake.
Like the fallen first man and woman (indeed, like all humans), Drake is blighted by self-consciousness. For all the influence and wealth he wields now, he never really stopped being (and, crucially, feeling like) the fucking nerd from Degrassi. So, he seeks fame as validation, like a parched buffalo seeks a reservoir of fresh water. He courts the press, he revels in beefing – he brings a lint-roller to a basketball game in the secure knowledge that it will turn into a meme, and then off the back of that meme, he sells his own line of OVO lint rollers. All this is to say that, unlike the buffalo, Drake is not just thirsty: he is unquenchable. He can never reach his fill.
And though Drake is the man who has everything from exceptional skin-care products to a larger-than-average swimming pool, there is one aspect missing from his life. Listen to his songs, and you'll hear it: Drake sitting at home sulking because his ex-girlfriend is having way more fun without him, or telling Nicki Minaj how much nicer she looks without makeup. Look at his social media presence, and you'll see the totems of his pursuit: Rihanna, Mariah, the woman from a Hooters on Peachtree, who he doomed to a brief period of notoriety. Perhaps the one thing missing from Drake's life is love. How does Drake go about rectifying that? The answer, my friends, is this: by being bait as all hell online. Presenting, article a):
Bait (adj.) - the way you would describe Drake wearing a Skepta shirt in an Instagram photo because it's really obvious he is only doing it to get the attention of Skepta, who he treats like a cool older boy who said 'alright' to him at school once.
In a way, Drake is the Picasso of baitness, the Warhol of attention-seeking. As with any art form, Drake has his medium – that is, social media, specifically Instagram, where he essentially shows the fuck out as the giant braggart he is, in order to attract attention (basically: what the rest of us also do on the internet, but on a far grander scale). If he's feeling sad or alone, Drake will provide the internet with a thirst trap so vast that heterosexual women in their thousands cannot help but be sucked into its vortex. Or should he want to make Serena Williams jealous, he'll simply post a pic with his close personal friend Anna Wintour. For all intents and purposes, he is the male Kylie Jenner, except far less of a baddie and far more on the hunt for a loving relationship.
Looking at Drake's Instagram, then, is like peering directly into the deepest chambers of his soul. Post-by-post, it indirectly reveals his deep desire for love. For this reason, I have decided to navigate this, his most-used social media platform, and pick out his most bait moments from the last year, in the hope that they might tell us some truths about Drake and his search for love (but also, because it is funny). After all, *white yoga instructor called Shelley voice* it is through Drake that we learn about ourselves:
1) THE 'I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOU SO MUCH, PLEASE NEVER EVER LEAVE ME' PIC, ALSO KNOWN AS 'THE RIHANNA PIC'
Rihanna is Drake's white whale, and 2016 was the closest he ever came to properly capturing her. We all have one, we know Drake's story here. Their rumoured on/off relationship was finally confirmed to the public in September, only to be culled again a few weeks later – one minute she was dabbing as he publicly confessed his love to her, the next they were history. Alas. It was always highly unlikely that he, a human male, could ever entrap such an elusive mythical creature for any real length of time, anyway.
But this Instagram post came before all that – it is playfully captioned, sure, but we can all agree that being grinded on by Rihanna on British national television was probably the pinnacle of Drake's whole existence, and he has probably spent his life since chasing the fleeting happiness that the simultaneous feelings of the warmth of her butt on his crotch and the knowledge of being watched by literal millions brought him, to little avail. This photo will be on Drake's vision board for the rest of his life, and that is why I include it here.
2) THE 'COMFORTABLE WITH MY MASCULINITY' PIC
Pre-Rihanna announcement Drake was single and ready to mingle, and though this may seem like any photo of a guy having a wine in a sports top, it is also so much more than that. This is a photo that quietly longs for partnership. It says "I am comfortable with my masculinity. I am wearing pink. I am drinking a glass of (probably) rosé. I would definitely wear a facemask with you and that is just another reason why I would make a perfect boyfriend if anyone would just fucking notice for one second."
3) THE BAIT DOG PIC
A photo of a dog and a cute caption about your closeness with said dog is the baitest of the bait. Though this picture came just after his relationship with Rihanna was confirmed, it reveals something about how Drake wants to be viewed: Drake wants girls to know how sensitive he is, how large his capacity for love truly is. Girls love dogs. The only thing we love more than dogs is commenting heart eyes emojis underneath photographs of dogs. This is the globally renowned rapper version of setting your Tinder pic as one where you're posing with your family pet and watching the right swipes hurtle in. Drake, here, is every PR guy who cruises for chicks on Bumble.
4) THE MESSY BITCH WHO LIVES FOR DRAMA PIC
As well as being a childlike, sensitive soul, Drake is also highkey a messy bitch who lives for drama. One of his big hobbies is flogging rap beefs like long-dead horses, and he also likes to intentionally infer that he is dating famous women in order to cause controversy, via – you've guessed it – Instagram.
As a serial dater of famous women, Drake knows he can generate an internet shitstorm by implying that he is dating a new famous woman, especially when that famous woman is someone as divisive as Taylor Swift. This, more than anything, exemplifies the vicious circle that Drake plods around, Sisyphean, eternally: he seeks love, but rarely finds it, so instead he just pretends at it to get attention. As a lover of drama and attention, I, personally, can relate.
5) THE BEST FRIEND PIC
Rather than a demonstration of thirst in and of itself, this is an illustration of Drake's thirst in action. Drake talks a lot about loneliness – "Fake Love" alone tells you all you need to know about that – so it's probably safe to assume that when he finds someone he can be friends with, he clings onto them as if he's about to fall off a cliff (no new friends, right?). The only other person who has ever looked at French Montana like this is French Montana's own mother, who once held French Montana in her body for nine months before pushing him out of it.
6) THE MEET THE PARENTS PIC
Look here at Drake's exaggerated smile. This is targeted baitness if ever I saw it. He wants to show his (at this point) potential bae that he's a family guy, that he's really making an effort – please love him, please, he can't go back to sitting alone on his pristine sofa in his pristine mansion pretending to be Tony Montana even though he thought it was cool at first. He just wants, wants so badly, someone to be his big spoon while he watches his favourite film, You've Got Mail (which he knows off by heart – so well, in fact, that he is able to say all of his favourite lines in sync with the actors).
7) THE J-LO PIC
Finally, the picture that launched a thousand "get the fuck off her" tweets: Drake's hulking body draped over J-Lo (is she even awake here?) like rap game Barry from Eastenders. But while J-Lo seems lost in the embrace (seriously is she actually awake?) Drake, as always, has one eye towards the camera.
Maybe that's all we need to know - about Drake and about ourselves. Searching for love is an all too human instinct, but so is caring about the way in which we're perceived. In a lot of ways, they're two sides of the same coin. Perhaps what Drake truly needs is to take his eye off the lens and look inside himself – his music, after all, is always best, and most relatable, when it's introspective. And that's the lesson we learn from Drake and his soul-baring Instagram - to also look inside ourselves. Well, that and probably also that doing a face-swap of yourself with Obama just after his farewell address is largely ill-advised.