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Drake's Eight-Year-Long Run on Billboard Has Ended, and That's a Good Thing

The age of Champagne Papi is over, it's time for Vacation Drake.

by Phil Witmer and Sarah MacDonald
Aug 15 2017, 6:59pm

You know that Drake is big, but putting his success into metrics makes it all the more apparent. Since the release of "Best I Ever Had" in 2009, Drake (as both a solo and featured artist) has not left the Billboard Hot 100. Until now, that is. With the lukewarm "One Dance" retread "Signs" falling off the chart this week and would-be smash hit "Passionfruit" dropping out after a brief stay in the top 10, a 430-week streak has been broken. This might be a blessing in disguise.

Let's talk about what Drake has been doing this summer. After his last European tour date in March, Drake just… stopped. Excluding Instagram, where he posted thirst traps like this one and this one. But then he dropped More Life and then there was the Houston Appreciation Weekend, and he hosted the first NBA Awards. OVO Fest this year, even, felt like Drake was more of a variety show host that headliner, bringing out this generation's biggest names in rap and Nelly. We need Drake to take some real time off, though, and, become 'Vacation Drake.' 'Summer Sixteen' Drake was petty, full of revenge. But Summer Seventeen Drake is introspective and thoughtful. Being 'Vacation Drake' is inherently good for him—personally and professionally—and he needs to continue on this path but do much, much less. Vacation Drake can't be done at half-measure; he needs to go full throttle. Burnout is real and though we're not saying he is actually burnt out yet, the steps he has taken are not enough.

While a full, real vacation is undoubtedly needed, Drake could also use the experience of having nothing on the Hot 100 as something of a shock to his system, a reminder that he can't just keep doing what he's been doing forever. As "Signs" proves, his latest songs, while fun, have been lazy and low-effort. It's a testament to Drake's natural talent that he can make these songs work nonetheless, but that he has nothing left to prove is apparent. He has set and broken multiple chart records (he still has the second-highest number of overall charting singles). He now has the opportunity to create his late-game classic, a focused album that's consciously constructed as an artistic statement akin to a Blueprint or an 808s & Heartbreak. Drake doesn't need to worry about achieving crossover hits. His legacy may just need this one LP as a capstone. Drake has literally fallen off, but a new, alternate ascent isn't out of the question. He needs a break from us as much as we need a break from him.

The last lines of "Do Not Disturb" from More Life give us a real glimpse on what we'd like from Drizzy but also what we think is best for him: "Taking summer off 'cause they tell me I need recovery/ Maybe gettin' back to my regular life will humble me/I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary." Can we make it 2019, Drake?

Phil wants the Drake version of 'In Rainbows.' He's on Twitter.

Sarah is the Noisey Canada Assistant Editor and a vacation advocate. She's on Twitter.