Drake’s 20 best music videos
This week, it happens: after what feels like six (6ix?) lifetimes, Drake will drop his new album, Views (yes, that’s the full title). And, obviously, none of us is going to be cool about it. How can we be? On top of the cryptic billboards he’s plastered across the city, Aubrey Graham revealed Views’ cover art last weekend: the city’s most emotional man in music sitting peacefully on the edge of the CN Tower. (Which, don’t try to deny it, we all love.) In celebration of a record we probably won’t stop listening to until the next one comes out, here is a ranking of Drake’s 20 best music videos.
20 Here’s what we imagine happened at the pitch meeting for this video. Someone said, “What if we set this great song to, like, a night out at the club?” Everybody nodded, they did the night out and that was about it.
Best I Ever Had
19 We see a slew of female athletes and/or models. We see coach Drake in a varsity jacket. Basically, we see exactly what Drizzy does not do at Raptors games, and for good reason.
18 Sad Drake! Drunk Drake! Emotionally confused Drake! Next time your friend asks you to go out but you don’t want to, get her to watch this video. You’ll both be too bummed out to do anything but talk about what a buzzkill Drake’s life looks like here (and only here).
Successful (with Trey Songz)
17 If you watch closely, you will see Drake laying the groundwork for the dance moves that would eventually define him. And that’s about it. But it’s still history.
Miss Me (feat. Lil Wayne)
16 The most memorable things about this music video are Drake’s jackets and scarf. If anyone out there is curating an Aubrey exhibit (and if no one is, they really should be), please include these cultural touchstones as part of your visual masterpiece.
Take Care (feat. Rihanna)
15 “Take Care” is a very good song accompanied by a video that is totally fine. There are some great mountains and, you know, close-ups of birds. It is utterly inoffensive and 100 per cent passable. But, mostly, it’s not “Work” (which we’ll get to in a second).
Moment 4 Life (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake)
14 This video’s stars, in descending order: 1) Nicki Minaj, 2) Nicki Minaj’s English accent and 3) Drake. He’s inappropriately dressed (though we’ll admit he is at his best when dressed casually for a formal affair), standing beside his pal, giving shout-outs to his crew back home and pretending to throw a bridal bouquet—friendship goals at the very least. It’s no “I’m So Proud of You,” but that song doesn’t have a video, so there’s that.
13 Behold the day our precious son was born. (Not really, relax.) But look: he’s finally perfected that face, that expression that says both “How is my life so hard?” and “Screw this.” If we’re charting Drake’s career in Jurassic Park imagery, this is the part where that tiny raptor grabs a human finger and foretells the day he will rise up and destroy us all (even if, for now, he is so wee).
What’s My Name? (Rihanna feat. Drake)
12 Have you ever imagined what it would be like to pal around with Drizzy and Rihanna for a day? (We can’t be the only ones.) “What’s My Name?” gave us that precious glimpse, a taste of what life could be like if you were Rihanna dating Drake—or Drake dating Rihanna—spending a lovely little Saturday running errands around New York. We refuse to let it crack the top 10 because it’s all a lie—they’re just friends (how dare they?).
The Motto (feat. Lil Wayne and Tyga)
11 Here’s the tricky thing about Drake videos: even when they’re not the most cinematic offerings, they still hit hard. Take this one: it opens with a clip of Wanda Salvatto, Mac Dre’s mom, addressing her late son. Then? A glorious montage of Lil Wayne and Drake driving around the Bay City area in fancy-ass vintage cars and popping into Amoeba Music. Stars, they’re just like us.
Find Your Love
10 Six years ago, Drake cozied back into our hearts and made us totally forget that he was Jimmy from Degrassi. Except this video makes it kind of hard to forget, seeing how he’s straddling the line between acting and music. The mix works later on in his career (see #4), but here? Bless his heart, for he is young, he is very sincere, and he would very much like us to know that he is a rapper. It’s arguably what anyone’s music video would have looked like six years ago. At least he’s not wearing an ironic wolf t-shirt.
Anaconda (Nicki Minaj feat. Drake)
9 Again, this isn’t Drake’s video. It will never be Drake’s video. But Drake’s reaction to Nicki Minaj’s dancing is so good that it beats out 11 of his own videos. It reminds us that Nicki is Queen and that Drake is shocked and mesmerized and broken by butts.
8 So young, so full of life, so many owls! This one cracks the top 10 for the same reason that it doesn’t make the top five: our friend is still earnest enough to be filmed in an elevator smoking a cigar.
7 Don’t get us wrong: Drake’s videos (well, most of them) are all very, very, very good. So we’re forced to grade them on technicalities. Take, for example, “Energy.” The song is brilliant, the effects are superb and the references are priceless: Drake becomes Oprah, David Beckham, Miley Cyrus, Rob Ford and Kanye West. But, damn it, he doesn’t plunk his face onto the body of Justin Bieber—and for that he will pay. (With a #7 spot.)
Work (Rihanna feat. Drake)
6 We’re still upset that they’re not a couple (and so are you). But this one was filmed at the Real Jerk, and just look at how (understandably) happy Drake is to be there. So we forgive you, Drizzy.
5 The cinematography, the hand gestures, the cast—is there anything “Worst Behaviour” doesn’t have? Yes—to wit, Drake’s interpretation of a certain Brian De Palma film, which is why this vid comes in at #5, not #4.
Hold On, We’re Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan)
4 Drake’s an actor first, a rapper second and our close friend third. (Please somebody tell him.) This Nothing Was the Same single is a visual gem, but there’s something upsetting about watching Drizzy channel his inner Pacino in a condensed version of Scarface. It’s probably that it reminds us that he could suddenly return to the acting world forever—or maybe it’s that he’s not wearing nearly enough owls.
Started From the Bottom
3 Any video in which Drake alludes to having worked in retail (especially as a grown-ass man, and especially as a Shoppers Drug Mart merchandizer) is something we consider art. And, in all seriousness, this would’ve been bumped to #2 had he thrown a few Optimum Points our way.
HYFR (feat. Lil Wayne)
2 In which the most powerful rapper in the world sings about the complexities of his romantic relationships to footage from his re-bar mitzvah—and, even more beautifully, to snippets from his original bar mitzvah (featuring one sweet vest). Ultimately, “HYFR” made us resent anyone who never invited us to their bar or bat mitzvahs. Had there been cashmere we may have had a winner.
1 Like you’re surprised. Like you thought for one minute that we could resist the charm of Drake dancing freely in cashmere, sensibly dressed for a chilly October night. It is not a great video because it spawned a million memes; it’s great because it managed to overcome its meme-ification. Remember that fleeting weekend when we were all scared that Donald Trump’s insufferable SNL take would ruin “Hotline Bling” once and for all? It did not. If a video can sustain the petrifying dance moves of a loudmouth presidential candidate, then it’s stronger and bigger than all of us. All of us except for Drake.