At the crux of hip-hop’s foundation is the ‘rags-to-riches-straight-outta-Compton’ story. The majority of the hip-hop greats: Jay-Z, Biggie, DMX, Lil Wayne all boast their own “started from the bottom” personal narratives. Peddling drugs through the halls of Marcy projects provided Jay-Z with the content to create his classic debut albums Reasonable Doubt, and the rest of his career follows this suit.

It only makes sense that Canadian born Drake seeks to tell his own version of this fundamentally hip-hop narrative.  But since Drake did not grow up in the projects, sell drugs or gang-banging, Drake’s identifiable “bottom” feels inadequate. His story goes something like this: he grew up in middle class Toronto; landed a role on a hit TV series at age 15; then set his sights on a lucrative career in the hip-hop music industry. A few short years later he was “25 sitting on 25 mil”. Not bad considering he just wanted to be successful.

How can you blame Drake for bludgeoning us with his watered downed version of the hip-hop dream when his mentor Lil Wayne’s  had already inherited his street cred by age 9, growing up on the tough streets of the 504?

Drake’s struggle to identify as authentically hip-hop or “hood” likely explains why he tries so hard to live the image. It perhaps, sheds a little light on the bottle-throwing incident at Club Wip that left mostly bystanders injured, rather than Chris Brown, who was his target; or explains why he chooses to spend $50,000 in strip clubs on any given night.  It may all just be an attempt to overcompensation for his lack of street cred. Gangsters don’t have Bar Mitzvahs.

Drake’s Middle Class Problem: Why The Rapper Is Stuck On The Struggle Story  was originally published on

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