A lot of opinions are flung around with little thought when it comes to issues, especially on social media. One recent issue that has a lot of people heated in the comments and abroad is how Drake seemingly stole Xxxtentacion’s flow. It’s up to the individual to situate yourself on one side of the fence: either on Drake’s side or X’s side. It’s this antagonistic division that is pitting one fan against another, but I would venture to say that this doesn’t have to be so. It may seem like your only option is to defend Drake or X, but their is another side that one can subscribe to. It is built upon the acceptance of the fact that Drake stole X’s flow and the admittance that it’s not X’s flow to begin with, which coupled together would show why this “beef” between both parties and their fans is inconsequential.
Drake’s hot track “KMT” off of More Life is certainly a copy of Xxxtentacion’s “Look At Me!”. You have to be deaf or in adamant denial if you don’t agree. However, the amount of attention this is getting seems to be excessive. Flow refers to the style of delivery that a rapper possesses. Many experiment with different types of flows while others focus on the flows that they are comfortable with. The flow in question is the 7 syllable per bar delivery that X employs on his popular track. Drake uses the same flow on “KMT” on top of production that is similar to “Look At Me!”, but at a slightly slower pace. So it’s no question that Drake took X’s flow.
But what makes it X’s flow?
He certainly popularized it and made it become synonymous with his name, but it’s not necessarily his. To claim that Drake stealing X’s flow is a heinous act of wrongdoing is foolish because rap is built upon the taking of what’s been done and adding something to make it better. Consider how the music is even made. It’s rare to find a song without a single sample. Hell, Drake even sampled himself. But nobody says, “Wow, that artist jacked that part from that one song. So unoriginal.” In fact, we bump the track without batting an eye at the samples being used. That’s due in part to plain unknowing but more importantly because the samples get cleared and credit is given. That is what I believe X’s side has a problem with. In an interview, Drake failed to acknowledge X or the flow that he was tapping. In fact, he even went as far as saying that he didn’t know who X was, which is hard to believe since the up and coming rapper has been buzzing for some time. That’s where X and his fans feel the problem is: the lack of credit given to X and his “flow”.
However, the reaction from X and his fans is also flawed because X jacked this very same flow from Lil Uzi Vert. Check out all of Uzi’s track “Super Saiyan” or just skip to 0:56 of the song and you will find the very same flow. You might think, “Uzi stole it first”, but Luv Is Rage came out a few months before “Look At Me!”For all we know, Uzi probably stole the flow from somebody else. So it’s inaccurate to claim that it really is X’s flow. That’s where Drake supporters are coming from. Nobody owns a flow, nobody has a flow with their name on it, and nobody offers their flow to anyone at a price.
So with all that in mind, I introduce the third angle that one can approach this: accept that Drake took X’s “flow” but also admit that it’s not X’s flow in the first place. You might think that it’s a cop out to take refuge in a neutral perspective, but it is the perspective that makes most sense. The other two sides are flawed. Those who side with X claim Drake was biting his flow, but rapper’s do that all the time, especially Drake. At this point, I expect it from him. Drake has used the dancehall revival to his advantage on his album Views, which Rihanna had used on her infectious track “Work” featuring Drake. That’s a case where he bites off what is popular at the moment. Another case is how he bites off the wave of hot rappers, i.e. his What A Time To Be Alive with Future who was hot at the time. Just look at the features on More life, and you’ll see names such as Travis Scott, Quavo, and Young Thug, all of whom are dominating the game right now. Moreover, why didn’t anyone get heated over Kanye West mimicking Drake’s “Jumpman” flow on “Facts”, or Famous Dex rapping his hook on “Drip From My Walk” the same way Ugly God sings his hook on “Water?
The truth is that copying is natural and it happens all the time. Complex has a video showing how everyone was guilty of stealing Migos’ flow back in 2014. And who said it better than J.cole on “Fire Squad”, when he raps, “History repeats itself and that’s just how it goes / Same way that these rappers always bite each others flows”. Who doesn’t want to jump on the newest wave? That’s why most people hate it when their favorite artists get recognition and radio play, because there’s an influx of fans who seemingly hop on the new wave just because it’s popular. People love to be a part of the popular, so in the same way why wouldn’t a rapper sip from the same well as other buzzing rappers? Yes, one ought to be creative and bring something new to the table, but every artist brings their influences to the table when they pen a song. Thus, biting flows is nothing new so why are we killing Drake for it now? Is it because it’s getting increasingly popular to hate Drake now? Once again, people follow what is popular.
All in all, Drake took X’s flow, which doesn’t even belong to X. So whichever side you choose to be on is up to you, but just know that both come with their share of shortcomings. But regardless of which side you set up your tent, it all boils down to the fact that there doesn’t have be a side to choose, that there is a middle ground that looks at both sides rationally. Once you look at it rationally, you’ll see that this biting flow rubbish isn’t anything new and shouldn’t be a cause for division among fans of both parties.