What’s your favourite Drake song? It’s a question that has a different answer depending on who you ask. Whether you prefer Sad Drake, Boastful Drake or both Sad and Boastful Drake, the Toronto rapper’s discography has something for everybody. The numbers speak for themselves — five studio albums, four Grammy Awards, 206 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (the most of any solo artist) and billions of streams worldwide. His sprawling double album Scorpion might have received mixed reviews from critics, but lead by a number of singles including “God’s Plan", “Nice For What” and the meme-spawning “In My Feelings,” it reasserted Aubrey Graham’s status as one of the most successful artists of his generation.
Last year he began a multi-year Las Vegas residency, but it would be foolish to bet against Canada’s most famous export slowing down any time soon. It’s in that spirit that we rounded up our 20 favourite Drake tracks, including collaborations with Future, Jorja Smith, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and more.
1. "Hotline Bling"
Like a lot of Drake songs, “Hotline Bling” came out of nowhere. One day the world woke up, checked the internet and life was never the same.
“Hotline Bling” is the definitive Drake song. It’s the sort of incandescent hit that’s destined to transcend its author. A perfect, neon-pink slab of wistful nostalgia, tinged with lingering regrets and warm memories. This is the story of all of us. Every single human being loves, loses touch and wonders. People that used to be crucial in our lives, discovering what life is like after us. It’s an incredibly Drake thing to write about, but nobody has ever articulated that precise bittersweet feeling better.
2. "Marvin's Room"
Drake’s biggest strength is that he isn’t afraid of beautiful music. There are plenty of people capable of making something like "Marvin's Room" — Kanye certainly comes to mind — but when he made his all-encompassing breakup album, 808s & Heartbreak, he hid behind autotune and stoic synths.
Drake never needed much more than his voice to be vulnerable. His producer, Noah “40” Shebib, is at his Pure Moods best, bringing a smoldering, manoleum instrumental that seems to take up the room. Drake pines harder than he's ever pined, wrapping in actual clipped-out sections of a messy voicemail left by the former betrothed.
This is Drake at his Drakiest, which stopped being an insult a long time ago. “Marvin's Room” was too spartan to ever crack the top 20, but there’s no doubt it’s the boldest thing the Canadian has ever recorded. Sad, sweet, a little bit funny, a leap of faith that launched Drake straight to the top.
3. "Worst Behaviour"
I wish we had video evidence of what it was like in the studio when Drake first laid down “Worst Behavior.” Was he laughing? Is he serious? The video is pretty self-aware. There’s no way he 3. means it right? Maybe he just realized it was really fun to shout “WORST.”
There’s still so much mystery around “Worst Behavior.” It seems to exist outside of time and space. Nobody knows what it’s about, why they never loved us, what constitutes “worst behavior" and so on.
What we do know is that despite peaking at a paltry 89 on the Billboard 100, it tears the house down every time it gets played. Two years later, it’s still thrilling. “YOU OWE ME!” Yeah, I don't know why, but you’re probably right.
4. "In My Feelings"
It’s almost hard to believe that it took Drake till 2018 to use this title for a track, but it proved over a dozen years later, no one’s better at creating Instagram caption-ready, feelings-on-sleeve anthems. Bounce, the ass-shaking New Orleans genre of dance music, heavily influenced Scorpion, and nowhere is it more successfully applied on the TrapMoneyBenny and BlaqNmilD-produced song. Just be careful about doing the accompanying dance challenge out of moving cars.
5. "Hold On, We're Going Home"
This song is proof that Drake is occasionally at his best when he’s singing, not rapping. The thoroughbred hit from 2013’s Nothing Was The Same, it’ll float lighter than air in every CVS across the country for generations to come. Rightfully so: It's a beautiful, emotional, soothing song.
There’s a faint melancholy reverberating in the corners, too, inviting us to sing it out and bury ourselves inside its warmth. That’s why everyone from Blood Orange to the Arctic Monkeys recorded covers. It’s just you and Drake and that lonely melody, thinking about someone, something, some feeling, never quite settling down and being totally okay with that.
6. "Get It Together" (ft. Jorja Smith and Black Coffee)
VIEWS was an abrasive, unapologetically solipsistic record. Drake was angry, in his own head and he punished his listeners with a pitch-black, 80-minute enemies list. More Life is comparably resplendent, and there’s no better example of that newfound warmth than standout “Get It Together.” Then 19-year-old phenom Jorja Smith devastates a smoky hook in her husky, immediately iconic voice. “You know we don’t have to be dramatic, just romantic,” she pleads. Producer 40 agrees, cueing up loungey, red-velvet piano to dance around his trademark subterranean roar. Drake is known for saying too much, but this time he saves himself for a single smirking kiss-off. He’s showing, not telling, and it’s about time he learned the art of restraint.
Even on his weaker albums, Drake manages to create at least one perfect song, usually located smack dab in the middle of an overlong sprawl. “Controlla” fits that bill for VIEWS, a wounded elegy for some old, damaged, still-relevant heartbreak. Yeah, you’re talking about roughly 50 percent of the Drake discography with that description, but it’s especially applicable here. The best part is in the chorus where Drake simply says “Jodeci 'Cry For You,’" referencing the classic 1993 R&B tearjerker in the most matter-of-fact language possible. Drake’s the kinda guy who will make you a mixtape during a song, and that’s what makes him magical.
Do you think Drake tries to go viral? Or is that just something that happens when you’re this famous and this imitated? “0-100” was released as a throwaway one-off single in the middle of 2014, and a few moments later it was number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fame helps, sure, but Drake has a pretty unique hold on the English language, which is why we’re still saying, “man, that went zero to 100” to this day. Drake’s hooks are good enough to make it into the dictionary. That’s pretty strong.
9. “Uptown” (ft. Lil Wayne & Bun B)
We're into the eleventh anniversary of Drake’s third mixtape So Far Gone, and while certain lines on “Uptown” have aged better than others (looking your way “And yo’ frame makes me wanna bowl a strike”), it sees him teaming up with two of his formative Southern hip-hop influences over a soulful Boi-1da beat. Lil Wayne would of course give Drake his first big break, signing him to Cash Money Records in 2009, but it’s UGK’s Bun B who nearly steals the show here referencing both David Letterman’s “Stupid Pet Tricks” segments and Michael Jordan.
10. "Jumpman" (ft. Future)
“Jumpman jumpman jumpman,” it’s just kinda fun to say. That’s the point of the song. There’s no deeper meaning, no metaphors, no violence, no threats, it’s a tribute to the phonetic pleasures of that rhythmic, hypnotic “jumpman-jumpman-jumpman-jumpman, jumpman-jumpman-jumpman-jumpman.” The entirety of Drake’s collaborative album with Future, What A Time To Be Alive, is flossy and superficial, but “Jumpman” takes it to the stratosphere. Jay Z has the famous flex “even the sound of my laugh is a hit!” Even the sound of Drake shouting a corporate logo is a hit!
The funny thing about Drake is that despite his noted, manicured soft-boy persona, it’s hard to remember a time where he’s written about a genuine girlfriend. There are the college flares on Thank Me Later, the endless groupies on Take Care, the faded hometown memories on Nothing Was The Same, and … whatever the hell is going on with him and Rihanna. Despite that, he’s always been great at expressing a particularly pathetic brand of millennial on-again/off-again ennui. “Passionfruit” details an affair with yet another long-distance flame - this time over one of the sparest instrumentals he’s ever cued up. "Don’t pick up the pieces, just leave it for now they keep falling apart." Lines like those could’ve fit on an endless number of Drake songs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel good.
12. "Lord Knows" (ft. Rick Ross)
It’s no secret Drake favors microscopic beats. His longtime collaborator 40 is a master of small strokes, and personally responsible for the open space on Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. But sometimes you need to blow the doors down, sometimes you need to recruit Just Blaze.
Just Blaze’s “Lord Knows” instrumental might be the bawdiest thing he’s ever put to tape. Choirs, reprises, more choirs, some angelic strings and a concrete drumbeat that somehow penetrates the cacophony. Meanwhile, Drake prattles on about gold, cars, women, etc., in perhaps his most appealingly self-obsessed verse to date.
But the real star is Rick Ross, who was on another freaking planet in 2011. He grunts his way through in peak kingpin form and calls his car a “murder-cedes.” Wow.
13. "Know Yourself"
“I was running through the 6 with my woes” is, without a doubt, the least hip-hop line to ever occupy a hip-hop song. Woes? We’re running around with our troubles, and sorrows, and sadnesses … in Canada. This is not what Grandmaster Flash had in mind, but that doesn’t matter, because the second the world heard this quip “Know Yourself” became an instant classic.
It’s the most Drake thing ever, right? Kinda weird, kinda funny and surprisingly vulnerable in a way that’s both relatable and easy to make fun of. We appreciate his candor, even if it’s still sorta making us chuckle.
14. "Nice For What"
Picking a favourite part of this chart-topping Scorpion hit is impossible. Murda Beatz’s flip of Lauryn Hill’s 1999 R&B classic “Ex Factor”? The cameo from New Orleans bounce trailblazer Big Freedia? The music video which stars pretty much every working Hollywood actress and director? Whatever it was, it made Drake the first artist to have a number one debut replace a former number one debut ("God's Plan") at the top of the Hot 100.
15. "One Dance"
"One Dance" captures Drake at his most millennially obnoxious — "as soon as you see the text reply me" — but it’s also maybe the purest, Drakiest sentiment the man has ever produced. A sad sack club banger over soft-lit piano chords, some danceable drums and a ton of narcissistic tears-in-Hennessy musings. There was a fair amount of backlash against VIEWS and the monotone bleakness of Drake's character, but there's never been a more honest, on-brand moment than “One Dance.”
Drake doesn’t need to make this kind of song anymore. When he does, it comes out like the ludicrous self-parody “Worst Behavior.” “Over” is backpacky — it’s the kind of song J. Cole would write. He opens with that immortal “LAST NAME EVER, FIRST NAME GREATEST,” which might be the biggest overcompensation in modern hip-hop history. However, “Over” is undeniable, especially when it comes to the aggressively insecure Drake we all love.
This was the hit that propelled him over the “Best I Ever Had” gimmick and the thing that forced skeptics to finally give him his due. It might come off a little try-hard now; picking the most auspicious beat he could possibly find and dressing like Michael Jackson in that already-slightly-embarrassing video, but no other origin story could be more perfect for Drake.
17. "Over My Dead Body"
“Over My Dead Body" is gorgeous. Four chords that inspire the same warm feeling in all organic matter, a lovely piano stroke and a cast-off vocal melody. It’s what propped up Take Care’s pleasure centers.
And Drake raps with the weights off, like he’s winsome, enjoying the beautiful music just like us. “Over My Dead Body” often gets forgotten in the robust history of hip-hop album openers, but think about it: Does another opening song better establish the tone and context of an entire album?
18. "All Me" (ft. 2 Chainz and Big Sean)
The beat is great, a seasick two-step of mahogany (operatic?) vocal samples. 2 Chainz raps like the icing he is, and Drake calls himself the "light-skinned Keith Sweat." But don’t get it twisted: There is exactly one reason this song cracked the top 10, and that’s the oft-maligned Big Sean.
On a technical level, Sean’s verse is awful. He loses rhythm constantly, he rhymes “old fashioned” with “old fashioned” and he tries this hilariously bad double-time thing at the end which backfires in perhaps the most glorious way ever released on a major label.
But that’s the beauty of Big Sean. He's not good at rapping, just like how you and I aren’t good at rapping. His verse becomes one of the most resonate things to ever appear on a Drake song. There are plenty of reasons to hate Big Sean, but here's at least one reason to love him.
19. "Too Good"
Drake and Rihanna don’t have to be flirting to have great chemistry. Obviously between their collaborations on “Take Care” and “What’s My Name,” as well as the constant tabloid speculation on the nature of their relationship, these two megastars are best known for their constant, will-they-won’t-they flirting. But that isn’t always the case!
“Too Good” is another great chapter in the Drake/Riri catalog, but it casts both of their voices as jilted victims of unrequited adoration. You wouldn’t exactly call that steamy would you? But regardless, it adds up to a great song and a standout on VIEWS.
20. "Make Me Proud" (ft. Nicki Minaj)
Drake’s schoolboy crush on Nicki Minaj is one of the silliest narratives in pop music. He received a cuckolding lapdance in Minaj’s “Anaconda” video, and he compared her to Claire Huxtable in “Only,” but it all started back in 2011 on “Make Me Proud.”
Drake was dealing with tabloids claiming he suddenly proposed to Minaj in Vegas (likely), and he came back with the asexual, but still pretty charming “Make Me Proud.” It was essentially a venue for Nicki to leave her mark on that year’s defining rap album (much like she did back in 2010 on Kanye’s “Monster,”) and, generally speaking, Minaj doesn’t have a hard time being memorable.