It’s no secret that Drake is the biggest artist in Hip Hop right now. He’s all over your timeline, his songs are played at least twice a day on your favourite radio stations and he’s all over your television screens. 2016 has been a monumental year for the ‘Views’ rapper whose latest album has broken all kinds of records and has cemented his place is pop culture history. Pictured here with head of Apple Tim Cook, Drake’s exclusive deal with the company following his critically acclaimed album is set to continue for years to come. Recently, he released the video for his song ‘Childs’ Play’ featuring Tyra Banks exclusively through the streaming service and he has now released a thrilling short film called ‘Please Forgive Me’ which clearly shows Apple are allowing him to pursue his creative talents musically and cinematically through their service. Apple Music are essentially behaving like a record label, funding the artist’s music videos and short films as long as they’re released exclusively through them. This is of course lucrative business, Drake’s one billion streams on Apple Music accrued the company $4m, which is a decent sum; however, it is the cultural significance of being tied to the biggest artist of this generation which the company are keen to capitalise from.
Hailing from humble beginnings on the Canadian Sitcom De Grasse, it’s no secret that Drake can act. He recently showcased his acting talents in a series of hilarious skits on Saturday Night Live but in ‘Please Forgive Me’ he is a lot more exposed, playing a more serious character. Torn by a painful dilemma, Drake features as a loving boyfriend whose beautiful girlfriend (played by Belgian model Fanny Neguesha) is offered one million dollars to sleep with a shadowy millionaire. However, instead of fulfilling the parameters of the deal, Drake, his girl and associate take out the liaison at the rendezvous point and make off with the cash. Drizzy then goes to return the money to the pissed-off crime boss, and that's when all hell breaks loose in the short film, leading to a violent, exhilarating and explosive conclusion.
The role perfectly suits Drake who has made it no secret that he’s a ladies’ man in his passionate lyrics and is well known for his celebrity romances - he is currently dating Rihanna and in the past has been romantically linked with tennis superstar Serena Williams. The music and slick visuals filmed in Johannesburg and Namibia coincide to bring the viewer an action - packed experience and highlight the artist in a completely different light. Similar to Drake’s short film ‘Jungle’, released in 2015 in conjunction with his mixtape ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,’ this short film features motifs and songs from the ‘Views’ album including smash hits ‘One Dance,’ ‘Controlla’ and ‘Hype.’
The plot is a modern flip of the 1993 film ‘Indecent Proposal.’ Again, showing the trend of Hip Hop artists taking inspiration from Hollywood hits for music videos. Kanye West was heavily inspired by the 1983 box office hit ‘FlashDance’ for his ‘Fade’ music video’ – the cycle of artistry is clearly at work in 2016
Star Studded Line – Up
Drake showcases his Caribbean influence which is ever present on the album with a feature from Dancehall artist Popcaan who many feel was unfairly cut from the song ‘Controlla’ on the ‘Views’ album. Directed by Anthony Mandler in the underworld of Johannesburg and deserts of Namibia, the 20-minute clip includes features from artists who have helped Drake reach the peak of his career such as Popcaan, Kyla Reid who he sampled for ‘One Dance’ which earned them their very first number one song and Swedish twin sisters Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta who play hot headed assassins – the pair were previously handpicked to star alongside Drizzy in his album art for ‘Views’.
What this means for the Streaming War?
After watching the short film, you will recognise that a substantial amount of money was invested. Drake built up a lot of anticipation for its release, teasing fans with mini clips on his Instagram but the wider context of this trend is something fans may not recognise now but they will soon. The streaming war between Apple and its rivals has stepped up a gear and this aggressive move to secure the biggest artist in Hip Hop is a big statement by Apple Music to their rivals. By essentially behaving like a record label by providing Drake with the funds to pursue his artistry, Apple music are attracting more of his fans to their service since there is nowhere else fans can watch Drake’s films. Targeting other Hip Hop icons like DJ Khaled, it is clear to see the value of Hip Hop to the music industry. What will be interesting to observe is the reactions of traditional record labels such as Universal Music who Drizzy is signed to but due to the Apple Music deal are not exclusively reaping the benefits of having the biggest artist in Hip Hop on their books.
Watch ‘Please Forgive Me’ here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/music-video/please-forgive-me/id1158628869?mt=5&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
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