Behind every great rapper is a mother who helped make her child’s dreams a possibility. Many conversations about the black community revolve on the role of black fathers. As vital of a conversation as that is, the recognition black mothers deserve for supporting and holding families together largely goes unnoticed in mainstream media outlets.
That is why when rappers explicitly explore relationships with mothers, it is more than refreshing. It’s essential. From Nas to Jay Z to Kanye West, conversations about mama bring out the kid in every rapper. So goes for Drake, who’s surprise release If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late features such excellent cuts as “Legend”, “Know Yourself” and “You & The 6”.
On “You & The 6”, Drake has an open, candid conversation with his mother. While previous rap songs inspired by mothers devote their attention to glorifying the women who raised them, Drake shows that their is room for more than one narrative on the subject. No, he’s not chastising her, nor is he creating a musical statue of his mom. He begins by explaining his fame has forced his mom into finding news about her son through “Google alerts.”
True to the best Drake moments, he comically puts his mom on blast for devaluing his relationships, while pushing for him to consider her personal trainer at the gym. He argues for an open dialogue between him, his mother, and father. And while at song’s end he admits he doesn’t call enough, it’s obvious it is not out of a lack of appreciation, but from a lack of time. For Drake, the personal has always been the public in terms of his rap career. It’s what has made him one of the most relevant, important hip-hop artists of this generation. On “You & The 6”, Drake makes it clear he knows he can do better in certain aspects of his life. As a rapper? Well, he’s already at the apex.