“0 to 100” and Drake’s Mastery of the Outro

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With the drop of Drizzy’s possibly most career-defining track, it’s clear that the 27-year-old rapper can play both roles: soft and hard. 0 to 100 is not just any boasting joint, like “Trophies”, “Draft Day”, or even “Started from the Bottom”. Rather, it’s more like a long-awaited success story to tell: one Drake happens to tell in a slowed-down second half, with help from a James Blake vocal sample.

The first half: a pounding, cocky freestyle mixed in with a little of the rapper’s newfound “Versace”-esque flow we’ve heard a lot of in 2014, the second half a little sappy but mindbogglingly genuine. Production’s a little old-school, and the beat sounds like the repeated two-note “ding”-ing of a car key in ignition, looped with thumping 808s. I think I’m at a 56 for play count.

This new and generous 6-minute joint proves yet another point about Drake: he’s mastered the slow outro. Successfully weaving together, [seamlessly], a bracing rap sesh and soft break for introspection, he delivers something of a beautiful paradox, in hip-hop form. All in all, his notorious inability to choose between the lanes of Hip-Hop and R&B is not a shortcoming, but a blessing for music buffs who want the best of both worlds.

“0 to 100” isn’t the OVO rapper’s first shot at the dual-phase track. Fans have known for a while that ballads fit him, (the older “Paris Morton Music 2”, “Bria’s Interlude”, (So Far Gone), “Doing It Wrong” (Take Care), “From Time” (NWTS)) but similar multi-dynamic songs have really been Drake’s little-known forte for quite some time. He pulled it off on “Cameras/Good Ones Go”, the heart aching slow jam off 2011’s Take Care, an unashamed reflection on the “one[s] that got away”. He worked a similar magic on “Connect” (NWTS), which intros with bitter lyricism, treading on the topics of miscommunication and the shallow nature of fame. The song later turns into a flat-out love confession; “I’ll treat ya good girl, like ya famous”…”don’t fall asleep on me hangin'”. “Come Thru” follows suit. [I’m still not over that ear-swallowing bass drop at 2:20…].

And “Furthest Thing” (featuring its classic line: ‘somewhere between psychotic and iconic’) from his latest studio album produces the opposite effect, starting slow and ending more energetically…likely a metaphor detailing the roller coaster experience of the Toronto native’s TV-to-rap career.

If nothing else, “0 to 100” disproves any sense of a one-track-mind Drake, nor solely rap or R&B Drake. Yeah, the beat is deliciously dirty and urges head-bumping, but what follows speaks volumes about Drizzy’s versatility. The track validates the rapper’s depth, with a first half that provides a guise of overconfidence, and a second one that moves us inside. The fusion of both puts “0 to 100” up on a pedestal with the rapper’s most dimensional musical works.

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