Vinay Menon: Drake has already conquered music. Could politics be next?
Drake needs a new professional challenge.
Neurosurgeon? Fighter pilot? Mountain guide? Assassin? After his wildly triumphant week, I can picture him cocooned in his L.A. mansion, lounging by the pool grotto and thinking, “Marine biology ... maybe I should dominate that next.”
There’s not much left to conquer in music.
His fifth studio album, Scorpion, has left stingers in the charts. Drake nailed down seven of Billboard’s Top 10 spots this week. The Beatles held the previous high — five songs in the Top 10 at the same time — a feat the Fab Four achieved in 1964, or 22 years before Aubrey Drake Graham was born.
Ladies and gentlemen, Drakemania is the epidemic of our time.
Scorpion contains 25 tracks. All of them are now in the Top 100. When it was released on June 29, Drake smashed first-day listening numbers on Spotify and Apple Music. Scorpion is the first album to eclipse 1 billion streams in its first week.
Forget Drizzy, Champagne Papi or 6 God — Drake is breaking so many world records, his nickname should be Guinness.
Which is exactly why it’s time for a new challenge.
As Drake raps on “Is There More,” a track from Scorpion, “Soon as this album drop / I’m out of the deal.” If true, if he’s fulfilled contractual obligations to his label, there are now two options:
1. He can ink a new deal and stockpile more cash he’ll never manage to spend even if he lives to the age of 275. Drake as a free agent is the musical equivalent of John Tavares, or a detached Rosedale house on the market in 2016: the bidding wars will be as savage as his feud with Pusha T.
Option No. 2: Drake goes outside of the “Hotline Bling” box.
Drake runs for mayor of Toronto.
Now, obviously, the first question is: why would the most bankable star in music hit pause on his millionaire lifestyle to take on the thankless job of managing Canada’s largest city, all for a relative pittance of about $190,000 each year? Drake blows more than that each month on rims. If this guy feels like throwing a listening party on the moon in a diamond-encrusted rocket ship as buxom groupies feed him white truffles in zero gravity, notify the space aliens, because that is happening.
It’s not clear John Tory can get a half-decent espresso at City Hall.
But the reason I believe a Drake mayoral run is not the idiotic idea my wife insists it is — please keep in mind, she is also pro-cauliflower, anti-baseball and has grave misgivings about air conditioning — comes down to the look in his eyes.
It doesn’t matter if Drake is jetting off to Wimbledon or partying with Justin Timberlake or feigning amazement at a lollipop magic trick in London. These days, as he sits atop the world from his CN Tower perch, as he takes a blowtorch to the charts and inspires new viral dance crazes, Drake looks bored out of his record-breaking mind.
Drake is an overachiever. Drake has run out of things to accomplish.
That is why a mayoral run is so intriguing — for him, and for us.
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No offense, but there are no compelling characters vying to dethrone Tory this October. In this upcoming election, there’s no buzz, no sense of urgency. But imagine the electric atmosphere Drake could spark just by running. Young people would vote like never before. Given his cosmopolitan bona fides, Drake would infuse this city with fresh perspectives on everything from bike safety to gun violence, from global branding to scoring wins for Toronto from other levels of government.
Is Doug Ford decimating services? Maybe he’ll have second thoughts after Mayor Drake announces a new cultural super-event that combines OVO Fest with Ford Fest — come for the free hotdogs, stay for the DJ Khaled set. Is Justin Trudeau still obtuse to his ham-fisted policies? Maybe a Caribbean yacht vacation with Mayor Drake will compel the prime minister to be less flippant about refugee settlement and arms smuggling.
Nobody is suggesting Drake needs to be tortured by the blinding tedium of municipal politics. He can delegate. He can take breaks. He can treat this as a fleeting sabbatical. And if he yearns to spit rhymes in the studio or post anonymous comments on Degrassi fan sites, he could enlist his celebrity pals to help run the city.
I’m picturing Serena Williams with scissors in hand at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in East York. I’m picturing an Executive Committee meeting about ward boundary bylaws guest-chaired by Lil Wayne. I’m picturing Toronto with the most famous and unconventional mayor in the world, as Drake converts insights gleaned from his time as a local restaurateur, entrepreneur, brand ambassador with the Raps and one-man tourism magnet, and applies all of this street wisdom to the city itself.
There would be no scandals to befall Mayor Drake — he’s already come clean about the infant son nobody knew he fathered. There would be no communication snafus; much like Donald Trump, Drake doesn’t need the media. Sure, it might be strange when all official City of Toronto business is declared via Instagram. But we’d get used to this if the trade-off was a political shakeup, a new approach to old problems.
Two years ago, Tory gave Drake the key to the city.
Now it’s time for the rapper to change the locks and open a window of change.
Vinay Menon is the Star's pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon