Whether you like it or not, Drake is here to stay. From a numbers standpoint, Drake is on the path to being one of the greatest to ever do it. The Canadian pop star has had a handful of historic chart runs. Using his striking versatility, Drizzy has etched his name in the Billboard record books, leaving a massive imprint on music and culture.
The Boy has a hit for every occasion. He has songs for when you want to turn up at the Cheesecake Factory, songs for when you are feeling yourself, and songs for when you are thinking about your ex at 2:00 AM on Wednesday (I am not speaking from experience).
After the dust settles, will Drake be hailed as the GOAT? The answer is complicated. At his best, he has a talent for elevating the sounds of the underground, crafting them into arena-sized hooks and evocative, emotional ballads. At his worst, critics might call his sonic choices vampiric, inconsistent, surface-level, too Instagram caption friendly, and meme-able.
To navigate this question, we thought it would only be fitting to organize a definitive list of the best songs by Drake.
Going through Drake's catalog, you will be surprised at how much the self-proclaimed 6 God has given us. But will it be enough? We will let you decide.
For the sake of consistency and simplicity, we will not be including any songs where Drake is merely a featured guest artist or any of his collaborative projects.
Drake's best songs on any given day.
30. "Closer to My Dreams"
This song commonly gets overlooked as the song was part of Drake's second mixtape, The Comeback Season. Whereas most people's exposure to the Canadian artist came from his critically acclaimed follow-up So Far Gone.
Technically and sonically, Drake is not doing anything overly impressive on the song. Yet, through a bit of personal storytelling, the artist gives listeners relatable insight into a young man on the cusp of making his dreams a reality. Many of the themes presented in this song, like love, family, money, and fame, have gone on to be staples of his career. They have just been amplified as Drake blossomed into a megastar.
29. "Chicago Freestyle" ft. Giveon
So, somehow Drake took the bridge from Eminem's “Superman” and wove it into an icy cold introspective track. With a beautiful assist from Giveon, Drake gives us his usual bars about run-of-the-mill anxieties and nightlife while bragging about his accumulated wealth. He does just enough to keep us entertained as he gets some stuff off his chest over the silky smooth instrumental.
Easily one of the harder-hitting tracks on Drake's 25-track double album Scorpion, "Nonstop" introduced fans to new laid-back flows over a punchy but minimal beat. With a bit of playful aggression, the rapper does his best to reaffirm his dominance over his peers with a healthy amount of flexing and double entendres.
Also, Tay Keith did his thing on the beat. Connecting with Drake for the second time since BlocBoy JB's "Look Alive," Keith infuses an obscure sample from the Memphis underground legends Mack Daddy Ju & DJ Squeeky. Not only does it help create a hypnotizing chorus that you probably spent the summer of 2018 mumbling, but it also alludes to Drake's strong musical ties to the city of Memphis.
27. "Make Me Proud" ft. Nicki Minaj
In the grand scheme of all the best Nicki and Drake songs in rotation, their only duet that appears on an official Drake album ranks rather low on the list. Yet despite this fact, it is still one of the essential stops on the journey of his sophomore album Take Care, perhaps because it is such a true-to-life document. These two kids came up together through Young Money, and to have their jubilation at realizing their lofty young dreams sealed in wax is just plain cute.
26. "The Real Her" ft. Lil Wayne & Andre 3000
This track embodies Take Care-era Drake. The ballad features heavy minimal percussion and bass, a transfixing slow groove, and an alluring nocturnal hook. Heavily influenced by The Weeknd, Drake explores romance, sex, and the superficial life he just can't seem to grow accustomed to. The two assists by Lil Wayne and Andre 3000 do their job. It is definitely not a song you should skip on your next Take Care playthrough.
25. "Teenage Fever"
Champagne Papi's affinity for 90s R&B is sprinkled throughout his catalog. In the same light as "Girl Loves Beyonce" or "Practice", Drake claims Jenifer Lopez's chorus on her 1999 single, "If You Had My Love,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQsWkb8uzL4" as his own. You either love this Drake song or skip it when it appears on your playlist shuffle, making it one of the more polarizing songs on More Life.
24. "Under Ground Kings"
The competing natures within Drake of his satisfaction and horror at the life he has built for himself are writ on the largest possible scale on "Under Ground Kings." In one breath he is sneering at how he "got rich off a mixtape," and in another painfully admitting that he is a "cold due, I'm gettin' back to my ways." The production is colossal, with great yawning lines of bass accentuated by a circling guitar chord, one that hovers over both Drake and the listener like a vulture on the prowl. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.
23. "Find Your Love"
As the old saying goes, Kanye West's trash is another man's treasure. Or something like that. Widely believed to be a cast-off from Yeezy's opus 808s & Heartbreak, Drake was able to get his hands on the demo and turned it into the single which definitively staked his claim among those clamoring for a spot on Top 40 radio way back in 2010. And with a hook as massive as this one, how could it possibly have failed? All together now, "HEY HEY HEY!"
22. "In My Feelings"
All that had to be said was, "Kiki, do you love me?" and we were all instantly hooked. With its catchy crooning and breezy beats, "In My Feelings" was set to be a bona fide hit no matter what. But then, right on time, Shiggy started his dance challenge, and the rest was history. While we all collectively got sick of the track by the end of Summer 2018, there's no denying its rightful place in the Hall of Fame of Drake songs.
21. "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)" ft. Lil Wayne
Has Drake forgotten about his troubles? Not for one moment. But just because one has stress about everything going on in their life doesn't mean that they can't take a night to say 'fuck it' and celebrate. This is exactly what is going on in "HYFR;" it is the sound of Drake taking a well-earned break in fretting about his problems to get properly wasted with the man who brought him on the come-up. "Are you high right now? Do you love this shit?" Wayne reminds the listener before each chorus, and Drake provides the perfect answer for us: "hell yeah, fucking right."
20. "One Dance" ft. WizKid & Kyla
This svelte little diddy has somehow managed to become the most-streamed song in the history of both Spotify and Apple Music, and it has been in our lives for less than a year. Is it really one of the best Drake songs? Debatable, but Drake has certainly never crafted something so tightly crafted and controlled. "One Dance" is a precise dancehall-minuet, one that reflects each of its disparate parts back at the listener, all wrapped up in one of the earwormiest melodies of a generation.
19. "10 Bands"
One can palpably feel the frosty air that effuses each second of this production, a lilting sequence of carol-like bells with an iciness only matched by the greed in Drake's heart. While the Drizzy of yesteryear may have extolled the virtue in his ability to spend money on loved ones in favor of saving it, here we have a glimpse of this same man now consumed beyond control in the extravagance of his celebrity lifestyle. But Lord, if it doesn't sound glamorous.
18. "Too Much" ft. Sampha
Much and more has been made of Drake's sometimes questionable practice of discovering artists or tracks he likes and, um, appropriating them into his own. But has anyone condemning this practice sat and listened to what he does with them? "Too Much," liberally pulling from a Sampha track, spins wondrous beauty from its original, subsequently introducing the singer/songwriter to the world and making Drake's rapping sound like a late-night jazz cabaret standard. No easy feat at all.
17. "Best I Ever Had"
"Best I Ever Had" works on a variety of levels, but first and foremost it functions as a singularly perfect pop song, perhaps one of the best Drake songs of his career. Making a sing-alongable ode to that special someone who makes you feel all warm and fuzzy is a tale as old as time, and it arrived at a stage early enough in Drake's catalog for us to see him as a boy not too far removed from honing his singing skills at his cousin's bar mitzvah. Never again would he make a song so tailor-made for a high school acapella group to cover. As for notorious music video? That is easily one of the most Drake things he has ever done aside from creating a candle that smells like himself.
16. "Take Care" ft. Rihanna
Much like his Nicki track from the same album, "Take Care" ranks low on the full tally of Drake's collaborations with Rihanna. Yet thanks to a stellar sampling of a Jamie xx track (it, in turn, a remix of a Gil Scott-Heron song), Drizzy and RiRi delivered a duet for the ages, one that adorably delights in the pleasure of being a respectful, caring romantic partner. It is a paean to the joy in finding complete trust and safety in a loved one, and it remains one of the most honest and carefree Drake songs he's put out.
15. "Lord Knows" ft. Rick Ross
One of the core songs off of Drizzy's sophomore album, “Lord Knows” features a propulsive and maximal beat produced by the mythical Just Blaze. The beat sits in stark contrast to the minimal production we are used to hearing from the 6 God. Yet, he feels more at home than ever. Here Drake laments about his evolving role in hip hop as he begins to overshadow his peers. Braggadocious but honest, Drake uses this Take Care centerpiece to establish his dominance.
14. "Tuscan Leather"
Drake lays bare that he is "on a mission tryna shift the culture" in this bombastic opener to 2013's Nothing Was the Same, and with a track as grandiose as this, it's a claim that does not seem too far-fetched. Utilizing pitch-shifted vocals and production that sounds like a chopped-and-screwed version of Prince's title track "Purple Rain," "Tuscan Leather" finds Drake reaching out and taking the maximalism he had worked hard to earn. It remains one of his longest tracks on the record, but it befits the air of having 'made it' that bleeds through every second.
The Boy had us uping our sweater game after this music video "Headlines" closes with a spoken word, a poem that Drake delivers with an almost out-of-character sense of immediacy and poignancy: "I heard once that they would rather hear about memories than enemies, rather hear what was or will be than what is, rather hear how you got it over how much it cost you, rather hear about finding yourself and how you lost you." Therein, tucked away at the end of one of the most excellently produced tracks in his catalog, lies the essence of Drake's artistic exploration.
12. "Nice for What"
Scorpion is, frankly, a punishment to listen to all the way through. But the sentimental enterprise may have all been worth it for, if nothing else, "Nice for What." A bounce-beat that soundtracked the majority of summer 2018, it finds Drizzy in a rare mood of celebrating without any underlying ennui, giving it a universal appeal that feels revelatory with each playthrough. The Lauren Hill sample is a nice touch.
11. "Worst Behavior"
Speaking of Drake being hard as fuck, the first entrant into this tale came in the form of Nothing Was the Same standout "Worst Behavior." While his complaint that "motherfuckers never loved us" may sound whiny to the untrained ear, this song is anything but mild-mannered. This is where Drake stopped being a friendly, somewhat cuddly guy who held a soft heart and started becoming someone capable of real nastiness. Tragic? Perhaps, but it is a result that he oft-warned us would come about should we doubt him.
Drake gets a lot of shit. And to be honest, he kind of deserves it. He is a middle-class Canadian former successful child star asserting dominance in a game full of people who have risen from actual poverty and destitution to get to his place. It's only fair that Drizzy gets a little flack; compared to his peers he is rather soft. "Energy" is a standout of the old Drake songs because it served as proof that Drake can indeed get hard as fuck. It is both battle-cry and warning, he even interrupts his own chorus in the song's final portion to fit in one more reminder that you best be prepared if you plan on fucking with him.
Another Drake anthem, this is one of those songs you play when you need to hype yourself up. Hit-Boy's production gives the Canadian artist enough room to let listeners know that he has nothing left to prove. As the triumphant horns blare in the background, Here Drake is concise and straight to the point, celebrating another W after the release of his Nothing Was The Same album. In short, We need more Hit-Boy and Drake tracks.
8. "Back to Back"
“Back to Back” was historic for the rapper, and hip-hop as a whole. Everyone and their mom knew about this beef. This song spawned countless jokes and memes. Hell, it even charted. A follow-up to the decent Charged Up, Drizzy used the Nav, and 40-produced beat to eviscerate Meek Mill's career with deadly and hilarious quotables. Aside from the bars, the track slapped and played well in the club, putting another nail in the coffin. Petty.
7. "Started From the Bottom"
If we could pin down any single Drake song as his definitive' hip-hop moment,' then this is it. One can feel the lineage of every great braggadocious track of rap games of old embodied in every moment of "Started From the Bottom." It is a tale as old as time; for a kid on the come-up to beat back against mountains of haters to reach the summit and bask, bask, bask in the glory of victory. The fact that Drake didn't really start from rock bottom is irrelevant, for he has successfully provided an anthem for those even tangentially involved in such a struggle.
6. "5 AM in Toronto"
This song is a fan favorite for a reason. Cold and calculating Drake wields preconceived shots at a few of his peers with pinpoint accuracy. The Boy has bars for unappreciative critics, talentless rappers, and anyone who has wronged him. Following his unprecedented success, Drake just wanted to take some time out of the hectic morning to remind you to put some damn respect on his name.
5. "Lemon Pepper Freestyle" ft. Rick Ross
This is final form Drake. A quintessential track, here the artist delivers with a new breadth of confidence poignant bars about his life as a battle-tested veteran. Here Drake effortlessly drifts between his cultural insights, the state of his personal life, fatherhood, all while flexing his newfound wealth. Rather than come off as awkward brags, the Canadian is able to frame each one of these bars as a simple fact. This is his daily life now. Here the Canadian artist reminds naysayers that he still has a whole other level he can still tap into, making it the stronger of the three tracks on the Scary Hours 2 EP.
4. "Marvin's Room/Buried Alive Interlude" ft. Kendrick Lamar
"Marvin's Room" is a true oddity in the collection of Drake songs. For one thing, it boasts one of the most minimal, bare-bones production jobs he's ever laid on tape. It also could be classified almost exclusively as a work of R&B, with a smattering of rap here or there but far from something we could call hip-hop. But this song stands as among his most important for its true bleeding-heart openness and honesty.
3. "Hold On, We're Going Home" ft. Majid Jordan
Even more than the cuteness and adorability of his earliest tracks, "Hold On, We're Going Home" feels destined to be the one Drake song you'll hear at wedding receptions and YMCA events for the rest of time immemorial. Why? The answer is disarmingly simple: this is Drizzy's most successful attempt at creating a universal moment in his work. We all could do well to forget our problems in exchange for a little "hot love and emotion," it is a basic human right to do so in times that warrant it. There is immense comfort in knowing this fact and immense satisfaction in knowing that Drake can deliver it so whole-handedly.
2. "Know Yourself"
There are multiple points one could use to argue why "Know Yourself" is the greatest Drake song. It has what is perhaps some of the crispest, most calculated production of any of his songs. Every single line is memorable and catchphrase-worthy. It combines sad, tough, and self-aware Drake into one lean, mean Drake machine. It is catchy as hell. But the argument I will go with is that "Know Yourself" encapsulated the full Drake mythology in a manner that actually lives up to his own self-prophesized hype.
1. "Hotline Bling"
There is a reason this song reached a level of ubiquity unheard of for a Drake song (at least until "One Dance" the following year). In his near ten years as an artist to watch, Drake has revealed many sides to himself. Badass tough guy Drake, boozing in the club Drake, feeling horny and seductive Drake, feeling sad and regretful, carrying the sorrow of the world Drake have all reared their heads at one time or another. But "Hotline Bling" showed us a Drake we had not been privy to before or since; a Drake that is campy, silly and having infectiously giggle-worthy fun. On "HYFR" he questioned whether we "loved this shit," but he did not deliver his definitive answer until right here. Yes, he very much is.
With all these hits, you can kind of understand how Drake built a $100 million mansion that rivals most palaces.