Drake is someone who needs no introduction. But just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, he’s the Canadian rapper, singer, and actor who, among other things, has sold over 170 million records worldwide, won four Grammy Awards, and broken the record for the most top 10 singles, most charted songs, and most continuous time on the US Billboard Hot 100. An over-achiever of the best kind, he’s unquestionably one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed artists around. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Drake songs of all time.
10. In My Feelings
Getting things off to a flying start is In My Feelings, the song that inspired the Internet meme dance challenge ‘Kiki Challenge,’ turned Drake into the most successful rapper of all time (or at least, the one who holds the most number ones in the history of the Hot 100), and helped his fifth album, Scorpion, become a five-times platinum sensation.
9. Worst Behaviour
On Worst Behaviour, Drake sheds his nice-guy persona and gets tough. He might be worried that his “momma hear that and be mortified,” but it doesn’t stop him puffing out his chest and flipping the bird to anyone who dares question him. It might not have performed as well in the charts as most of the other songs on our list, but it’s still a banging tune.
Drake may have made his name as a softer, more user-friendly alternative to rap’s hardcore contingent, but he can still get tough when the occasion calls. The occasion called on 2015’s Energy, resulting in one of the most menacing, intimating songs in his arsenal. As Pitchfork comments, of all the middle fingers Drake flips on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Energy is the “tallest, the most knuckly, the one that comes closest to popping out eyeballs.” And yes, that’s a good thing.
For his 2016 album Views, Drake mined Jamaica for inspiration. The entire album is gold, but the dancehall-inspired Controlla stands out as a particular highlight. With its airhorns and killer rhymes, it’s a blast. Clearly, fans agreed, lapping up enough copies to send it to number 16 on the US Hot 100, number 18 in the UK, and number 27 in Canada.
6. Make Me Proud (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
Take Care, Drake’s second album (and second chart-topper), isn’t short on highlights, but his collaboration with Nicki Minaj stands out as one of the sparkliest…and most successful. Released as the third single from the album in October 2011, it debuted at number 97 on the Billboard Hot 100 before jumping to number nine in its second week – one of the biggest climbs in chart history. It also topped both the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and the Billboard Rap Songs chart, eventually certifying platinum after selling over 1.4 million copies in the US.
5. God’s Plan
Named as one of Drake’s best songs by redbull.com, God’s Plan became one of the rapper’s biggest-ever successes on its release in January 2018, debuting at number one in the charts. It may have been dismissed by the critics as a “typical Drake song,” but when a typical Drake song includes lyrics like “She say ‘do you love me?/ I tell her only partly/ I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry,” that’s no bad thing.
4. Too Much
Too Much reveals one of Drake’s strongest attributes as an artist: his honesty. When he raps “hate the fact my mom cooped up in her apartment, telling herself that she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do s__t,” he’s not talking about someone else’s experiences or adopting some kind of persona, he’s speaking from the heart. He might have more money in the bank than the rest of us can dream of, but even when he’s blinged up to the eyeballs and rapping about Maseratis and Cristal, it’s those occasional flashes of the “real” Drake that keep us invested.
3. Marvins Room
Marvins Room finds a sozzled Drake calling up his ex-girlfriend and ranting about his frustrations and loneliness. Coming as it did in 2011, its reflective, tortured narrative stood in direct opposition to everything else that was happening on the rap scene…but then again, flying against the wind is exactly what’s helped Drake sell over 170 million records. Released as a single in June 2011, it reached the top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and number 21 on the Hot 100.
2. Know Yourself
Know Yourself is one of Drake’s biggest songs. Released in 2015 as a single from the mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, it reached number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 17 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and number 8 on the Rap Songs chart. So, not necessarily huge from a commercial perspective, but the lyrics, the flow, and the hooks are mammoth, presenting Drake as the powerhouse performer he’d always been, and the chart-topping juggernaut he’d soon become.
1. Started From the Bottom
As esquire.com points out, it’s now become almost impossible to imagine a Drake song that hasn’t been No. 1 at some point. But believe it or not, the hitmaker didn’t start topping the charts until 2016. But commercial success isn’t everything, and Drake was already firing out the good stuff back in 2013 when he hit the top ten with this banging anthem from his third studio album, Nothing Was the Same. At the following year’s Grammys, the song picked up nominations for both Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. It didn’t win in either category, but it’s still as fine a song as you’ll find in his entire catalog.