First things first, I'm here for Asahd Khaled's adorable face on every visual! Asahd, DJ Khaled's 7-month-old son and mini mogul, is no stranger to gracing the covers of the producer's projects. Besides being credited as an executive producer, he even makes an appearance on the artwork for Grateful, DJ Khaled's album coming out on June 23rd. Asahd is the true star here! Don't @ me!
After having 24 hours to digest it, "To the Max" itself doesn't quite maximize the potential that both Drake and DJ Khaled have to bring to the table for a summer banger. The single revolves around their mega success and of course, turning up to the max. The chorus samples a garbled rendition of 1Way Frank's "Lit" featuring J $tash, which incessantly repeats "All of my young ni... lit, we lit/My young ni... lit." While the bridge is comprised of another sample of T2 and Jodie Aysha's "Heartbroken," it doesn't add much substance to the song if only to show that Drake is still a massive anglophile at heart since the release of More Life.
Early on in Drake's career, one of his biggest strong suits was his relatable lyrics. And it's sad to say that I can’t relate to any of it in this track. It's no secret that Drake has become a commercial success in the rap game; but as he continues to sit at the top of the music charts, he strays further from the authentic connection he has established with his day one listeners.
In the first verse, Drake goes full fuccboi mode and delivers the following lines:
“I talk grey, I don't keep it white and black
Only say "I love you" just so I can hear it back
Sometimes, other times I'd love to have you back."
Wow, just wow. The cruelty, the inhumanity! The Drake's the type of guy to play mind games with you and still land his way into your heart. I am not surprised by his self-serving manipulation; but from the perspective of being the someone hoping for the "sometimes, other times," it stings to say the least.
Drake is no stranger to casual savagery, though (that's probably why he's my problematic fave). In "Star67" from If You're Reading This It's Too Late, he also alludes to his own vindictive complex.
In these lyrics from "Star67," Drake raps about giving zero fucks, even to a supermodel:
“Shut the fuck up, text from a centerfold, I ain't reply
Let her know I read it though
Voice mail say she ready though.”
When you have the nerve to turn your read receipts on and leave someone on read, that's just a violation of common decency! Our generation is probably the guiltiest of not abiding by any form of texting etiquette, but it's no excuse to act so petty. If Instagram stories were invented in 2015, Drake probably viewed hers that day too. IT'S MACHIAVELLIAN, I TELL YOU!
In "To the Max," he goes on to end the first verse with these less than memorable lines:
"If they pop somebody's chain then we gotta get it back
No discussion to be had, we ain't goin' out like that
Man, we lit."
We get it, Drizzy. You got so many chains they call you Channing Tatum (but no one actually does!!!). And if anyone steals from Future again, they're done for! The second verse is also a redundant warning to snakes trying to come after Champagne Papi that they stand no chance. Drake's vocals came in all right, but I wouldn't sing along to them whole-heartedly.
Don't get me wrong. The song is catchy enough to have it blasting at 80% volume when it comes on the radio, but "To the Max" doesn't have the infectious quality of “For Free” or even “No New Friends." But, you never know. This single might grow on me with time. A couple months from now, you'll probably catch me captioning a Snapchat video of myself with “I don’t know why I’m crying in the club” to this song playing in the background.