Last weekend, Duck shared an image of a vogue blanket with him and 21 Wild before their new album, His loss, published today. Except the magazine wasn’t an official issue of vogue. Instead, the duo had their street crew hand out the fake magazines – recycled vogue issues with “HER LOSS” scrawled across the pages and photoshopped models with 21 Savage’s knife tattooed on their faces – around New York. We had all been duped.
On the surface, the waterfall looked like a sly reference to Drake’s “Jimmy Cooks” bar, “don’t tell me you’re a model if you haven’t been to vogue.” But the duo’s antics continued throughout the week: They posted a fake preview of a performance of Tiny Desk, a parody of QG “What’s In My Bag” segment featuring 21 Savage and excerpts from a fake Howard Stern interview, with an overdub of Stern’s voice. Drake and 21 Savage managed to have one of the most viral “posts” of the year, except it didn’t happen. Together, the clips make a sweeping statement about how few artists of their commercial caliber need press. Both artists circled the proverbial album rollout chart so often that they decided to poke fun at the game itself.
Neither Drake nor 21 Savage did many interviews. Drake’s last was a two-hour chat with rap radar in 2020. 21 Savage had a conversation with Math Hoffa My expert opinion this summer; his penultimate interview was a 2019 ABC conversation about his arrest by ICE. But even without interviews, they are not necessarily in the background. 21 is active on the clubhouse platform, while Drake’s endeavors constantly find their way onto rap blogs and Instagram. The two have a combined total of 137.9 million subscribers on the platform, which they can reach without media intervention and without resetting collaboration dynamics.
Their antics didn’t start with the fake vogue cover though. The duo announced His loss by interrupting the “Jimmy Cooks” video in the middle of Drake’s verse and then having a conversation for the duration of the video. The provocative clip pushed the notion of rap stardom, as the two stars dove into the aquarium to prove a point: Fans watch rap videos for outsized feats, but ‘Jimmy Cooks’ showed two stars of the rap nestled in the banality. Drake praised Nike’s Oregon headquarters for star-studded “Laugh Now Cry Later” video; one of the few surprising things he can do in a video is hold a silent conversation. Fans were so enamored with them that they watched them doing nothing. And if viewers wanted to hear 21’s verse that badly, they’d stream the song, which is just a plus.
Drake knows exactly what strings to pull to go viral, and he did it all throughout the 2010s. He tried his hand at His loss press aired during Lil Yachty’s “Oprah’s Bank Account” video, where he had a fake interview with Yachty, dressed as “Oprah,” poking fun at his pre-beard years. His album covers are also long ripe for viral remixing; more recently, his emoji-tile Certified Lover album had companies and sports teams around the world putting their spin on the cover in an effort to look classy. Similarly, 21 capitalized on their viral “issa knife” music video by titling their 2017 album, Issa. When fans joked about 21 Savage being born in the UK after his arrest in 2018, he admitted he found humor in some of the posts. Both men know the internet will laugh no matter what, so might as well join in on the joke.
Drake admits his favorite porn genre throughout the His loss clips, while 21 recognizes his British lineage. When “Howard Stern” asks the two if they could get married, 21 leans into the bit, noting, “I want to hear [Drake’s] response.” The clips would have still worked had they been over-treated or spoofed outlet names, but the subtlety and earnestness of their parody gives them an extra dash of commentary.
When Drake posted the vogue cover, most people assumed it was real because it was from his page – a statement on Instagram as the most trusted source for artist news. Rap blogs and fan pages published on the next issue. Some also shared their Tiny Desk clip as if it was a real performance after being previously trolled by the artists. The world of rap media is free for all; being the first account more than suitable for many outlets. Parodies illustrate how quick people are to believe something just because it’s published.
The Howard Stern clips are as outrageous as one would expect from an interview with Stern, but he wasn’t even involved. bag of 21 QG the turns were skillfully randomized; the dreidel in his bag has sparked discussion about his intention in light of recent Kanye and Kyrie controversies. High-profile artists know they are the most valuable part of the artist-media relationship because they can reach fans without the outlet. So instead of QG getting opinions from people who want to see what’s in the bag of 21, he showed he could do it himself.
The first step to pulling off the ruse was that they were big enough for it to be believable. Drake and 21 could get any of the slots they’ve spoofed, which makes their subversion smart, but it’ll be annoying if up-and-coming artists start stealing brand sets to join unwilling outlets. not work with them. . In 2018, rapper and artist Battle Daylyt posted a fake Funkmaster Flex freestyle on his YouTube channel and titled the video, “that’s why they didn’t upload it”, sparking contrived controversy surrounding the clip. The video has three million views, proving the scheme worked better than just posting a freestyle. There is already Genius-Verified parodies featuring artists making their own videos designed to appear as part of the popular interview series. Is the Drake-21 press a glimpse of a future with fakes XXL Freshman covers, pasted interviews with “Elliott Wilson” and other forms of fake press? It’s worth pondering when the parody starts to turn into desperate theft.
At this point, Drake and 21 haven’t done any actual interviews for His loss. Two weeks ago, Charlamagne thanked Lil Baby for coming to the Breakfast Club and said, “I know it’s going to be a time when you don’t do interviews anymore,” and Lil Baby said, “Yeah. , it’s getting closer and closer.” Like Drake, the higher Baby rises in the commercial stratosphere, the more social media followers he gains and the less media he will need to help him reach his supporters. It’s good for the artist who hates interviews, but it’s not a good sign for the state of the editorial staff. An artist’s media reluctance is their choice, but some journalists may have a bitter taste after the implication of this “press course” that an outlet’s brand deserves recognition, but real journalists are not. But as Drake and 21 Savage showed this week, that’s their problem to solve.