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“Hotline Bling” was released amidst the Drake vs. Meek Mill saga that took place during the summer. It naturally went under the radar with all of the clamor surrounding the two artists, but anyone with ears immediately recognized the song was the best thing to come out of that moment no matter what happened. Originally marketed as a remix to D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha,” “Hotline Bling” became a monster of it’s own as it shot up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with very little promotion, making it one of Drake’s biggest songs to date.
The song itself is an easy listening banger. Producer Nineteen85 takes Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together” and flips it on its head. The sped up soul sample gives it a vibe similar to D.R.A.M.’s latin-inspired hit. Drake is up to the same old tricks with the lyrics, calling out the ways of a love from the past. Three couplets standout:
“Ever since I left the city you!”
“Wonder if you’re bending over backwards for someone else…”
and of course,
“You used to call me on my cellphone…”
It’s the melody that sells it with his tone varying from endearing to sarcastic, appealing to both women and men equally.
*Ether Report Card – 10/10
*The other story is that of Drake being accused of ‘stealing’ from D.R.A.M, the man behind “Cha Cha.” Many say it’s a pilfer of a great song with Drake’s name added to it – and the fact that this may be Drake’s biggest song to date is makes his detractors angry. Some feel as though this is Drake taking advantage of a lesser known act and using their talents to further himself, but it gets deeper…
What’s even more significant that the artist holding Drake back from the #1 spot is someone he’s worked very closely with in the past, with the The Weeknd’s “The Hills” currently holding the position. The Weekend’s sound was at the heart of Drake’s Take Care, in the same fashion as “Cha Cha” is to Hotline Bling, and years later he’s arguably one of biggest acts on the planet.