Recently, Drake dropped the video for his hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” But the message of the video was lost on the American public because too much other shit was happening (it’s fall TV premiere season!) The video’s significance–along with its social coding and Drake’s brilliant non-acting–deserves closer analysis.
In his video, Drake welcomes the audience into a gaudy 1985-world in which he’s surrounded by metrosexual men before men were metrosexual and blurred-out females (aka Drake’s paradise). The manner in which the men are arranged around the table–in huddled groups sipping champagne and at a distance from the other-gendered–and the exclusivity with which one of Drake’s men (portrayed here by ASAP Rocky) announces that it’s not good to talk about whatever “business” they’re conducting in front of the women clearly illustrates what’s really going on here.
Meanwhile, Drake’s “fiancee” is at his “home” preparing for something that obviously isn’t Drake’s celebration party at the club everyone else is at. She looks in the mirror and gets kidnapped, conveniently freeing Drake up for a special adventure with his femme-bros.
After getting a call that his fiancee has been kidnapped, Drake goes home (with his men close behind him) and takes a brief moment to himself in front of a wall. Drake stands in a stiff silence and seizes the opportunity to practice his empathetic acting face.
Speaking of Drake’s backers, this is the best scene in music video history: never before has someone wearing bright red Toms walked into a room bursting with this much illegal artillery. But the historicity of Drake’s video doesn’t end at the room’s threshold, because the exploration of the gigantic gun wing of his home is also symbolic of Drake’s own journey to show his growing affinity for gun-related phallic power. It is a gracious glance at his most personal diary pages.
Drake really hits the message home, though, when he arrives with his crew of four manskeeters carrying incredibly large machine guns (high powered phallic power) in front of their crotches and wearing matching black wife-beaters, ski masks, and hot pants. He clearly, proudly loves these men … these men who guard his back with their machine gun crotches.
Except for the white boy. Drake shoots him in the back of the head (weak) shortly after they get out of the car for being a traitor. But this illustration of authority is not merely a plot device–Drake wants his audience to know that he doesn’t want any of the white D, so don’t even try it, Zach.
As is often necessary for all homo-erotic film noir, Drake and his crew get in a very violent gun fight with the people who kidnapped the fiancee, which involves a lot of ammunition. Like, a LOT a lot. All over the place it is bang! bang! bang! It even ends in a great, big, fiery explosion. Although this scene is probably an unrealistic symbolization of Drake’s actual sexual drive and performance, the gesture being made to the world is clear: “Hi, I’m Drake. And I’m no longer hiding. Hold on, we’re going home … to a place where we’re free to be ourselves.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2013