The Singles Bar - Drake, "Trust Issues"

When last we left Drake, he was a BAC point away from passing out in the corner of "Marvin's Room" wrapped in his ex-girlfriend's old sheets. If this were Amy Winehouse, careers as well tours would get axed, but for Drake, it's music as usual: get wasted alone, pull out a morose Noah "40" Shebib track, mumble out your issues and have the world treat it as normal.

Once again, 40 pours out a track of congealed black bile and beats like labored breaths, while Drake sings a shrunken, moldy version of "I'm On One" until his boasts peter out. These aren't insults. They're the precise mood Drake wants, his voice halfway between a sigh and slur--except when it's literally a slur, his phrases and melodies falling away, his tone drowned in bleary autotune and his words unintelligible. It's the sound of someone too depressed to even know he's depressed, and "Trust Issues" reproduces it eerily well.

Take the first post-"I'm On One" section, where Drake mumbles "I don't trust these bitches / they might catch me slipping" about fifteen separate times, as if he's stuck on the thought. He's technically worried about getting his drink spiked, although he mutters so often about getting wasted, being faded, that you're not sure what else someone could possibly spike it with.

Then there's the rap, stumbling between self-pity, passive-aggressive misanthropy and inflated self-regard every other phrase: "I can tell certain people don't like me no more / new shit don't excite me no more / guess that they don't really make 'em like me no more. You can look me in my eyes and see I ain't myself / 'cause if you're what I created, then I hate myself." What's prompting these feelings, Drake never specifically mentions, only leaving us asides. It's all about people having feelings about him they don't express, thoughts they don't say, taking pictures they might release, a whole world of maybe-dislike he'll--and we'll--never know whether he's inventing.

By "people," of course, Drake mostly means women--well, every woman but one, the unnamed exception who, as in "Marvin's Room," gets to hear all this. Pop culture writer Molly Lambert said on Grantland about "Marvin's Room" and similar mope-n-b songs like Lil Wayne's "Dear Anne":

They are the logical flip side of the other songs, the ones about doing every girl in the world. They're all about just wanting somebody to talk to. These rappers just want one somebody to understand them, to see through the larger-than-life persona to the regular person underneath, and then accept that regular person for who they really are.

There's usually more than that, though. "Trust Issues" is built just like one of Drake's seduction songs, all crooning sighs and sudden falsetto and confessions only you're worthy to hear. In other words, Drake wants this woman--and you, the listener, the other person on the other end--to see the real person underneath, then give him a pity fuck. You're never quite sure how much of this is Drake-the-character and how much is Drake-the-person, and that's the most uncomfortable part of all.


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