The NBA announced Tuesday that Canadian rapper Drake will host its inaugural end-of-season awards show on June 26. The news isn’t all that much of a surprise, considering Drake himself said he would host the show many months ago. (If any part of the news is a surprise, it’s that Kevin Hart seemed like an absolute lock to get this gig and a last-minute switcheroo was still in play.)
Although Drake is by no means a bad choice to host an awards show, it’s unclear which version of the artist will show up that night. Drake, uh, employs so many different personas that his performance can be wildly different depending on who he’s trying to be in that moment. Let’s run down some of the different versions of the Canadian rapper so you can be ready for anything on June 26.
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This is the Drake that is simultaneously a bad Popcaan impression but will get your hips moving with songs like “Passionfruit” and “One Dance.” This is the Drake that says “ting” and “thing” in the same verse. This is the Drake that kind of jacked the vibe from D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha” for “Hotline Bling.” As much as Tropical Drake may be a mainstream hit—I have yearned for many sweaty nights in the Caribbean while listening to “Madiba Riddim”—it’s probably for the best that this version of Drake doesn’t show up.
I actually like Kentucky Fan Drake. I know most people think Drake is an unabashed frontrunner, but I think he genuinely roots for people he’s developed relationships with, which is probably a much healthier way to approach sports than the rest of us typically do. What I like about Kentucky Fan Drake is he has an earnestness that’s relatable to everyone who wishes they could be a successful athlete.
When Drake stepped up to shoot an airball during a Kentucky layup line a few years ago, he shot that airball with the same gusto of a middle-aged dad at a fantasy basketball camp, and in way, that’s heartwarming. This still isn’t the Drake we want hosting an awards show, though, because he would just be gazing into the athletes’ eyes all night.
This was the Drake who tried selling us (for what felt like a five-year period) about how Views was going to be the next masterpiece rap album. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to name five tracks off of Views—an album with 20 songs—someone else would be writing this blog. That’s all you really need to know about how most people feel about Brooding, Serious Artist Drake.
SNL Drake is our best bet at a fun awards show. This version can be self-deprecating, funny, and highlight Drake’s wide array of talents. Remember the Drake Beef sketch? That was a perfect encapsulation of SNL Drake, as he showed off his acting chops and rapping skills all while poking fun at the way people perceive his “hard” persona.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a couple months to see which Drake shows up and who wins MVP. We’ll only be waiting with half as much anxiety as Kevin Hart, though.