“The budget for this video was $996,631.90. We gave it all away. Don’t tell the label.”
Drake’s catchy and uplifting song, “God’s Plan,” has been his fastest to jump to top 10 on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop charts and has not trickled down since. For over four weeks now, fans have been savoring this record, and many Cornellians have been bumping it on replay during fraternity parties and hikes up the slope.
Drake followers were then stunned by his Instagram post last Thursday: a picture of a clapperboard with the caption “The most important thing I have ever done in my career…”
He did something a little different this time around. Well, very different. He paid a visit to the University of Miami a few weeks ago, surprising students with gifts and a music video shoot. And rather than using his million dollar budget to purchase elaborate set equipment and hire some beautiful women, as most rappers do, Drake decided to donate it all to the people of Miami.
Yes, that’s right. Drake shot his video in the streets, and gave away checks and wads of cash to the less fortunate. He is filmed presenting a scholarship check to a University of Miami student (*cough cough*, he should have come to Cornell), giving a family a brand new car, paying for people’s groceries at a local supermarket, donating to the City of Miami’s Fire Department and Frost School of Music, and more.
In turn, his video does not feature professional dancers and actors that we expect to see from an artist like Drake, but it features people like you and me. The video is composed of countless genuine reactions of fans and gift receivers. Facial expressions are not staged. They are raw. They are real.
The video depicts Drake as an angelic, Godlike figure as he spreads love across the city. One of the most memorable parts of his video is toward the end, when he surprises a mother and son with money. He advises the boy, “You gotta make sure you take care of your mom too, no matter what you do, that’s all we got. You know? Trust me.”
Going along with his “God’s Plan” vibes, Drake posted on his Instagram Story a couple of days ago, “I am not into challenges on IG I find them annoying…but today I am going to challenge everyone to just go out and do something for someone, anything, the smallest thing just to bring another human being some joy and please tag me in it somehow so I can see all the love being spread,” Drake wrote. “You don’t have to play the song in the background or have some hashtag this isn’t about streams and all the other tactics being used…just go be kind in any way you can and let’s all watch the world be nice to each other even if it’s for 24 hours…Thank You.”
Critics, including myself, have been somewhat skeptical of the fact that Drake has not been shy about his generosity at all, as he filmed all of his acts of kindness, put the finished product into the hands of Youtube users around the world, and will likely generate even more money than what he put in. That being said, his hashtag-less Instagram challenge confirms his selflessness to me and many fans of Mr. Champagnepapi.
While the nature of this video is unlike anything we’ve seen recently in hip-hop and R&B, perhaps Drake will not only start an Instagram trend, but a music video trend. Hip-hop fans should be looking out for low-budget videos with this sort of realness and depth. God has a plan, and Drake’s here to pave the way; oh, and of course to get it trending. In his lyric, “Might go down a G-O-D., yeah, wait,” it doesn’t seem that Drake actually wants us to wait. He’s going down a G-O-D. now, with his number of views skyrocketing and his reputation soaring.
Juliette Rolnick is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.