Aaron Worley | Arts & Entertainment Editor
To describe Drake in a sentence would be impossible, and probably frustrating. He is a man of creative vision; a rap prospect that attempts to cross bounds to get what is inside of him out.
To him, there is no better way to do that than to introduce his fans to his love for visually telling a story. This past Sunday, Drake released, “Please Forgive Me,” exclusively on Apple Music, following the release of “Views” in April. This coincides with his trend of releasing a film after his album, like he did after “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” with “Jungle.” Although “Jungle” was meant to analyze the rapper’s price of fame and the memories he had growing up in Canada, “Please Forgive Me” shifts into a dramatic vibration, showing a darker side of his life.
It seems that many artists nowadays are choosing to express themselves through a venture into filmmaking: Kanye West with “Famous,” Beyonce with “Lemonade,” and Frank Ocean with “Endless.” This is not to say that this idea is not original and should not be attempted by a music artist; instead it should be seen as an opportunity for the artist to expand upon what has been previously done in an attempt to separate them from the rest.
For a visual album, the main purpose is to show how the songs would string together with associated scenes in a movie, to give it a more subjective and entertaining feel. In “Please Forgive Me,” the point of it was to portray Drake as an action hero, or a marauder of some sort. The scenes that are acted in the film are very dramatic and fast-paced; one of these instances includes a proposition by a businessman to sleep with Drake’s love interest in exchange for a million dollars.
When they discuss the deal, Drake actually talks her into it, which might be surprising to some, given as though he has spent almost his entire career talking about keeping girls with him, and feeling hurt once they betray him. Of course, Drake is an actor, and a very interesting one to observe, so it should be obvious that he is not trying to play the character and soft-hearted romantic that he portrays himself as in his music.
When the film is looked at more closely, it raises the question of what he was really trying to achieve. Does he really want people to associate a track with a particular scene in the film, like most visual albums do? Should he have made an entire film that was unrelated to his album to prevent this close association?
A common criticism of “Views” was that the material felt too generically “Drake.” Critics felt as though the subject matter was material they had heard time and time again from him, and that he did not take as big of a leap as they wanted him to, in terms of experimentation and inventiveness. This is definitely a true statement, when it is looked at without bias. With “Please Forgive Me,” it seems like Drake wants the world to view him as a multi-talented individual. Obviously the film was not made for those that want the biggest excitement thrill of the year, and somehow think Drake can pull it off. It is not by any means bad, regarding the plot, action, pacing, and more specifically, the acting.
Drake has been trying to hone his craft of television and film from continuous appearances on “Saturday Night Live,” coupled with his previous acting experience on “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” with varying degrees of success. In doing so, “Please Forgive Me” stands out, perhaps as one of his more intensive, yet pleasing efforts in film.