Drake, ‘Started From The Bottom': Critics and Tastemakers Weigh In
“I feel sometimes that people don’t have enough information about my beginnings and therefore they make up a life story for me that isn’t consistent with actual events,” Drake wrote. ” I did not buy my way into this spot and it was the furthest thing from easy to achieve. I am proud of every part of my past and I’m excited for this song to find a place in your life as well.”
Cool story, bro. But how does the song stack up to the rest of Drake’s catalog? And isn’t he from an upper-middle class background– what bottom could he possibly be referring to?
We polled a few critics/tastemakers for their thoughts.
Rob Markman (@RobMarkman) — Senior Writer, MTV News
It’s the type of record where you can just hit the club with your crew and just stand on couches, raise your glass and celebrate your collective accomplishments. I don’t think this track will be Drake’s biggest hit, but it sounds like an interesting set-up record for his upcoming LP… The bottom is all relative. Drake’s starting from the bottom is clearly not DMX‘s start from the bottom. … but who knows, maybe Drake went through some real pain in his life before rap.
Jake Paine (@Citizen__Paine) — Editor-In-Chief, HipHopDX
I think Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” diversifies his catalog of singles as far as sound and substance. It’s catchy enough and the chorus being half the song will succeed for Drake, who doesn’t seem to ‘miss’ when it comes to singles — at least on spins. I believe after Kendrick and Nas have succeeded with everyman-themes in the last year, Drake’s version of “We Gonna Make It”-meets-“Back Then” is more about former unsigned momentum than punch-clocks and linted pockets. That said, I’d rather listen to Jadakiss… or Mike Jones.
Jeff Rosenthal (@ItsTheReal) — ItsTheReal.com
I do like “Started from the Bottom,” which seems like a crazy thing to say, since it’s barely a song. It seems like a half-bridge that just loops for a while, as if designed for brainwashing. It sounds like Spaceghostpurrp filtered through a Tyga beat, and yet only Drake could pull it off. I like it as a good ‘street single’ for Drake, or Main Street single, as it were. That being said, I don’t think it matters that his definition of ‘the bottom’ is different from, say, Freddie Gibbs‘. “Started from the bottom, now we here” is just a statement that anyone can relate to (or aspire to relate to). Drake can’t not appeal to the broadest of audiences, even when he tries not to.
Jayson Rodriguez (@JaysonRodriguez) — founder/host of The BQE online radio show; former Executive Editor at XXL
The T.Dot MC hardly ever gets enough credit for his willingness to experiment with delivery and here his flow is nimble, despite a sing-songy approach. It’s impossibly catchy — even if a tad too sentimental — and the title alone is very apropos in this ‘social media era’ because it’s tailor-fit for hashtags and status updates. Is Drake from the bottom? We all have our idea of what the bottom is, and if Drizzy lived in a nice neighborhood, he wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And his journey to get on is well documented. That’s what he’s given fans — his story. And with each release together we pick up where the last chapter left off. Now, he’ll get to start from the top… of the charts, before he drops his next album.
Sowmya Krishnamurthy (@SowmyaK) — Journalist (MTV, Rolling Stone, E!)
Drake often teases albums with musical snapshots of where he is at any given moment in time (e.g. “Dreams Money Can Buy”) so it’s unclear whether the song is a single or even indicative of the sonic direction of his new album. The title has been getting a lot of backlash, but it’s not meant in the most literal sense. We all know that Drake hails from a relatively charmed background; he makes no qualms about it. Rather, “Started From The Bottom” chronicles his ascent from being an obscure Canadian rapper no one believed in to now being bigger than Wayne Gretzky.
I think the record is dope for what it is and where its coming from. Very Kendrick Lamar-inspired; fingerprints of his aura is all over this song. I think it will do good for Drake with the urban community. In return every rich white kid will be screaming “Made it from the bottom now we here,” in every white club in America. We all want to identify with a specific struggle, the middle class hypebeast struggle of being in the know.
Listen to Drake’s “Started From The Bottom”