“This is not that Drake from four years ago.” Yes it is. It absolutely is. It’s still the Drake scrutinizing the intentions of nearly everyone around him. It’s every bit the same as the Drake praying the “fakes get exposed.” It’s the Drake who feels alone even though he never actually is alone. The insular Drake who’s feeling “left out.” That Drake is still here.
If “Fake Love” shares a similarity with any of the tracks referenced above, it’s absolutely of a piece with “Hotline Bling.” Both are these understated, dancehall dabbling tunes with vaporous percussion that occasionally booms as Drake stretches out “Straight up to my faaaace.” That’s the central conceit of the song, people are smiling as they lie right to the man’s face. And he knows it. He knows they’re fake people showing fake love. People who’d just as soon see him fall apart as continue to rise. “Really you never was all in,” he sing-raps early in the lowkey proceedings. Therein lies the source of so many of the misgivings. Drake’s out here pouring everything into this. Those accompanying don’t have the same sacrificial mindset.