Drake and Michael Jackson are not peers and we need to stop acting like they are.
Popular Twitter account RapTV sparked major controversy after tweeting “Is Drake in 2021 bigger than Michael Jackson at his peak?”
The comment was prompted by the “Way 2 Sexy” singer’s recent success on his latest album, “Certified Lover Boy.” The 21-track LP debuted nine singles on the Billboard Hot 100’s top ten, reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart and has since garnered over 743.7 million on-demand Spotify streams.
Fat Joe, rapper and former mentor to Drake, claimed that Drake was the “Michael Jackson” of this generation during a livestream last year.
This news, coupled with the viral tweet, left people divided on who was the bigger star. Nonetheless, UM students seem to be team Jackson all the way.
“With Michael, there is a creative genius, between the production and musicality that is not there with Drake, they are not even comparable,” senior media management major Isaiah Walker said.
Julian Macira, a senior journalism and film studies major, also commented about the difference between both artists.
“I think the key difference between him and Drake, is [that] Michael influenced people with his music and Drake influences people to make fun of him,” Macira said.
While Drake has not made a public comment on the Billboard debate, a lyric from “Certified Lover Boy” embraces the comparison.
“Not sure if you know but I’m actually Michael Jackson/The man I see in the mirror is actually goin’ platinum,” Drake rapped on “You Only Live Twice.”
When comparing numbers, Drake has had ten number-one albums compared to Jackson’s six. The “Hotline Bling” singer also has 54 top ten singles compared to Jackson’s 40, as well the most entries and consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
That being said, you cannot compare Drake to Jackson.
If we’re comparing numbers, then we have to acknowledge that the “PYT” artist did not experience his peak of fame during the streaming era. Every album and single that he sold required his fans to leave their home and buy a physical copy.
When Drake puts out new music, fans can access it through Youtube, Apple Music, Spotify and physical records, all of which contribute to his music sales.
Additionally, Jackson never had the opportunity to spark public discord on social media based on a single song lyric. From the 1970s to 1990s, he had to create buzz around his music through meticulous planning and promotion because that was the only way.
Drake, on the other hand, lives in the era of gifs, dance challenges and Twitter reactions, where his songs can hit the top of the charts one day and be forgotten the next.
Streaming numbers aside, we have yet to see the full impact of Drake’s career. At the height of his 40-year career, Jackson had people fainting at the sight of him. We can clearly see how his music has impacted modern-day artists, Drake included.
The OVO artist could one day be comparable to Jackson, but he needs more time to develop his career.