The Canadian rapper Drake has caused a storm on Twitter after he used Arabic lyrics in his latest “Only You Freestyle” with British rapper Headie One.
Drake, real name Aubrey Drake Graham, is one of the world’s most successful music artists, with 39 million followers on Twitter and an estimated net worth of approximately $150 million.
The Toronto-based rapper is well-known for using slang and musical styles from other cultures, particularly the UK and US rap scenes, but in his latest release he went one step further – rapping a line in Arabic.
which one of y’all keep teaching drake Arabic??? I just wanna talk pic.twitter.com/HMo7hrCS1i— ChampagneJuJu (@jhabashy15) July 20, 2020
“Arabic ting told me that I look like Youssef, look like Hamza, Habibti please, ana akeed, inti wa ana ahla [My love please, I’m sure you and I look better],” he said.
The first part of the lyric refers to an Arabic woman (“Arabic ting”) telling Drake he looks like his name is Youssef or Hamza – in other words, he looks like he is Arab. This could be a reference to a photograph Drake took with the son of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, which the rapper captioned as “Finally found my long lost brother.”
The second part of the lyric loosely translates as “I’m sure you and I look better [together],” and caused a storm on Twitter as users analyzed Drake’s use of Arabic and his accent.
Drake speaking Arabic in his latest freestyle tho 🔥🔥🔥— Rug (@FaZeRug) July 21, 2020
One comment on the YouTube video read: “When drake speaks Arabic previous fan base: US. New fan base: Middle East.”
Another user jokingly suggested that Drake may have been rapping in Arabic to try and win back pop star Rihanna, who was reportedly dating but has now broken up with Saudi Arabian businessman Hassan Jameel.
it all makes sense why drake was spittin in arabic now🤣 https://t.co/jlx7szez1u— mayz🕊 (@mayzkgf) July 20, 2020
Some Twitter users also suggested that Drake’s pronunciation of “ahla” [better] sounded more like a swear word in Arabic.
Others poked fun at Drake for seeming to adopt yet another accent. The rapper has previously attracted attention for using slang and musical styles from the UK, particularly phrases popular with UK drill or grime rappers, and has performed live with younger UK artists such as Section Boyz.
Drake adding Arabic to his accent collection— 🎹 (@Dr_Sweets23) July 20, 2020
Drake adding “fluent in French and Arabic” in his CV like: pic.twitter.com/ew4MlJJy1c— Danyal (@danyal_kk) July 20, 2020
The ‘Only You Freestyle’ continued this trend, featuring a collaboration between Drake and UK artist Headie One, one of the most prominent UK drill artists.