When a rapper becomes as big as Drake currently – 10 number one albums and counting – it’s easy to forget just how good they are on the mic.
For every “One Dance”, “In My Feelings” or “Hotline Bling”, Drake has a “Lemon Pepper Freestyle”, “Pound Cake” and “Do Not Disturb” waiting in the bag. For every TikTok dance or top 40 chorus, Drake has about 100 bars of straight fire.
When rap fans say Drizzy isn’t as “lyrical” as Kendrick or Cole, what they mean is that he doesn’t rap as fast or switch up his flow as often. But believe me, Drake is every bit as lyrical as the best rappers in the past decade. What he lacks in tongue-twisting couplets or quick-witted flow, he more than makes up for it with incredible penmanship that just cuts straight through all the bullshit.
So let’s get into, here are the 15 most lyrical Drake songs of all time.
15. Drake ft. Rick Ross – “Lemon Pepper Freestyle”
Album: Scary Hours 2
Released: March 5, 2021
Best lines: “Half the time, I gotta ask niggas what they profession is / Ushered a generation in, these are where my confessions live”
Drake and Rick Ross have done enough great songs together that they could probably put together a classic EP. “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” is the latest edition to their ongoing series of records where they just black out non-stop, with no hook, over a dope vocal sample.
14. Drake – “30 for 30 Freestyle”
Album: What a Time to Be Alive
Released: September 20, 2015
Best lines: “The pen is workin’ if you niggas need some ghost lines / I thought you wanted yours like I want mine”
Drake and Future’s What a Time to Be Alive was a victory lap for the two rappers. Future had just come off a legendary mixtape run and dropping the biggest release of his career, while Drake had finished breaking down Meek Mill following a surprise album drop. On “30 for 30 Freestyle”, Drake wraps up his battle with the Philly MC and puts a bow on top. There was nothing left to be said after this.
13. Drake ft. Jay-Z – “Light Up”
Album: Thank Me Later
Released: June 15, 2010
Best lines: “They always tell me: Nobody’s workin’ as hard as you / And even though I laugh it off, man, it’s probably true / ‘Cause while all of my closest friends out partyin’ / I’m just here makin’ all the music that they party to”
On his debut, Drake was blessed with a verse from the GOAT and the young Toronto rapper proved he could stand toe-to-toe with his idol. This is just straight up rapping rap over a knocking 40 beat. Hov’s verse edges Drake on this one, but that wouldn’t be for long.
12. Drake – “Do Not Disturb”
Album: More Life
Released: March 18, 2017
Best lines: “I was an angry yute when I was writin’ Views / Saw a side of myself that I just never knew / I’ll probably self-destruct if I ever lose, but I never do”
Reflective, contemplative Drake is the best Drake. Fresh off the biggest album of his life and his first number one single, More Life, was a collection of different vibes, with “Do Not Disturb” seeing Drake look back on his hard-earned victories and wondering why he still feels empty.
11. Drake – “6PM in New York”
Album: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Released: February 13, 2015
Best lines: “I heard a lil, lil homie talking reckless in Vibe / That’s quite a platform you chose, you should’ve kept it inside / Oh, you tried? It’s so childish calling my name on the world stage / You need to act your age and not your girl’s age”
Any Drake song that has a time and location in its title is automatically a classic. As a bonus track on perhaps his most lyrical album to date, “6PM in New York” is classic barred up Drake going for it, while taking shots at Tyga in the process.
10. Drake – “Back to Back”
Released: July 29, 2015
Best lines: “You love her, then you gotta give the world to her/ Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?/ I know that you gotta be a thug for her / This ain’t what she meant when she told you to open up more”
The hardest production Drake has ever rapped on paired with some of his most iconic lines – Meek had no chance in this battle. From the Nicki Minaj references to Meek’s “Twitter fingers” to poking fun at himself; every line on this record is a classic.
9. Migos ft. Drake – “Versace (Remix)”
Released: July 8, 2013
Best lines: “Niggas be wantin’ a verse for a verse / But man, that’s not a swap to me”
The most fun Drake has had on a track. Adopting the trademark Migos flow, Drake took hype levels for his upcoming album to the extreme as he spazzed out on this trap classic, while sending a few subliminal at Kanye’s way too.
8. Drake ft. Rick Ross – “Lord Knows”
Album: Take Care
Released: November 15, 2011
Best lines: “I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy / Know that I don’t make music for niggas who don’t get pussy / So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me”
Drake and Rick Ross just rapping their hearts out over a majestic Just Blaze beat – what more could hip hop heads ask for? This is an aggravated yet confident Drake who knows exactly where he stands in the rap game, and how to win at it.
7. Drake – “Weston Road Flows”
Released: April 29, 2016
Best lines: “It’s rainin’ money, Oklahoma City Thunder / The most successful rapper 35 and under / I’m assumin’ everybody’s 35 and under”
Coming off the tightest album of his career, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake’s fourth album was a tired, bloated mess that was a chore to listen to from beginning to end. “Weston Road Flows Lyrics”, though, is a classic Drake record and features some of the best rapping he’s ever done.
6. Drake ft. Jay-Z – “Pound Cake”
Album: Nothing Was the Same
Released: September 24, 2013
Best lines: “The contract like ’91 Dan Marino / I swear this guy Michael Rapino’s boosting my ego”
Three years after their “Light Up” collaboration on his debut, Drake was back ready to spar with Hov again. This time Drizzy is at different level, more confident and assured of his abilities, and knocks Jay-Z out the park, even with the latter’s two verses. This was a changing of the guard moment.
5. Drake – “0 to 100 / The Catch Up”
Released: July 15, 2014
Best lines: “I been Steph Curry with the shot / Been cookin’ with the sauce, Chef Curry with the pot, boy / 360 with the wrist, boy”
The biggest flex by a rapper ever – dropping a SoundCloud loosie like a throwaway track and it ends up becoming one of the biggest songs of the year and gets nominated for two Grammy awards. Who else but Drake?
4. Lil Wayne ft. Drake – “Believe Me”
Released: May 6, 2014
Best lines: “Goin’ out to Houston, spendin’ all of my advance / V Live just took me for a cheque / Drake you know I love you, you just took me outta debt”
When rap fans heard “Believe Me” the hype for Tha Carter V went through the roof. Too bad it took another four years before we saw the album drop. But this is a great example of Drake and Wayne’s chemistry, the two snap hard over this disgusting Vinylz and Boi-1da beat.
3. Drake – “Tuscan Leather”
Album: Nothing Was the Same
Released: September 24, 2013
Best lines: “Comin’ off the last record / I’m gettin’ twenty million off the record / Just to off these records, nigga, that’s a record”
Drake was on his Dipset vibe making this song, going in for 6 minutes straight, no hook, and three different beat changes. Nothing Was the Same was a statement that from 2013 onwards it was going to be Drizzy season and no song was better to send that message than “Tuscan Leather.”
2. Rick Ross ft. Drake & French Montana – “Stay Schemin'”
Album: Rich Forever
Released: January 6, 2012
Best lines: “Kobe ’bout to lose a hundred fifty Ms / Kobe my nigga, I hate it had to be him / Bitch, you wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym”
This was the moment when rappers found out Drake wasn’t easily fucked with. In one guest verse, he managed to fire back at Common and deliver quotables stacked on quotables, on yet another Rick Ross collaboration.
1. Drake – “5 AM in Toronto”
Released: March 7, 2013
Best lines: “Give these niggas the look, the verse, and even the hook / That’s why every song sound like Drake featurin’ Drake”
“5 AM in Toronto” is the hardest, most lyrical Drake song of all time. This is just straight-up Drake at his most confrontational, getting shit off his chest, while throwing out catchy one-liners and facts, over thumping, minimalist production.