Drake making songs with up-and-coming artists is a story as old as time. The “Drake Effect” is a real thing and has been studied by music scholars across the globe. Usually it works in the artist’s favor, like when he linked up with the Migos on the “Versace (Remix).” The song went crazy on the charts and their careers took off. But then there are times when the song performs well, yet it doesn’t translate to longevity like with BlocBoy JB and “Look Alive.” Now it’s newcomer 4Batz’s turn.

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Earlier this week, social media went abuzz when the Canadian superstar teased a remix of 4Batz’s “date @ 8” on his Instagram Story. Then the mysterious R&B singer with an affinity for shiesties posted this video on his X account:

Not gonna lie, this video had me hype. I couldn’t really make out what the song actually sounded like, but they all seemed pretty excited, so I was expecting a certified banger that Flex could drop bombs on. When the Dallas-based singer appeared out of thin air with “act i: stickerz ’99?” back in the fall of 2023 (the first upload of “act i” on YouTube was on Sept. 16, 2023), a Drake collaboration felt like a no-brainer. Some have compared 4Batz to a thugged out Brent Faiyaz or Weeknd. I’ve seen others say he makes R&B music for stick up kids. And I, too, think he makes love songs for the thugs. You know, the ones that also happen to be real lovers. The thugs with big hearts, kind of like Method Man on “All I Need”.

That’s why everyone saw the Drake stimmy coming from a mile away. He is the Certified Lover Boy, after all. Ultimately, though? I was a bit disappointed. Other than some fans on X complaining that the song wasn’t available in the U.S., this didn’t take over my timeline. Usually when Drake remixes a newcomer’s popular song, everything stops for a moment. However, last night most of X was still high on the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets game because on Thursday nights, my sports and music worlds collide on social media. The “act ii: date @ 8 (remix)” didn’t stop all of us in our tracks. I actually didn’t even think to listen to it until 12:30am. My timeline usually explodes around midnight when some heat drops. That was a telling sign for me. So once I finally checked it out, I was let down.

The remix as we know it has changed. There was once a time when a remix meant a different beat and new verses. Nowadays, we get a verse tacked on to the original song. The aforementioned Method Man and Mary J. Blige song is actually the remix to the original album version in which MJB doesn’t make a appearance. No one remembers the OG version. The same can be said about Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix)” where the beat was the same, but Craig Mack added a new verse to go alongside verses from Biggie, Rampage, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes.

This track has some of those features, but they aren’t significant enough to make a big deal about. Drake’s contribution, while good in terms of sound and bars, feels stitched on like bad patchwork. We don’t even get a new verse from 4Batz. This feels like two different songs and is essentially a home game for the Canadian rapper in that it doesn’t challenge him. It’s almost too on the nose. Drake does go into his real yearner bag, though, and delivers a good verse. “A thousand on your f—kin’ hair/Two hunnid on your f—kin’ nails,” he croons, essentially reminding 4Batz that he’s dealing with cats in different tax brackets now. It would’ve been cool if 4Batz added a verse to 40’s breakdown. These two collaborating on, say, “act iv” would’ve hit much harder, hopefully they’ll work together in the near future. I must admit, though, Drake’s addition sounds great on some good speakers, streets just needed 4Batz to go in too. That would’ve knocked this remix out of the park because these two are a match made in Thug Matrimony.

Shouts to the real lovers, the real yearners, the real tricksters, though. I’m calling it now, Thug Love is making a comeback this summer. Somebody get Ja Rule and Bobby Brown on the phone.

Angel Diaz
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