This morning, we awoke to the only thing that could possibly dull the pain of a Monday: a short film in which Drake plays a hardened criminal and generally thespians out like his life depends on it.
Directed by Anthony Mandler, Please Forgive Me runs a whopping 21 minutes, features two Drizzy singles, and costars Popcaan and model Fanny Neguesha, who make the mini-thriller super compelling. Almost as compelling as Aubrey’s bid for an EGOT win — which, for the record, is the only real goal he has left to conquer.
Because he’s conquered all the rest. On top of Views nestling back in at No. 1 on the charts this week, Drake’s reportedly six or seven songs into his next album, has just come off the success of his sold-out Summer Sixteen tour, and recently began re-dating Rihanna after years of us all hoping and praying he would. (Important note, though: Rihanna is not and never will be “conquered.” Aubrey knows as well as we do that he is lucky to be Rihanna-adjacent in any capacity.)
In any case, there’s only the EGOT left to go. Which makes sense when you think about not just his Degrassi roots, but also about his 2015 admission that he hopes to up his dramatic ante. So, because Aubrey is my best friend in the whole entire world, here are the five things I think he needs to do if he’s serious about throwing his name into the Best Actor ring (which he will thank me for in his inevitable acceptance speech, I am sure).
1. Walk that fine dramatic line
Here’s a history lesson: In 1997, Mark Wahlberg morphed into Dirk Diggler in the acclaimed Boogie Nights, which didn’t earn him an Oscar nomination but did establish him as more than just a ’90s teen dream. In 2007 and 2011, he finally got nominated for little gold men, and while I would rather walk into the sea and meet my death than watch Drizzy star in Ted, there’s something to be said for a trajectory of courting serious roles that boast dramatic range. Provided Drake stays patient, he can (and should) slowly build a repertoire that not only challenges him, but gives us a chance to see him as an actor who respects the development of character as well as his own craft.
2. But don’t go too dramatic
Please Forgive Me gave us some angsty Aubrey, and while all those tears and scowls were for good reason (dude goes through a lot in this film), it’s important to note that there is also such a thing as too much dedication. In 2011, 50 Cent starred as a cancer patient in All Things Fall Apart, and it was a lot. Like, I would say it was excessive. I would say the weight loss was excessive, and then I would say that the trailer was excessive, and then I would say that the Oscar thirst was excessive. Thus Aubrey must never make it fully transparent that he wants to achieve Hollywood stardom. The Academy loves a nonchalant albeit serious man (think: Daniel Day-Lewis), which is why I’m still shocked Leo won for The Revenant.
3. Write his own story
In 2002, Marshall “Eminem” Mathers delivered unto us 8 Mile, a movie that explored aspects of his own upbringing, focusing on his relationship with Detroit, his mother, and rapping in general. He not only earned critical acclaim for his dramatic turn, but also ended up winning an actual Oscar for the film’s single, “Lose Yourself.” And while none of us want to hear about Drake throwing up his mom’s spaghetti, it’s worth noting that Drizzy’s own story is very much worth writing home about. The man was raised by a woman he still adores, began acting as a kid, became one of the most exciting voices in hip-hop before 25, and successfully built a dynasty — all while maintaining the most important relationship of all: his marriage to Toronto.
4. Write and star in a play
I’m just spitballing here, but we’ve all heard about Hamilton, right? Obviously. So picture this: Hamilton: A Canadian Musical, all about Aubrey’s own nation’s founding fathers. (Who are just as awful as Aaron Burr, I promise.) Or better yet? A play about Hamilton, Ontario — a city you can see across the lake from Toronto that boasts some seriously affordable real estate. Either way, this is clearly the fastest ticket to Tony town. (And other lessons I’ve learned from Lin-Manuel Miranda.)
5. More shorts! More shorts!
Here’s something we should talk about immediately: Drake’s affinity for shorts — and I don’t mean the clothing item. More specifically, shorts are a surefire way to tell us how much he loves acting without us hearing that he’s auditioned for a bit part in, like, the new Seth MacFarlane enterprise. (Please, no, never.) That’s because shorts are artistic. They are built on creativity, usually involve interesting names, and get dropped without fanfare — like a mixtape — all while upholding an artist’s vision. Drake’s shorts are the fastest way to show his range while avoiding the Hollywood hierarchy. He’s creating his own reel and his own characters, therefore demonstrating what he’s capable of.
Although I really would love to see a short about Hamilton, Ontario.