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His audience is so loyal as to be indiscriminate—a single week with 20 simultaneous Hot 100 hits doesn’t suggest cultural ubiquity so much as cultlike devotion.

(A large cult, to be sure—take that, Beygency.) What made “Hotline Bling” exceptional late last year was the way the song spread well beyond the Cult of Drake to encircle the zeitgeist.

Drake has admitted that his attention has often strayed from the on-court action at Warriors games to the sidelines and to Gold-Onwude.

Acting on his crush, Drake proudly posed with Gold-Onwude on the red carpet at the awards show, which Drake hosted.

For most of the 2010s, music-industry analysts have wondered when the Top 40 would make one of its perennial pendulum shifts toward “the doldrums.” That’s what pop was like in the early-to-mid-’90s—the time of grunge rock and gangsta rap, the moment of peak 2Pac.

Drake is the counterpart for this moment, the hip-hop crossover star for the post-Obama blues.

Never mind the verses about “streets not safe” or “pray[ing] to make it back in one piece.” Never mind the fact that, at many points during “One Dance,” Drake seems a little bit removed from his own hit.

After that chart-topping success, 2Pac never reached the Top 10 again, despite an improbably vibrant posthumous career. On the album chart, Drake has never had any trouble hitting No.

1: All three of his prior studio albums debuted on top of the Billboard 200, each with greater sales than the last.

Through persistence, force of personality, unexpected acting skill, and sheer charm, he’d spent half the ’90s changing the lingua franca of hip-hop. Finally, in the summer of 1996, years deep into his career, he pulled it off—not with one of his hard-charging tracks about his half-imagined “Thug Life” but with a catchy party record that leaned heavily on a hook sung by some R&B vocalists. (Currently, it ranks fourth among his most-purchased i Tunes tracks; on Spotify, it’s his eighth most-streamed.) If you can call it to mind, I’ll wager you remember the bubbly R&B chorus hook by Jodeci singers K-Ci and Jo Jo better than anything Makaveli is rapping.

1 hit on both the pop and R&B charts—is a middling ’Pac single.

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