2017 SOTY Write-Up: Glow ft. Kanye West – Drake

Listen: Spotify

The surprisingly sparse and minimal production on “Glow” works effectively to frame two of hip-hops largest personalities. A simple kick and side snare tick coupled with a rumbling and warping bass define the groove for quiet chords and quaint muted strings to color the track. These few elements leave the mix full of room for Drake and Kanye’s astounding performances. The latter opens the show up with vibrant and heartfelt vocals whose lyrics develop into the song’s refrain. Most interesting however is the amusing flow Kanye adapts for his rap verses. The creative three-syllable ending of each of his bars is immediately grabbing and can prove impossible to not join along in rapping, “We go suit and tie, we gon’ touch the sky-y-y.” Kanye is the clear star here, but that’s not to say Drake is not deserving of his due. In the last third of the track Drake reveals he is unsure of his own glow, and that perhaps there is still work to be done. For as much as he has shined in the music industry there remain issues he struggles with at a personal level, and before truly glowing he must attend to those first. To finish the track Kanye makes use of a recently popularized production technique he featured on The Life of Pablo (2016). Rather than chopping the sample up, Kanye maintains its integrity and allows it to play practically unaltered. Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Devotion” is the chosen sample here and, my god… simply amazing. The soul group’s song adds a sort of commentary to Drake and Kanye’s musings on the glow. The sample sings, “Through devotion, blessed are the children,” and you get the sense that both artists accept this idea of devotion as a means to success. Thematically, as well as musically, the sample bears brilliance in its added inspiration and introspection to this perfect song. “Glow” is an impeccable demonstration of the chemistry between two of the genre’s biggest influencers.

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