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Hotline Bling: The hip-hop joke machine

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Hotline Bling: The hip-hop joke machine

Drake's music video caused a wave of parodies — but was that really his intent?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video (or at least a couple seconds of it). Perhaps you’ve seen him put pepperoni on a pizza, or channel his inner Serena Williams with a tennis racquet.

For those of you who haven’t seen the videos or heard the song, here’s a brief explanation: hip-hop artist Drake’s “Hotline Bling” is a great track that incorporates some vaporwave-inspired sounds and his classic radio-friendly lyrics.

Drake mixed those elements together to create an original song (though it’s been said that the beat sounds mysteriously similar to D.R.A.M.’s “Cha Cha”). The tune was initially released in July, but it really took off when the music video came out in late October.

 Naturally, you would make a music video to get more plays, and that’s just what Drake and Director X did. Except there’s something special to this video that many other artists will never be able to capture: it’s that dancing. It’s Drake being Drake.

When Drake dropped the music video for “Hotline Bling,” people had an immediate reaction to Drake’s dancing, which was improvised during the video shoot.

Why did people react to it? Well, it’s not what many of us would call “good dancing,” especially for a pop icon as popular as Drake. Many people have criticized this video, suggesting that it was made with the strict intent for it to go viral.

But of course that’s the case! It’s a promotional video. It was made with the intent to convince more people to purchase and listen to the song — that’s the purpose of music videos.

What’s more, this video is following Drake’s rather moody newer releases, like straight-up diss tracks “Charged Up” and “Back to Back,” so it is surprising for Drake to take such a sharp turn towards a light-hearted video.

There are so many parodies of it, and they’re all kind of great. In fact, it is the second-most perfect video to parody (behind Shia Labeouf’s “Do it” video) because Drake is just by himself in a box, showing off his best dad dance moves.

Drake probably knows that people aren’t making fun of his dance moves — well, not entirely. Rather, they are celebrating his creativity. His unconventional dance moves are actually kind of tight.

Drake might have intended to make the video some sort of sensation, which I’m sure every artist wishes to do when releasing a video, but I think he did it in a whole-heartedly pure way.

The recipe was this: a great song with fresh sounds and a nice hook, some new and totally Drake-style dance moves and, most importantly, the minimalist art direction of Director X.

It seems the video is everything that Drake and his crew could have wished for, but hopefully none of these parodies hurt his feelings too much. He might write a song about them.