Bop Shop: Songs From Fletcher And Hayley Kioyoko, Wild Pink, And More

What do you do when it’s December and you’ve made one of the best albums of the year? If you’re Wild Pink‘s John Ross, you don’t rest on your laurels; you keep the bangers coming. To close out 2021, the ascendent poet laureate of heartland indietronica has unveiled a nine-minute ode to his home state; much like this year’s excellent A Billion Little Lights LP, “Florida” sighs and shivers in unexpected ways, folding eerie vocalizations into simply breathtaking soundscapes. “Florida is a rewarding place if you spend the time finding its charm,” Ross said in a statement. I agree. I’ll be spending the holidays there for the second year in a row with my new family, and while the rampant horrors of the Sunshine State are easy to knock, there will inevitably come a time during my stay when I stare out at the immense emerald splendor of the Choctawhatchee Bay and find that most of those worries disappear, even for a moment, in the quiet stillness. I’ll think of the gentleness of this song, how it stretches out like that endless water without losing any forward momentum and yet presents completely unhurried and almost meditative, and marvel at how we’ve come so far and how there’s still so much ground left to cover. Even while Wild Pink remain bigger than Christmas, “Florida” still revels in the tiny moments. —Patrick Hosken

Shawn Mendes Finds Closure And Grace In Moving-On Anthem ‘It’ll Be Okay’

Shawn Mendes is single — or at least, he is no longer dating Camila Cabello, with whom he had been romantically involved since July 2019. The pair announced their split on Instagram last month and said in a joint statement that they “started our relationship as best friends and will continue to be best friends.”

Mendes also has a new single out this week called “It’ll Be Okay,” and while his relationship status shouldn’t necessarily be a factor in discussing it, in this case, it kind of is. It’s hard to hear “It’ll Be Okay” as anything but a soothing balm after a break-up, the kind of sonic pep talk that both ruminates on what was lost and tries hard to find the positives about moving on. The opening lyrics to the song suggest as much: “Are we gonna make it?” Mendes sings over atmospheric noise. “Is this gonna hurt?”

Musically, it’s a mid-tempo, piano-led exploration of loss, and Mendes avoids using his dramatic raspy belting in favor of an even-tempered, more subdued delivery, though he still manages to sell the biggest moments. “If you tell me you’re leaving / I’ll make it easy / It’ll be okay,” he sings on the chorus in a register a few notches above a whisper before gliding into falsetto.

On social media ahead of its release, Mendes expressed a desire to get back to building bonds with his fans once again. As he captured an image of a beautiful cresting beach sunset, “It feels like I [haven’t] truly connected with you guys in a while. I miss you🤍 I hope you love this song.”

That kind of optimism pervades “It’ll Be Okay,” especially as the action settles down and Mendes sings the final words of the song and leaves us with a parting thought about his state of mind: “If the future we dreamed of is fading to black / I will love you either way.”

The openness Mendes expresses here echoes the grace of his and Cabello’s break-up announcement: “We’ve decided to end our romantic relationship but our love for one another is stronger than ever.” Check out the lyric video for “It’ll Be Okay” above.

Bad Bunny And Taylor Swift Are Spotify’s Most-Streamed Global Artists Of 2021

Every year to kick off the month of December, Spotify launches its Unwrapped feature, a quantitative look at the songs and artists (and now also podcasts) we listened to the most on its platform. Mine is pretty much the same every year — 600 minutes of my personal 2021 were spent listening to R.E.M., and I plan to spend even more in 2022 — but I am in the minority. Normal people apparently use Spotify to discover and endlessly stream new music. Sounds like a nice idea, honestly. I should try it.

Unwrapped also presents plenty of opportunities for novelty (I apparently listened to so much of a white noise podcast the night before my wedding while I was having trouble sleeping that it registered as my top-streamed above the actual podcasts I listen to) and reflection (see: your entire timeline). But apart from that fun, Spotify also unveiled its global metrics for the year, crowning the most-streamed artists and songs.

The results are in: Bad Bunny is Spotify’s most-streamed global artist of 2021, cresting 9.1 billion total spins on the platform. The Puerto Rican rapper dropped nine singles this year and continued to ride the wave of success of his Latin Grammy-winning El Último Tour Del Mundo, which dropped near the end of 2020.

Taylor Swift comes in second, also taking the title of most-streamed female artist of the year, propelled by a pair of re-recorded albums — Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version) — as well as her two LPs from 2020, Folklore and Evermore. Rounding out the top five are BTS at No. 3, Drake at No. 4, and Justin Bieber at No. 5.

Meanwhile, the song that seemed to arrive out of nowhere at the top of 2021 and quickly conquered both the charts and culture at large, Olivia Rodrigo‘s “Drivers License,” unsurprisingly took the crown as the top global song with 1.1 billion streams. (Her debut album, Sour, was also Spotify’s most-streamed global album.) Lil Nas X followed in the second spot with his culture-defining “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” while Justin Bieber and The Kid Laroi’s “Stay” landed at No. 3. “Good 4 U,” Rodrigo’s follow-up, took No. 4, while Dua Lipa and DaBaby’s “Levitating” landed at No. 5.

Not to be outdone, Apple Music also revealed its year-end statistics today (December 1) as well, a list that found BTS at the top for “Dynamite.” Apple Music doesn’t share streaming-number info, but for reference, the song has racked up 1.3 billion views on YouTube. “Drivers License” followed at No. 2, with Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” Pop Smoke, Lil Baby, and DaBaby’s “For the Night,” and The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” rounding out the top five.

Now that you know all of this, there’s only one thing left to do: Stream “Drivers License” and “Butter” again and again to celebrate.

Adele Announces Las Vegas Residency After Releasing Smash Album 30

Say “Hello” to the newest fixture on the shimmering Las Vegas strip. Adele announced on Tuesday (November 30) that she will be a resident performer at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace beginning in January 2022.

Weekends With Adele kicks off January 21 and is slated to continue through April 16. The British singer-songwriter will perform two shows each weekend, with one weekend off in mid-February (when Van Morrison is scheduled to play). Tickets go on sale December 7, though fans will have to register for pre-sale access before December 3 for a chance to secure tickets for the long-rumored residency; there may not be a general sale date should the presale demand be too high.

“See you at Caesars in Vegasss,” Adele tweeted.

The announcement follows the release of the singer’s fourth studio album, 30, which is her third collection to hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart. It debuted as the year’s top-selling album in the United States, rising to surpass Taylor Swift’s hit record Evermore. The album’s lead single, the ballad “Easy on Me,” is the biggest song in the world at the time of writing, returning for its fifth week at the top spot on both the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts.

The singer had previously shot down rumors about a residency in a November cover story published in Rolling Stone, and it is currently unclear whether a full tour is currently in the works to support 30. In addition to her recent “One Night Only” CBS special filmed in Los Angeles and two performances in London’s Hyde Park scheduled for July 2022, Adele’s Las Vegas residency concerts are the only lives dates she has announced since the release of the album. The concert dates are below.

Weekends With Adele Dates
Jan. 21
Jan. 22
Jan. 28
Jan. 29
Feb. 4
Feb. 5
Feb. 11
Feb. 12
Feb. 25
Feb. 26
March 4
March 5
March 11
March 12
March 18
March 19
March 25
March 26
April 1
April 2
April 8
April 9
April 15
April 16

Who Leads The 2022 Grammys Nominations? See The List Here

It’s Grammys season once again, and this year, it’s also Jon Batiste season. The Recording Academy unveiled its 2022 nominees today (November 23), including both surprising and not-so-surprising nods given to some of the biggest artists in the music world.

Out of the stated 21,730 eligible entries, the Recording Academy members selected the jazz and R&B maestro (and Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader) as the most-nominated artist. He scored a total of 11 nods, including in the major categories of Record of the Year and Album of the Year. Right behind Batiste are Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R. with eight noms each; Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo trail just behind with seven each.

Ahead of the nominees announcement, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. revealed that the so-called Big Four categories — Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist — had been expanded from 8 nominees to 10. Notably, Rodrigo scored one nomination in each of those fields. Eilish’s brother, Finneas, is up for Best New Artist just two years after Eilish won the same award in 2020.

The 64th annual show, which will air in early 2022, will also be the first Grammys to factor in sweeping changes the Recording Academy enacted earlier this year after vocal and public outcry from several major artists, including Bieber, The Weeknd, and Zayn. Chief among the changes is the end of review committees in favor of “a majority, peer-to-peer vote of voting members” for nominations, as well as a reduction in the number of categories voting members may actually vote for.

Also, all credited participants who perform, write, produce, engineer, mix, and master Album of the Year nominees will be included in the nomination, a departure from the previous rule of credited performers having “at least 33 percent or more of playing time.”

Meanwhile, the award formerly known as Best Dance Recording has been renamed Best Dance/Electronic Recording. Two new categories — Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album — have likewise been added.

The 2022 show has not been without mild controversy already. In October, Kacey Musgraves’s latest album, Star-Crossed, was deemed ineligible to compete in the Best Country Album category, despite her status as a country-pop artist whose previous LP, 2018’s Golden Hour, took home both Album of the Year and Best Country Album in 2019. Her song “Camera Roll” from Star-Crossed, however, received two nominations: Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance.

The 2022 Grammys will air Monday, January 31, 2021, on CBS. Find this year’s nominees below.

Record of the Year

ABBA: “I Still Have Faith in You”

Jon Batiste: “Freedom”

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga: “I Get a Kick Out of You”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches”

Brandi Carlile: “Right on Time”

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Billie Eilish: “Happier Than Ever”

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License”

Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open”

Album of the Year

Jon Batiste: We Are

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga: Love For Sale

Justin Bieber: Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)

Doja Cat: Planet Her (Deluxe)

Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever

H.E.R.: Back of My Mind

Lil Nas X: Montero

Olivia Rodrigo: Sour

Taylor Swift: Evermore

Kanye West: Donda

Song of the Year

Ed Sheeran: “Bad Habits”

Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile: “A Beautiful Noise”

Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License”

H.E.R.: “Fight for You”

Billie Eilish: “Happier Than Ever”

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open”

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches”

Brandi Carlile: “Right on Time”

Best New Artist

Arooj Aftab

Jimmie Allen

Baby Keem


Glass Animals

Japanese Breakfast

The Kid Laroi

Arlo Parks

Olivia Rodrigo


Best Pop Solo Performance

Justin Bieber: “Anyone”

Brandi Carlile: “Right on Time”

Billie Eilish: “Happier Than Ever”

Ariana Grande: “Positions”

Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga: “I Get a Kick Out of You”

Justin Bieber, Blenny Blanco: “Lonely”

BTS: “Butter”

Coldplay: “Higher Power”

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Best Pop Vocal Album

Justin Bieber: Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)

Doja Cat: Planet Her (Deluxe)

Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever

Ariana Grande: Positions

Olivia Rodrigo: Sour

Best R&B Album

Snoh Aalegra: Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies

Jon Batiste: We Are

Leon Bridges: Gold-Diggers Sound

Jazmine Sullivan: Heaux Tales

H.E.R.: Back of My Mind

Best R&B Performance

Snoh Aalegra: “Lost You”

Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon: “Peaches”

H.E.R.: “Damage”

Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open”

Jazmine Sullivan: “Pick Up Your Feelings”

Best R&B Song

H.E.R.: “Damage”

SZA: “Good Days”

Giveon: “Heartbreak Anniversary”

Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open”

Jazmine Sullivan: “Pick Up Your Feelings”

Best Rap Performance

Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar: “Family Ties”

Cardi B: “Up”

J. Cole ft. 21 Savage and Morray: “My Life”

Drake ft. Future and Young Thug: “Way 2 Sexy”

Megan Thee Stallion: “Thot Shit”

Best Melodic Rap Performance

J. Cole ft. Lil Baby: “Pride Is the Devil”

Doja Cat: “Need to Know”

Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow: “Industry Baby”

Tyler, the Creator ft. YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Ty Dolla Sign: “Wusyaname”

Kanye West ft. The Weeknd and Lil Baby: “Hurricane”

Best Rap Song

DMX ft. Jay-Z and Nas: “Bath Salts”

Saweetie ft. Doja Cat: “Best Friend”

Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar: “Family Ties”

Kanye West ft. Jay-Z: “Jail”

J. Cole ft. 21 Savage and Morray: “My Life”

Best Rap Album

J. Cole: The Off-Season

Drake: Certified Lover Boy

Nas: King’s Disease II

Tyler, the Creator: Call Me If You Get Lost

Kanye West: Donda

Best Dance/Electronic Recording

Afrojack, David Guetta: “Hero”

Ólafur Arnalds, Bonobo: “Loom”

James Blake: “Before”

Bonobo, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: “Heartbreak”

Caribou: “You Can Do It”

Rüfüs Du Sol: “Alive”

Tiësto: “The Business”

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Black Coffee: Subconsciously

Illenium: Fallen Embers

Major Lazer: Music Is the Weapon (Reloaded)

Marshmello: Shockwave

Sylvan Esso: Free Love

Ten City: Judgement

Best Alternative Music Album

Fleet Foxes: Shore

Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee

Arlo Parks: Collapsed in Sunbeams

St. Vincent: Daddy’s Home

Best Latin Pop Album

Pablo Alborán: Vértigo

Paula Arenas: Mis Amores

Ricardo Arjona: Hecho a la Antigua

Camilo: Mis Manos

Alex Cuba: Mendó

Selena Gomez: Revelación

Best Música Urbana Album

Rauw Alejandro: Afrodisíaco

Bad Bunny: El Último Tour Del Mundo

J Balvin: Jose

Karol G: KG0516

Kali Uchis: Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios)

Who will win big this year? Find out when the 2022 Grammys hit CBS on January 31.

Bop Shop: Songs From Adele, Jockstrap, Cazwell, Rosalía, And More

“Hold On” is the 10th track on 30, an album that feels nostalgic but not recycled, fresh, and inherently Adele. When this song begins, everything goes dark. Yet as the singer’s powerful, lachrymose voice echoes the title, a beacon of light draws you back to hope, grounding you. “Let time be patient / Let pain be gracious,” she sings as a manifestation for her own struggles and her listeners’. At the bridge — “Sometimes loneliness is the only rest we get / And the emptiness actually lets us forget / Sometimes forgiveness is easiness in secret” — things come into focus with simple, profound wisdom until Adele’s trademark crescendo. Although heartbreaking, what’s so hopeful about this masterful collection is that you can see the artist on the other side of her pain. She recently told Oprah how 30’s release was the closing of that chapter. While this music is intended to meet you somewhere along your journey of grief, pain, and lost love, it reminds you to “hold on / You are still strong / Love will soon come.” Adele did. Look at her now. —Daniel Head

Young Dolph Shot And Killed In Memphis

Young Dolph, the Memphis rapper whose robust baritone voice anchored seven albums, countless mixtapes, and tracks with Megan Thee Stallion, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Lil Durk, and more, was shot and killed in his hometown today (November 17), according to a local news report from Fox 13. He was 36.

Police confirmed to the news outlet that the rapper entered the Makeda’s Homemade Butter Cookies shop this afternoon and was hit by gunfire from a car that pulled up outside the store. Video from the scene shows his car parked outside the shop.

The rapper was born Adolph Robert Thornton, Jr. in Chicago but relocated to Memphis with his family at 2 years old. His rise is tied to the city. He began releasing mixtapes in the late 2000s and put out his celebrated debut album, King of Memphis, in 2016. He also collaborated regularly with Gucci Mane, and Dolph told MTV News in 2014 that the biggest lesson he learned from his fellow MC was to “just go hard, make songs every day.”

Dolph followed his example. He released his second LP, Bulletproof, in 2017, naturally featuring a song with Gucci Mane. The pair also collaborated on “Go Get Sum Mo,” a song from Dolph’s second 2017 album, Thinking Out Loud. 2018’s Rich Slave featured a feature with Megan Thee Stallion, as well as tracks with G Herbo and Key Glock, a young up-and-coming Memphis rapper who became Young Dolph’s protege. Their joint albums, Dum and Dummer and Dum and Dummer 2, dropped in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

He found Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 success in 2015 on a song with O.T. Genasis called “Cut It.” Dolph’s 2020 album Rich Slave debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Dolph’s most recent album, Paper Route Illuminati, was released in July and showcased artists from the indie label that he launched over a decade ago, Paper Route Empire.

In 2017, Young Dolph was shot multiple times outside of a Hollywood hotel, though he suffered non life-threatening injuries. Fox 13 in Memphis reports that Dolph was known for handing out turkeys around town during Thanksgiving time and for donating money to his high school.

Friends and collaborators including Chance the Rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, and Offset have taken to social media to offer their thoughts and remembrances of Young Dolph.

Argentina’s María Becerra Is Going Global

By Lucas Villa

In the past year, María Becerra has become the biggest artist to emerge from Argentina. That’s thanks in part to her sex-positive album Animal, with its fierce title track featuring Cazzu and the girl-power anthem “Wow Wow” with Becky G, which pushes the boundaries of Latin music. As her country’s most-streamed act on Spotify with 23 million monthly listeners, Becerra and her captivating music are also making waves around the globe. The 21-year-old singer was even recognized by the Latin Grammy Awards with a Best New Artist nomination; she will find out if she takes home the trophy on Thursday (November 18).

“This is news that completely surprised me,” Becerra tells MTV News. “It’s major that this is a nomination for the Latin Grammys, and to have that with such a short career, and to be new and just getting started, it’s something that’s incredible and very important for me.”

Becerra hails from Quilmes in Buenos Aires. Her mother was a fan of pop stars like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, as well as Spanish opera singer Montserrat Cabellé, and she often watched the artists’ live performances on television. Becerra sang along and took note of how they moved and ruled the stage. In 2016, she started up her own YouTube channel where she uploaded personal vlogs, dance tutorials, and covers of songs like Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman.” The online buzz led to a team-up with Argentine hit-maker Big One in 2019 for Becerra’s debut EP, 222. She put an angsty and atmospheric twist on the country’s Latin trap movement.

In 2020, Becerra became the first Latin artist to sign with 300 Entertainment, which is home to Megan Thee Stallion and Young Thug. That September, she experienced a global breakthrough with the all-women remix of “High” with fellow Argentine artist Tini and Spanish singer Lola Índigo. Her debut album, Animal, flexed her versatility as an artist with pop, reggaeton, R&B, and salsa influences. Colombian superstar J Balvin enlisted her for the biggest hit from his Jose album, “Qué Más Pues?” In July, she became the first to occupy four out of the top five spots on Argentina’s Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Ahead of her big night at the Latin Grammys, Becerra talked with MTV News about her breakthrough year and what’s coming next, including a teased collaboration with Camila Cabello.

MTV News: You have many all-women collaborations with artists like Tini, Cazzu, and Becky G. What do you enjoy about collaborating with women?

María Becerra: I love to collaborate with women. It’s something that’s very beautiful as well as important to show the world that we’re not in competition simply for being women in the industry. I like the idea of showing that we support each other and together we can tear it up. We have admiration for each other. We want to share our music with everyone and mix our genres, cultures, and languages. We’re all great friends.

MTV News: You also recorded a few collaborations with your boyfriend Rusherking, like “Antes De Ti.” What’s it like to make music with him?

Becerra: It’s kind of like the chemistry that I have with [my producer] Big One. It’s different chemistry [with Rusherking] because he’s my boyfriend. They’re the only people [I work with] where everything flows so well. With my boyfriend, we always write romantic things. We always write songs between us. He admires me as much as I do him. We look into each other’s eyes and we write and see how talented one another is. There’s a lot of admiration and love between us. It’s a beautiful environment to work in.

MTV News: What was it like to collaborate with J Balvin in “Qué Más Pues?

Becerra: That was a great experience. He’s an artist that likes to experiment. In doing a collaboration, what’s most important for me is working with a good person who is selfless. He treated everyone equally, and at the level that he’s at as an artist and a well-known person, it’s very difficult to find people like that. It’s obvious that this song was incredible for my career, that it went around the world, and helped me. What stayed with me the most was J Balvin as a person and how he carried himself. That’s how I want to be one day if I get to that level.

Thomas Raimondi

MTV News: What was the inspiration for your album Animal?

Becerra: I believe I have two personalities. One is the more timid María who’s introverted, dramatic, and with her emotions on her sleeve. The other personality is the María who’s more fierce, more extroverted, and says and sings about things that are taboo. She stands strong. Making music brought out this side of me that I didn’t know, and it surprised me what I can do. The person I am when I’m on the stage, in the studio, when I’m writing, and in the music videos, it’s the strong María. That’s what Animal is for me, showing people this big personality, this version of me that I like. I want to transmit that to other people, that feeling of being feminine and powerful, to talk and sing about what we want to.

MTV News: Why do you think millions of people are connecting with your music?

Becerra: I think a lot of people connect with my music because I usually talk about things that happen to everyone, like heartbreak, sexual desire, or secret romances. I feel like I also represent the LGBTQ+ community because I’m bisexual. I love to represent them. I always had it in my head that, if I’m this way, then this is what I’m going to sing about. I’m not only going to make songs about men because I don’t only like men. When I understood and accepted that I also liked girls, that was a difficult time. There was a lot of confusion and prejudice, and I had to think about how my family would take it. It was something very heavy that marked my life, so I have a lot of songs about that chapter.

MTV News: What can you say about your teased collaboration with Camila Cabello on her Familia album?

Becerra: She’s another incredible person. She was thanking me like, “Thank you for being on this song. I admire you so much.” I couldn’t believe she was telling me that! We had a lot of Zooms to talk, write, and get to know each other. She’s also an easygoing person who talks to you very calmly from wherever she is. I’m very grateful to her because I know this is a major opportunity for me. It’s an incredible song and we’re going to shoot an incredible music video. I’m so happy!

MTV News: What do you want to accomplish next?

Becerra: More than anything, what I want is for my music to accompany people through life. People in the meet-and-greets come to me crying and saying, “You were my company. You saved my life. In quarantine, I was alone and didn’t have anyone and you accompanied me. You got me up every day and I listened to your voice. You got me through some hard times. I had a lot of great moments with your music.” That doesn’t have a price. For someone to tell you that crying, it’s really incredible. That’s what I always want to accomplish, to reach people’s hearts.

On Take Care, Drake Flickered Between Hurt And Hubris

By Dani Blum

Drake couldn’t control the biggest moment in his career. He was anxious and antsy when his sophomore album, Take Care, leaked online in November 2011, all the passion and purpose he’d channeled into making the record suddenly available to anyone willing to download it. He told GQ at the time that he named the collection after his intense devotion to the process of making it. “I knew I was going to go home and take longer than six months, I knew that I was literally going to take care of making this project and be attentive, be clear, be immersed in it,” he said. And then the album sprang online, days before the 25-year-old rapper planned to release it.

Take Care would become his defining work, the record that honed his sound and crystalized the emotional core of Drake’s music. It’s a dark, moody record, flickering between hurt and hubris, enchanted with its own inertia. Take Care shimmers and shivers. It demands your attention and intention. In the 10 years since the album’s release, its grip on the music industry has only gotten tighter. The bruised bravado of Take Care cast Drake as a character and caricature, an enthralling figure you couldn’t help but follow, enabling his ascent to the record-obliterating king of streaming. The record sharpened and shaped both his sound and the sonic stylings of those who would imitate him, and rippled through the culture, becoming inextricable from Drake’s image and influence.

Critic after critic wrote at the time about how Drake wobbled between pop and rap. But it’s clearer now how he catalyzed, or continued, a path that would obliterate genre entirely. Without Drake, we wouldn’t get the wave of melodic SoundCloud rappers, the beat switch-happy blare of pop artists trying on rap and vice versa, Billie Eilish slipping through hip-hop aesthetics and electropop blazes, Taylor Swift sluicing from country to Max Martin-powered pop to muted indie albums. Drake cracked open the conceit of clearly defined genre on Take Care. There are brassy rap bangers here — “Headlines,” “Make Me Proud,” “HYFR” —  but there’s also a stretch of slower songs in the album’s final third that showcases Drake’s singing. Nothing was mutually exclusive in Drake’s world: He could be bracing and brazen and broken, crooning and spitting, drenched in gold on the cover of his album but wallowing in his head, drinking to his accomplishments and wailing about how they would never be enough. “We threw a party, yeah we threw a party,” he brags on “Marvins Room,” sounding smug and self-satisfied, only to beg the woman on the other end of the phone seconds later: “Talk to me please, don’t have much to believe in.”

The production on the album fueled these contradictions; the glimmering beats and smeared synths imbued a sense of tragedy that underpinned even the more buoyant tracks, like “We’ll Be Fine” and “Under Ground Kings.” Drake could sound exhausted by his nascent fame even as he was bragging about it, and the sludgy pulse of drums and lush, dark beats seemed like clues, foreshadowing the sadness he conveys. Noah “40” Shebib remained Drake’s primary producer and collaborator, and the sonic palette he honed on Drake’s earlier records and perfected on Take Care has radiated through music: the humid electro-beats of Lorde’s first album, the flecks of trap under Ariana Grande’s darker songs, the subtle shuffle of synths and drums in songs by SZA, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott.

There’s so much ache slipped into these songs, braided in and bristling. Drake will never be a paradigm of subverting misogyny, but his songs did challenge ideas about masculinity. “I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they trying to push me / I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy,” he raps on “Lord Knows.” At his best, Drake unspools his stream of consciousness. He focuses on the intricacy of his intimacy. Only in the mercurial, mesmerizing soundscape of Take Care can a song like “Marvins Room” creep in and stun you — the tactile weight of Drake’s vulnerability, the sting in his voice. He sounds sick of himself. He stares straight at you.

And yet he also spends so much of the album conspicuously constructing his legacy, aligning himself with allies while staking out his place on a pantheon of rap titans: Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Birdman, André 3000. “Shot For Me” is ostensibly about Drake’s desire to haunt a woman, how desperate he is to prove that he’s shaped her — how she walks and talks, how she does her hair, “And that voice in your speaker,” he croons, “that’s me.” Maybe he suspected then the impact he would have on music as a whole. You can’t thumb through a New Music Friday playlist without hearing little snippets of Drake everywhere, the gliding vocals, the smeared beats, and the carefully calibrated sadness, soaked in enough charm to wring all out all the self-pity.

Drake knew what he could get away with. In his later music, he would test the limits more, sounding bored of his predictable success. “I got more slaps than the Beatles,” he bragged on a Meek Mill collab, before getting a tattoo of the band to commemorate breaking their chart records. (Drake beat his own record earlier this year for the most simultaneous top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.) He glided around a vacant, frosted mansion to promote “Tootsie Slide” last year, a track primed for TikTok; he fumbled at an acknowledgment of… something with “Girls Want Girls” from his latest album, Certified Lover Boy, calling himself a lesbian with no discernible sense of irony. He could also get petty, cruel, and malicious. He collaborated with Chris Brown after pronouncing his love for Rihanna over and over again, and he meandered his way through beef after beef with Meek Mill, Pusha T, Kanye West, and others. But he did all this because Take Care enabled that level of unimpeachable success; we’re stuck with Drake and his undeniable influence.

One of the best songs on Take Care isn’t even officially on the record. It’s a bonus track dropped from most streaming services, an iTunes exclusive left over from a time when that kind of deal could make sense. “Hate Sleeping Alone” is sumptuous and sensory, with Drake caroling confessions over a slinky spatter of beats. The song, and its exclusion from the most widely consumed version of the album, highlights just how good Drake was at his creative peak, how even a seemingly tossed-off track could sink into you. Drake knew he was crafting a record that could impale you, soundtrack your parties and weekends and hangovers, crash into you at the club, and comfort you in the haze of the cab ride home. “I live for this,” he sang on “Headlines,” humming over the surging beats, and that desperation radiated throughout the record. Take Care was a point when Drake needed music more than the industry needed him. His music was vivid because it was vital.

2021 MTV EMA Winners: See The Full List

The 2021 MTV EMA, as ever, promised to an affair to remember. With performances by Ed Sheeran, Maluma, Yungblud, Kim Petras, and more, and none other than Saweetie taking MC duties as host, the yearly celebration was made even better by the news that five young LGBTQ+ activists would receive the MTV EMA Generation Change Award. And that’s not even all.

Justin Bieber led the nominations heading into the show, with a grand total of eight, including Best Artist, Best Pop, and two different nods in the Best Song category. But fellow pop heavy hitters Doja Cat and Lil Nas X followed right behind him with six each. Meanwhile, Olivia Rodrigo, The Kid Laroi, and former EMA host Sheeran all earned five nominations.

This is all to say: The nominations field in 2021 was absolutely stacked, the competition was quite fierce, and nothing was certain in terms of outcomes. That gives this year’s winners, all listed below, something big to celebrate.

Find the complete list of EMA winners below, and explore more from the show at

Best Artist

WINNER: Ed Sheeran

Doja Cat

Justin Bieber

Lady Gaga

Lil Nas X

The Weeknd

Best Pop


Doja Cat

Dua Lipa

Ed Sheeran

Justin Bieber

Olivia Rodrigo

Best Song

WINNER: Ed Sheeran: “Bad Habits”

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Justin Bieber: “Peaches” ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Olivia Rodrigo: “Drivers License”

The Kid Laroi, Justin Bieber: “STAY”

Best Video

WINNER: Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Ed Sheeran: “Bad Habits”

Justin Bieber: “Peaches” ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon

Normani ft. Cardi B: “Wild Side”

Taylor Swift: “Willow”

Best Collaboration

WINNER: Doja Cat ft. SZA: “Kiss Me More”

Black Eyed Peas, Shakira: “Girl Like Me”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic: “Leave the Door Open”

Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow: “INDUSTRY BABY”

The Kid Laroi, Justin Bieber: “Stay”

The Weeknd & Ariana Grande: “Save Your Tears (Remix)”

Best New

WINNER: Saweetie



Olivia Rodrigo

Rauw Alejandro

The Kid Laroi

Best Electronic

WINNER: David Guetta

Calvin Harris

Joel Corry



Swedish House Mafia

Best Rock

WINNER: Måneskin


Foo Fighters

Imagine Dragons

Kings Of Leon

The Killers

Best Alternative

WINNER: Yungblud



Machine Gun Kelly

Twenty One Pilots


Best Latin

WINNER: Maluma

Bad Bunny

J. Balvin

Rauw Alejandro



Best Hip Hop

WINNER: Nicki Minaj

Cardi B

DJ Khaled


Kanye West

Megan Thee Stallion

Best K-Pop



Monsta X

NCT 127



Best Group


Imagine Dragons

Jonas Brothers

Little Mix


Silk Sonic

Best Push



Girl in Red


JC Stewart



Madison Beer

Olivia Rodrigo

Remi Wolf

Saint Jhn

The Kid Laroi

Biggest Fans


Ariana Grande


Justin Bieber

Lady Gaga

Taylor Swift

Video for Good

WINNER: Billie Eilish: “Your Power”

Demi Lovato: “Dancing With The Devil”

Girl in Red: “Serotonin”

H.E.R.: “Fight For You”

Harry Styles: “Treat People With Kindness”

Lil Nas X: “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Best U.S. Act

WINNER: Taylor Swift

Ariana Grande

Doja Cat

Lil Nas X

Olivia Rodrigo

Generation Change Award

WINNERS: Amir Ashour, Matthew Blaise, Sage Dolan-Sandrino, Erika Hilton, and Viktória Radványi