Drake's "Worst Behavior" Was the Best Song of 2013

By Ernest Baker


We talk about Drake too much. It's hit critical mass and, like everyone else, I'm fatigued. How cool can you be if seemingly every opinion you have on music is centered around a guy who's the most oversaturated commodity in rap? It's like presenting yourself as a serious film buff and only wanting to talk about Fast and the Furious movies. The more I talk about Drake, the less relevant I feel myself becoming, but I still talk about Drake—a lot. I still give a shit about Drake. And as much fun as it is to examine his behavior and peaks and pitfalls, none of that has anything to do with why Drake matters to me. I think his songs are really good. That's it.

It's fucked up because it feels corny to say that. We get caught up in all this unnecessary shit when it comes to music and artists, to the point that it's not cool, or a problem, to just be a fan. All of this speculating about endorsements and rumors and beef is the actual corny shit. The last bit of authenticity left is caring about the music and I cared about no song this year more than Nothing Was The Same’s “Worst Behavior.”

I've struggled with this because for the longest I was saying that Kanye’s Yeezus cut “New Slaves” was the best song of the year. I still I want it to be, and for a while it was, but it's going to have to settle for No. 2. This is difficult to reconcile because, in some ways, “New Slaves” is better. It bangs harder. The content is crazier. It's revolutionary. No one has said things like that in rap before. Even Public Enemy was more on-the-nose with their militancy, and didn’t typically employ the tongue-in-cheek brilliance of lines like, “They throwing contracts at me/You know that niggas can't read.” Kanye outdid himself, but at the end of the day, “New Slaves” did little more than make me scream really loud in my car and get depressed about race. “Worst Behavior” did that and so much more and it's that range of emotions that gives it the edge for me.

I fucking cried to “Worst Behavior.” Multiple times. It reminds me of things I’m pissed off about from the past. It’s given me support when I’ve been unhappy in the present. It makes me want more out of the future. In the same breath, “Worst Behavior” has inspired some of my, well, worst behavior. The DJ cut off the third verse at my birthday celebration and I was filled with such an unbelievable amount of rage that I truly could've have slit his throat on the spot. In general, “Worst Behavior” makes me want to murder people, and, songs just don't make you feel that way very often. When they do, they're exceedingly special.

Samantha Ronson DJ’d my company's holiday party and as the night was closing, I still hadn’t heard “Worst Behavior.” I tweeted her that if she didn’t play it, I was going kill myself. If I wasn't able to rectify the situation by playing it in the car on the way home, I probably would have. There comes a point when enough drinks have induced enough feelings and you want nothing more than to hear a song that consolidates the strife of all the bullshit you've been through and the prescience of all the great shit you're going to do. It's the reason why "Worst Behavior" is the song I brought in my 25th birthday with, with family, before I partied with friends later that week and almost killed the DJ. “Worst Behavior” is just an inescapable, strongly recurring theme and motif in my life at this point, and it’s had a real, tangible impact on my existence.

I've probably screamed, “REMEMBER? MOTHERFUCKER!” louder and more frequently than anyone in human history, but every time “Worst Behavior” comes on around other people, I see it inspire the same reaction in them. I wasn’t the only one ready to kill the DJ when he cut it off early that night, you know? One time I asked Twitter, “Why is ‘Worst Behavior’ the greatest song of all time?” and got the incredible response of, "Because motherfuckers really never loved us." This song somehow captures the loneliness and longing for acceptance that we all experience, and brings us all together as a result.

"Worst Behavior” is punk rock. It's organic youth rebellion. It’s gotten to point where kids just know that I’m obsessed with this song and reach out to me with their most creative jokes about it, and sometimes they’re about God and sometimes they’re about sports. Life truly has not been the same since this song dropped. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you scream. It's the realest shit committed to audio in recent memory and that's why I still give a shit about Drake. I don't give a fuck about anything else that has to do with him.

Because of this song, I had a lyric like, “I just ask for some blessings at my grandmother’s grave/Then it’s back to LA/Open the mail, staring at the check” to relate to when I had to go home to Chicago because a family member died. I asked for blessings, too, and when I came back to Los Angeles, there was a freelance check waiting in the mail, and I opened it, and I stared at it. That shit is creepy, but it’s moments like that explain why you can never take that appreciation for this song away from me. Drake depicts these genuine human moments on this large scale that's uncannily empathetic.

"Worst Behavior” makes me reflect on my growth. It makes me want to fuck up everyone and all competition. I literally drive an Acura, like Drake did when he used to go and shoot Degrassi up on Morningside. For some reason with this song, it’s like pure reality raps for me. Loving “Worst Behavior” isn’t about loving Drake. He says, “Back and forth across the borderline/Hate to leave the city, but I gotta do the overtime” when I’m at a point in my life I where I travel to New York City every few weeks because I left all my friends there, and I do hate to leave the city, but I always have to come back to LA to get this work. But then he’s like, “I should let you know ahead, I’m coming back on my worst behavior,” and that blows my mind because I’m moving back to NYC in a couple of weeks.

This song gives a sound to specific feelings that myself and so many others experience, and that’s what you have to look at and value. Stop being unnecessarily analytical about this music shit. You can't argue with emotion. How does it make you feel? Like Nietzsche said, “Without music life would be a mistake,” and I think of that every time I put on “Worst Behavior” and it strikes a chord. Fuck describing instrumentation or cadence or any of that. I’d rather think about how I want “Worst Behavior” played at my funeral and the irony of “motherfuckers never loved us” blasting as my loved ones mourn my death. I'm completely serious.

“Worst Behavior” is at once a confessional and a resolution. The first 16 seconds sound like the Millennium Falcon gearing up for hyperdrive as if to prepare you for the event that follows. It’s an audible transition from turmoil to triumph. It’s more than music, but there couldn’t be a more effective medium to so succinctly communicate this brand of anxiety and desperation, and at the end, survival and perseverance. That's all I want—something I can identify with that helps me crawl out of this daily existential crisis. For four minutes and 30 seconds, “Worst Behavior” gives that to me every single time. That's why it's the best song of 2013.


Ernest Baker expects his money when he comes back for that shit like O.D.B. He's on Twitter - @ernestbaker