Drake and British rapper Headie One dropped “Only You Freestyle
” earlier this week — and, like all Drizzy’s records, it immediately went viral. But a few lines in particular stuck out.
It started off simple enough, with Drake alluding to an Arab woman telling him that he has very Middle Eastern features
: “Arabic ting told me that I look like Youssef, look like Hamza.”
But then the Grammy Award-winning artist started spitting rhymes in Arabic. “Habibti please! Ana akeed, inti wa ana ahla.”
That basically translates to: “My love, please. I’m certain you and I look better together.”
Keeping with the Middle Eastern theme, he then name-drops Gaza — but not the Palestinian territory. Rather, a neighborhood nicknamed Gaza in the Jamaican town of Portmore, which is renowned for its dancehall scene.
Curious fans instantly hopped on Twitter and Instagram to ask about the lines, which Arabic speakers were happy to translate. Some even poked fun of Drake for his mispronunciations
Of course, the memes were relentless. One joked that Drake only learned Arabic words to impress fellow artist and speculative crush Rihanna, who had previously dated a Saudi billionaire
But it’s not the first time that Drake has laced his lyrics with Arabic.
In his 2017 song “Portland
,” featuring Quavo and Travis Scott, Drake again used the term “habibi” (my love). One year later, he dropped “Diplomatic Immunity
,” in which he says “Insha’Allah” (God willing).
Where Drake is picking up his Arabic is anybody’s guess. It could be from his friends, including OVO Sound co-founders Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. Or even his musical collaborations with Arabic-speaking artists like French Montana
and DJ Khaled
Then again, Drake is an international star with fans all over the Middle East — so why not rap in Arabic? Akeed, it’s a good thing.