(estimated read time: 6 minutes)
What does “Fake Love” by Drake mean?
So, I hadn’t known Drake released music earlier this week, but he did release two songs–“Fake Love” and “Sneakin’.” Drake can sometimes be a fairly thoughtful artists, and “Fake Love” does provide us with an interesting story and situation to think about. The song is low key rap and somewhat R&B hip-hop that recalls his style in songs like “One Dance” or “Hotline Bling.” “Fake Love” is about people pretending to be his friend because they want to use him and to be better than him, and there’s a lot that goes into making that meaning happen.
In the first stanza of “Fake Love,” Drake quickly introduces the topic of the song, explaining that people are faking friendship with him because they (presumably) want something out of him. He sings, “I’ve been down so long it look like up to me.” He’s saying that he’s been “down” (or depressed or not doing well in general) that even “down” looks like being “up” (or happy and doing well) to him.
What’s got him feeling down? It’s “fake people” who “look up to” him but who are “showin'” fake love to” him. He’s aware of the fake interest people are showing him just because they’re interested in his career or what he can do for them because he’s rich and famous. He’s especially offended by the fact that they show this “fake love” “straight up to my face.” They’re bold and unapologetic, something that really bothers him.
In the first verse of “Fake Love,” Drake sings, “Something ain’t right when we talkin’ / Look like you hidin’ your problems.” This other person has problems but is trying to avoid discussion of them perhaps to impress Drake. But Drake doesn’t miss it, and he sings, “Really you never was solid.” He knows the person is unreliable and possibly in a bad situation that might be drawing him/her to want to take advantage of Drake.
When the person tries to be friends with Drake, Drake replies, “No, you can’t sign me / You won’t never get to run me” to say that the person can’t be on familiar grounds with him or work with him. Drake is maybe singing to record labels who want to make money on him as they try to manipulate him into signing a deal with them.
Drake takes a second to brag on himself when he sings, “Just when shit look out of reach / I reach back line one, three.” He’s often successful, and other people recognize this and want to use it for their own gain.
Drake continues “Fake Love” by singing, “That’s when they smile in my face / Whole time they wanna take my place.” These other singers or wannabe-famous-people are pretending to be Drake’s friends while wanting to replace him. Drake tells them, “I can tell that love is fake / I don’t trust a word you say.” He refuses the other person’s desire to “clique up after [his/her] mistakes.” The person hurt Drake but wants to be friends with him now that Drake is famous, but Drake doesn’t want to be “best friends” again. He looks that person “in the face, and it’s just not the same.”
In the final unique stanza of “Fake Love,” Drake sings, “Yeah, straight up to my face, tryna play it safe / Vibe switch like night and day” to further emphasize the person’s manipulation and pretense. The “[v]ibe switch” refers to the difference between who the person really is and who he/she pretends to be for Drake.
And Drake’s seen it. He sings, “I can see it, like, right away / I came up, you changed up / I caught that whole play / Since then, things never been the same.” He caught the other person in dishonesty, so he knows that all of that person’s offers of friendship are just ploys.
Deeper Thoughts on “Fake Love” by Drake
I think “Fake Love” by Drake is an awesome song that touches on a real and terrible aspect of human life, especially human life for a person who has achieved a little bit of success. Drake’s been quite successful in his musical career, and he’s beginning to feel the pressure of those who care more about his fame than about him.
And he can smell that coming from these people, but he’s not a jerk about it like you might expect some people to be. “Fake Love” is a slow, methodical song with an introspective beat and a repeating tag line of “straight up to my face” that suggests surprise rather than hate or anger. He doesn’t like the lying, and he’s letting us know about how he became aware of it, not dissing or fighting back against these people.
As for the relationship itself, Drake is more tired of it rather than ready to end it. Maybe he knows that it’ll have to continue, but he’s aware of what’s going on and wants others to be more real with him.
Every once in a while, I hear stories about pop stars or other famous people who hold tightly to relationships from high school because those people were friends with them before the star became famous. They know those relationships were real, and they want more of that. I think in “Fake Love” Drake is giving one reason for why stars do that: they want to avoid people who “fake love” just for the sake of pushing themselves forward. He wants to avoid the lying and get to something real.
Thanks for reading! I’m a college English instructor, university writing center director, and online entrepreneur (college for under $15k, anyone?) who cares deeply about TRUTH and MEANING. I’m married to the gloriously beautiful Wife April and love to swing dance and juggle.