Yikes. I ranked the original “Lemon” as the seventh best single of 2017, a remix wasn’t necessary at all. Alas, on the night of OVO Sound Radio’s return, Pharrell debuted this new remix featuring current chart king, Drake.
Drake has been on a hot streak of sorts in 2018. His anthemic “God’s Plan” is currently sitting at #1 for an eighth consecutive week, the video for his Migos collab, “Walk It Talk It,” is going viral, and his track with BlocBoy JB, “Look ALive,” is a smash hit in its own right. Although this remix was a surprise, Drake’s name comes with expectations of either a digestible and catchy verse or a verse that indisputably great. “Lemon” is neither.
Pharrell’s production of “Lemon” is a stuttering hodgepodge of sounds that somehow is eternally funky. It’s clearly a difficult instrumental to rap over, and I’m sure it took Pharrell and Rihanna multiple takes to find their pockets and perfect their flows. That being said, the original vocalists on “Lemon” nailed their verses, they let the beat take the lead and they coasted over the track. Conversely, Drake sounds scared of the beat; his bars are weak and his mediocre delivery only magnifies that fact. Drake’s delivery is almost too smooth for such an aggressive instrumental. Pharrell and Rihanna have a majestic swagger in their voices that Drake, unfortunately, lacks on this track.
“Lemon” is still a stellar song, just one needlessly spoiled with a lackluster remix.