Many of us stuck at home over the past few months have taken this time to cultivate new skills and it seems Drake may have followed suit, updating his multilingual mental dictionary with a new language: Arabic. Subtly showing off his linguistic knowledge in a recent collaboration with British rapper Headie One, Drake unexpectedly raps a part of the Only You Freestyle in Arabic to the surprise of fans not only in the Middle East but also all around the world.
“Arabic ting told me that I look like Youssef, look like Hamza,” starts off the Candian artist in his opening verse, alluding to the common yet inaccurate assumption that he is from the region, before slyly dropping: “Habibti please, ana akeed, enti w ana ahla”, which translates to “My love, please, I’m sure, you and I look better together”.
While Drake is known for writing lyrics that quickly become memorable pop culture references, from the infamous “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry” to the recent “left foot slide” Tik-Tok trend, the Grammy award-winning artist is no stranger to sprinkling a few Arabic words and phrases in previous tracks over the years. Longtime “Team Drizzy” members may remember his “this is a blessing mashallah wallahi” line in the 2015 “Sweeterman” remix as well as his use of “habibi” and “InshAllah” in his songs “Portland” and “Diplomatic Immunity” respectively. This is also not the first time Drake has pointed out his typically Arab features, humorously writing in an Instagram post that HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum is his “long lost brother” on a photo of the two of them from his unforgettable trip to Dubai back in 2015.
DJ Khaled was quick to share a snippet of Drake rapping in Arabic on his own personal page, filling the caption with a string of fire emojis. Teaming up with the Palestinian-American DJ once again, it’s been a busy week for the “One Dance” hitmaker, releasing two new songs with DJ Khaled—in addition to the aforementioned freestyle track—within the past few days. “Popstar” and “Greece” have already become number-one singles since their debut on July 17, following in the tracks of Drake’s 2020 hit mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes.