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Drake’s “Toosie Slide” Is a Master Class in Marketing, but Nothing Else

His latest single has already sparked a TikTok dance craze, which appears to be its entire purpose

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

There’s a new Drake song in the world, which means we have no choice but to talk about it. But first, I’d like to talk about something else.

Tom King and Mitch Gerads’s Eisner Award–winning comic Mister Miracle is a long, deep, and occasionally funny psychological deep dive into the New Gods character, who’s both a general in an ongoing intergalactic conflict and a richly successful celebrity escape artist. He was also once the ransom paid to a despot—in a move to secure an ultimately fragile peace between New Genesis and the planet Apokolips, Scott’s dad, Highfather, traded sons with his most hated enemy, Darkseid. Darkseid is the malevolent force in the DC Universe, a red-eyed stone golem who funnels his considerable and deadly resources into a lifelong quest for the anti-life equation, a formula that mathematically proves the meaninglessness of hope, love, and freedom, and destroys free will.

The same phrase pops up throughout King and Gerads’s Miracle, often as Free drifts between reality and unreality, his mind creaking under untold levels of stress. Throughout the 12-issue run, it becomes shorthand for the weight of grief, the fog of depression, the profound silence of alienation. “Darkseid is.” It’s the answer to a question— “Who is the rock, the chain, the lightning? … Who is your new god now and forever?” It’s also a declarative statement about the supervillain’s everlasting nature: People live and die, planets can be decimated, galaxies are doomed to be swallowed by singularities, but still, Darkseid is. He is bigger, and more powerful, by several orders of magnitude, than the next biggest threat—so constant and fixed that his supremacy may as well be one of the laws of nature.

Drake is hardly so evil—though we should never forget that he allegedly planned to unveil his child alongside a sneaker release—but he feels just as permanent. As Lindsay Zoladz once wrote for this website, around the release of “God’s Plan,” a mediocre single that walked confidently to the no. 1 spot and stayed there for about 1,000 weeks, something about Drake’s success feels “by default.” His past half-decade has been a marketing masterwork, from the imminently GIFable “Hotline Bling” video, to the empowering “Nice for What” video, to befriending Ninja so he could seep into the world of esports, to ducking the Pusha T fade with a glitzy Degrassi reunion. He’s been in the same place conceptually for some time, and I have almost nothing else, critically, to offer about his actual work. He’s barely interesting to me, at this point, as a celebrity phenomenon. But I guess you could hand it to him, if you wanted to: There is genuine artistry in how he’s navigated a uniquely volatile industry for over a decade. In the Sun Tzu sense.

So of course, while we’re all stuck inside staring at our phones, with nothing to pass the time but DM chains and web challenges, he’d put out a TikTok dance.

“Toosie Slide” feels marginal in the same way “God’s Plan” did, and doubtlessly, it’ll also walk to no. 1. There’s airy, barely there OZ production, a modest bounce, and Drake sounding as dejected as anyone ever has while giving out instructions on how to do a dance. I was annoyed by the awkward syllabic balance of the hook—“basically I’m sayin either way we gon’ slide, can’tletthisoneslide”—but by the third listen, I’d obviously learned the melody. It’s a fine little radio-friendly ditty about doing the heel-toe and spraying up the block, and soon #toosieslidechallenge videos will be filling up your Instagram explore page if they haven’t already. Mountains may crumble into the sea, Amazon Fresh delivery spots can quickly become unavailable, and our nation’s infrastructure can go to pot in 21 days, but still, Drake is.