Dear Drake,

Whenever your name comes up in conversation, no matter who I’m talking to — male or female, Black or White, gay or straight — inevitably, someone always ends up saying:

“Drake’s a bitch.”

I never really thought much of it, but when I heard it casually slip from the lips of one of the most intelligent people I know, I immediately began to question it. “Why is Drake a bitch?” I asked this person, seriously wanting to know, because I don’t understand why that has become your new nickname. After listening to this person essentially explain how inauthentic you are, I immediately thought, “No, that’s not it.”

That couldn’t be it. If you’re inauthentic, then so is every other popular hip hop artist in the game right now. Jay Z raps about selling drugs. Is he out there still hustling? No. Lil’ Wayne talks about the feds and killing people. Think he’s out there still murking folks? No. You’re all storytellers. You tell the stories of your lives, past and present. The only difference between you and a Jeezy or a Weezy is that your stories are pretty average. They’re relatable to people who haven’t partaken in criminal activity, and in a lot of ways, more authentic than the hood dudes’ stories.

You talk about women, and sometimes in the typical misogynistic way that most rappers do, but mostly, you keep harping on this one chick up in Toronto that things just didn’t go right with. You get all emo about her. You start to veer into Usher/Trey Songz/vintage Keith Sweat territory — talking about how heartbroken you are, and how you wish things were different.

This is the real issue with you, Drake. As a male rapper, you’ve publicly, and regularly, admitted that you (gasp) care about a woman, that you miss her, that you long for her. You don’t just want to have sex with her. You love her. You’ve broken the decades-old code in hip-hop that clearly says: ”Unless your name is LL Cool J, women are to only be objectified, not dignified, by their male counterparts.” You’re honest. And as real as the thug rappers claim they keep it, they’ll never keep it as real as you do when it comes to discussing emotion. They can pretend all they want, but they’ve loved somebody, somewhere at some point in time, dammit. But you’re the only one who’s wiling to speak somewhat truthfully about it.

The dominant image of Black male masculinity portrayed in the media is comically inaccurate. We don’t cry. We don’t care. We don’t love. We’re one-dimensional he-men, handling everything with our muscles, our guns or our penises. From birth, we’re taught that expressing emotion is a sign of weakness, and we’re quick to mock any brother that does.   Whether or not the stories about this girl are actually true, your music feels like a therapy session. And if channeling Keith Sweat’s begging helps keep you level and stress-free, by all means, continue doing you, sir.