This Drake Playlist Is Basically Fan Fiction Come To Life

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images.
We're going to assume that you're 90% emotionally recovered from the "Hotline Bling" video. So, you're ready for the next interesting way to celebrate Drake.

Enter: Tea & Drake, a playlist that finally understands your (entirely fictional) relationship with Drizzy. The curated mix comes from Google Play Music — which is like Spotify, but aims to be more intuitive. Where Spotify gives you playlists in broad strokes like "studying" or "chilling out," Google Play Music hits you with specifics. That's why it boasts such collections as Looking at Pictures of Your Ex, Girl Hold My Earrings, and Cowgirl Kiss-Offs.

So, Tea & Drake is pretty much exactly the situation it sounds like. "Drake pours a cup of Earl Grey for you," reads the playlist's description. "You hold the cup close, blow aside the rising steam. 'How did it come to this?' He nods. He struggles with the same demons. At least there is this: tea and Drake, a chance to collect yourself before taking on the night."

It's like Google was peering inside your brain, heart, and text messages. The force behind Tea & Drake is Dev Purkayastha, an engineer for Google Play Music.

It all started when Google's team of ethnomusicologists were looking for feedback on a playlist called Tea & Me. "I joked that we should make a Drake version about being sad and thinking about things," Purkayastha told me at Google headquarters in August. But then he found himself writing a description for the playlist itself, which he admits reads more like fan fiction.

Purkayastha started by listening to all of Drake's albums and adding tracks that felt perfect for the mood he struck in the description. Mainly, songs that were "contemplative, reflective, [and had] some regret and a bit of defiant optimism." Then he added similar artists, like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Kanye West.

In case you were wondering how qualified Purkayastha is to select these tracks, he assured me of his skills. "I was in a band for at least four months," he said jokingly. "We had 20 people at our biggest show." Okay, so he actually had Google ethnomusicologists help him fill in the gaps. Whatever.

So, how did he decide that Drake drinks Earl Grey? "I don’t think Drake drinks only Earl Grey," Purkayastha explained. "If you’re going out later, but you need something with a little edge to it, that’s Earl Grey... It’s not Lipton. Drake’s not gonna be brewing Lipton. Let’s be real."

Purkayastha obviously gets Drake on a special level. Still, I had to ask if he had any playlists planned for the rapper's more obscure moments. Say, a soundtrack for the unlikely event that Drake and Nicki Minaj pick you up and take you shopping for snacks? “I’m already on it. Shopping for snacks at midnight with Drake and Nicki? Yeah.”

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