New release separates Drake from bunch
‚ÄúNo Church in the Wild‚ÄĚ coldly set the bombastic tone for Jay-Z and Kanye West‚Äôs Watch the Throne. The ‚ÄúIntro‚ÄĚ to Lil Wayne‚Äôs Tha Carter IV reminded everyone just how unhinged the Louisiana native still was despite his cleaner post-jail image. Even J. Cole‚Äôs ‚ÄúIntro‚ÄĚ on Cole World: A Sideline Story gave the sense that we were about to hear the deepest recesses in the mind of one of hip-hop‚Äôs brightest young stars.
Opening tracks, especially those on hip-hop albums, should give a sense of where the artist is stylistically and offer the ultimate sneak peak at the rest of the album. The biggest and brightest in hip-hop have certainly not forgotten.
So when the Noah ‚Äú40‚ÄĚ Shebib-produced piano keys start tingling on ‚ÄúOver My Dead Body,‚ÄĚ the opening track to Drake‚Äôs newest effort Take Care, and insecurity and arrogance starts pouring out all at the same time, it‚Äôs reassuring to know Aubrey ‚ÄúDrake‚ÄĚ Graham hasn‚Äôt left his comfort zone ‚ÄĒ one he has mastered all by himself and has now surely turned into another hit album.
The Toronto-born, Young Money, Cash Money-bred Drake has never been afraid to spill his feelings, positive or negative, on a track, and Take Care is full of the 25-year-old‚Äôs recollections and crooning ‚ÄĒ never more apparent than on the promotional single that turned into an album mainstay, ‚ÄúMarvin‚Äôs Room.‚ÄĚ
Taking the time out of his champagne lifestyle to call a former girlfriend, Drake admits The woman that I would try is happy with a good guy / But I‚Äôve been drinking so much that I‚Äômma call her anyway. What other rapper has the gall to, first, admit that he‚Äôs not the best for someone, and, then, drunk dial the one that got away? Rick Ross is certainly not on the other end of that line.
‚ÄúTake Care,‚ÄĚ downbeat dance floor music that has hit single written all over it, serves as an effective follow-up collaboration to ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs My Name?‚ÄĚ between the alleged dating duo of Rihanna and Drake. It‚Äôs about meeting someone at just the wrong time in life; while Rihanna belts out If you let me, here‚Äôs what I‚Äôll do / I‚Äôll take care of you, Drake hits deep with lines such as, My only wish is I die real / Cause that truth hurts and those lies heal.
Lex Luger takes a break from giving church bells the trap music treatment for Waka Flocka Flame and Rick Ross to provide Take Care with ‚ÄúCameras (Good Ones Go),‚ÄĚ an unusual track about the facade photographs create of Drake‚Äôs public persona.
All of the emotion and deeply rooted passion is not to intimate Drake didn‚Äôt hit some of those essential pompous keynotes every rap album needs. Though many of the classically crooning Drake cuts on Take Care run 40‚Äôs name as the top-billed producer, other producers provided the beats for some of the album‚Äôs more up-tempo and enjoyable flows.
Long-time Drake collaborator Boi-1da‚Äôs first appearance on Take Care and the album‚Äôs first official single, ‚ÄúHeadlines,‚ÄĚ is pervasive, radio-friendly pop rap that has already proven its surprising staying power.
Producer Just Blaze (all three Jay-Z Blueprint albums) offers the chance for Ross to provide a few classic grunts and his Teflon-don flow on ‚ÄúLord Knows,‚ÄĚ but it‚Äôs here that Drake shines brightest as a pure rapper, delivery on fire, well out-strutting the hottest name in hip-hop. But it‚Äôs incongruity.
Drake is not interested in being Ross, Lil Wayne or Busta Rhymes. Whereas teaming with Wayne and Nicki Minaj has made Drake a household name, his collaborations with Wayne (‚ÄúHell Yeah F–kin‚Äô Right‚ÄĚ) and Minaj (‚ÄúMake Me Proud‚ÄĚ) this time are relatively low points on the album, as the Young Money Cash Money team just doesn‚Äôt seem on the same level as¬† Drake.
The collaboration that does stand out here, then, is an unspoken one. Stevie Wonder provides a harmonica solo at the end of what must be the crowning achievement in the pathos of the 80-minute Take Care in ‚ÄúDoing it Wrong.‚ÄĚ
We live in a generation of not being in love, and not being together / But we sure make it feel like we‚Äôre together, Drake croons.