Best songs: Crew Love, Take Care, Look What You’ve Done, Marvins Room
Drake’s follow up to last year’s cash grab (Thank Me Later), Take Care has leaked a week before it hits stores next week (which is standard fare for most rap albums nowadays, with certain exceptions). What’s interesting this time around is that unlike last time, Drake doesn’t have a clear hit à la “Best I Ever Had” nor does he have the advantage of being the “shiny new kid on the block”. Having said that, he has delivered some heat this summer with “I”m On One” and “She Will”, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel the same. And I think I know why.
Drake is reacting to all the random hate he receives as well as to critics who said TML was drowned out in self-pity. Over the last year Drake’s been hit by disparaging twitter hashtags ranging from #drakeseyebrows to #thingssofterthandrake as well as constant jabs from rappers, radio personalites, and random thugs. On TML, Drake was almost taunting the hardcore circles with his “So what I’m soft I rap better than you and your girl loves when I sing to her” style. Case in point, his first official single was “Find Your Love”. As a result, the hardcore reacted and Drake become a punching bag for all things “gay”. He literally became the butt of all jokes, even though most people liked his music. For any man, let alone a rapper, this is not a good place to be in.
Drake grew a beard, let his hair grow out, presumably started drinking dirty sprite and smoking kush (because that’s what hardcore rappers do). He started to not give a fuck, because being the poster child for pussy rap can be a double edged sword (See: LL Cool J). But has Drake’s plan to quell naysayers backfired? Let’s hit the song breakdown.
1. Over My Dead Body
Drake starts the record with a very similar chord progression to TML’s Fireworks. The difference here is that Drake is rapping way better than he did on “Fireworks” and by better, I mean with way more cockiness and wit. He also has this veiled shout out to Canadian rock band These Kids Wear Crowns at the end of each each verse, which should excite certain circles. I won’t even get into Drake borrowing Kanye’s signature “ugh”.
Best line: “Do I got the kind shit the world want to hear again? Do Michael Jordan still got his hoop earring in?”
2. Shot For Me
The song transitions into a song that sounds a lot like something The Dream would do mixed with Drake’s So Far Gone “Houstatlantavegas”, except not as good. It almost seems like a parody of a Drake song, because the main draw in the hook “take a shot for me” doesn’t really have anything to do with the feeling of the song. Drake completes the record with a poem which makes me cringe a little, mostly because it sounds like that weird kid in high school reading aloud from a textbook.
The first single, which Drake claimed wasn’t the best song on the album, a statement which still holds weight. What I can say I enjoy about this record is the way it’s been mixed. By not putting in too many synths there is enough room to hear a well defined low-end: the kick has this clean snap to it, which allows the bass to breathe. Drake ends the record with another awkward poem.
Best line: “Soap opera rappers, all these niggas sound like All My Children.”
4. Crew Love ft. The Weeknd
Clearly the best song on the entire record and the funny thing is Drake’s verse seems tacked on. You’ll definitively catch yourself trying to sing “Cause they loving the crew”, but not nearly as well as The Weeknd.
Best line: “A whole lot of friends, first class flight from Poland.”
5. Take Care ft. Rihanna
Over a reworked Jamie XX beat, Drake and Rihanna take their shot against pop radio’s fascination with euro-dance with some Chicago style house. On first listen you might be confused, but give this a chance, I’m loving the mixing of the kick drum (not squashed to hell like typical radio stuff) and Rihanna’s performance alone may make this a record both financially and artistically massive.