Published On November 18, 2011 | By Peter | Reviews
In Straight Fresh’s newest installment in our album review series, up next is “Take Care” by Drake. There is a clear division from everyone I’ve spoken to on how they felt about the album. Read more after the break to see how I felt about it. Mind you, I’m not Drake’s biggest fan in the world. If you feel the need to slander someone or share your opinion, @EscobarFreeman is the name.
It would be an understatement to say that “Take Care” by Drake is the most anticipated album of 2011. In the same year that Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and Eminem all dropped albums, I’d argue that the sophomore release by Drake is the biggest, or at least the most talked about, of the bunch. As one of the most popular artists in the genre, Drake has seen a large amount of his success this year through selected cameos on other artists’ hit records. Though he is still a relatively new artist compared to others, listeners and music fans all around the world have enough material to form an opinion on the rapper from Toronto.
Fans of Drake praise him for his song-writing ability and versatility through singing. Critics of Drake point to a wide array of emotions plaguing his tracks, to the point where it can barely be called rap anymore. I consider myself a proud member of the latter. Now, let’s get into the album.
Drake has built his career off of two main themes in his music. On one end, he constantly outlines his rise to success and fortunes, but also how lonely it is at the top both musically and socially. Ex-girlfriends and relationships of the past are prevalent staples of Drake’s catalog. I was foolish in thinking this second album would be anything other than those themes.
The album’s lead song, “Over My Dead Body” immediately states those two concepts in its opening bars. There are a number of songs that tell stories of Drake’s overly dramatic past relationships, which have mostly been with strippers or dancers.
At times, I felt like I was listening to the exact same song, just continued through the album on different production. “Shot For Me” is Drake’s personal “Yeezy Taught Me” moment. “Take Care,” “Marvin’s Room,” “Doing It Wrong” and “The Real Her” are all about reflecting upon different struggles in past relationships. One or two songs would have done justice, but this many is excessive. Given that this is all typically Drake, I was naive not to expect the elevated levels of emotions and crooning.
Thankfully, it’s not entirely a slow and dramatic R&B album. The songs “Underground Kings” and “We’ll Be Fine” both have a smooth bounce that provide for a more conventional hip-hop sound. One R&B inspired song that does impress is “Crew Love,” featuring The Weeknd, an esoteric and very talented artist. “HYFR” is next up in the long line of Drake and Lil Wayne collaborations. Drake does a magic trick at the beginning of this song. He manages to hide the actual content of the lyrics with a fluid and rapid delivery, masking more boring talk about his history of drunk text regrets, “and that’s when I text her and told her I love it, And right after texting, told her I’m faded.”
Inconsistency on this album left me puzzled. A soothing and heartfelt tribute to Drake’s mother and uncle is the focus of “Look What You’ve Done,” a side of Drake as a person that we haven’t necessarily seen before. On this same album, Drake ruined a classic Juvenile song by sucking the life out of “Back That A** Up” and calling it “Practice.” The clear highlight of this album was the Just Blaze produced “Lord Knows.” Everything Just Blaze touches turns to gold. This beat is theatrically breathtaking, and the Rick Ross feature makes it even better.
Interestingly enough, on “Lord Knows,” Drake said, “If all I hear is me then who should I be afraid of?” Drake has gone on record saying that he felt he was alone at the top, with no real competition (which also was the inspiration for the album cover). It’s ironic he said that because the two best verses on “Take Care” don’t come from Drake personally. Kendrick Lamar offers a gem on “Buried Alive” and Andre 3000 shows up Drake at his own style in “The Real Her”.
If this album was simply a group of instrumentals, I would easily give it a perfect rating. The music carries a story from track to track as if narrating a screenplay. Unfortunately, Drake interrupts this motion picture with tales that he has already told us on previous projects.
I don’t hate the album at all. I was just disappointed in the lack of progression as far as the content goes. Compared to his last release, “Thank Me Later,” it was almost the exact same story with a polished and more sophisticated sound. Since Drake is in the prime of his career, we should surely expect at least one more album. At this point, don’t expect anything different whenever that comes out.
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