Drake – Take Care
Released: 15 November 2011
Over My Dead Body: 3.75/5
Shot For Me: 3.5/5
Crew Love (feat The Weeknd): 4.5/5
Take Care (feat Rihanna): 3/5 (the bridge with Gil Scott Heron is awesome though)
Marvin’s Room/Buried Alive Interlude: 4.75/5
Underground Kings: 4.75/5
We’ll Be Fine (feat Birdman): 3.25/5
Make Me Proud (feat Nicki Minaj):2.75/5 (Nicki Minaj ruins this song)
Lord Knows (feat Rick Ross): 4.75/5
Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude (feat The Weeknd): 4.5/5 (this rating is subject to change)
Doing It Wrong (feat Stevie Wonder): 3.75/5
The Real Her (feat Lil Wayne & Andre 3000): 4.5/5
Look What You’ve Done: 4.25/5
HYFR (feat Lil Wayne): 4.5/5
The Ride (feat The Weeknd): 5/5
“My only wish is that I die real” – Drake
There’s something different about Drake on Take Care. Sure, he keeps the same formula, low-pass filter beats, 40 beats (as well as some industry notables such as Lex Luger and Just Blaze). He’s still singing. He’s still bragging and rapping in his signature high-pitch. But something is definitely different – his demeanor.
In Thank Me Later and So Far Gone, we hear a grateful Drake, thankful to be in the position that he’s at. We also hear Young Money influences all throughout, perhaps it’s him paying homage to Wayne. On Take Care however, he’s rather vindictive. Even though he’s kept the same flavor, this album feels more aggressive. From the shots (seemingly) thrown at Big Sean on Over My Dead Body to him (uncharacteristically) defending his style of music on Lord Knows, Drake clearly had a different mindset going into this album. This is also evidenced by the fact that he’s without a doubt cursing more on this album, and not to add affect or emphasis, he’s just using swear words more loosely, especially the word “bitch”, which used to be a word that he rarely used. There’s more of a “I DON’T GIVE A ****” attitude here and you can view it as a good or bad thing, but personally, I like it. The guy who once said “Diss me and you’ll never hear a reply for it” is now putting his guards up and firing shots back at those who fire shots at him. Hell, even in his interview with Funkmaster Flex, he subtly called Pusha T a bitch and now he’s welcoming any challenges/beefs. This is without a doubt a new Drake.
A new Drake, but the same formula that has seemed to be working since SFG, although I get more of a DJ Screw feel on the production on this – these beats feel slower, he’s been referencing Houston a lot, so maybe the influence has rubbed off here. The Screwed-Up production has worked for Drake in the past though (see his song November 18th), then you add in a more aggressive Drake and The Weeknd harmonizing throughout and you get near perfect songs like The Ride. The mesh works beautifully. Headlines captures Drake’s demeanor throughout this album pretty accurately, the first two bars are all you’d need to hear to see where Drake’s mind is at:
“I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence/
Started not to give a fuck and stopped fearing the consequence/”
To add more flavor and cockyness/confidence (however you look at it) Drake adds:
“Drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments/
Faded way too long, I’m floatin’ in and out of consciousness/
And they saying I’m back, I agree with that/
I just take my time with all this shit, I still believe in that/
I had someone tell me I fell off, ooh I needed that/”
Perhaps this change in attitude is due to the fact that Drake has been smoking and consuming more “lean” (as he details in his song “Trust Issues”). In the midst of the slowed down beats and braggadocio though, Drake does manage to stick to his SFG-roots with humbling songs like Marvin’s Room where he begs an ex-girlfriend to come back to him andDoing It Wrong where, before Stevie Wonder’s standout performance with the harmonica, Drake fights the feelings of whether to comfort an ex-girlfriend or move on. SFG-Drake is still here, it’s just that in between those tracks, we can hear a more aware Drake that seems to have lost regard for what people who are not in his circle think about him.
There is also less Young Money influence in this album. In Thank Me Later, Drake struggled to rap through songs as he tagged along with Wayne in using the “Supa Dupa Flow” (a perfect example of this is the song “Over”, a complete lyrical disaster where Drake sounds completely out of place). Although there are more features from Young Money artists here than on Thank Me Later, there is less of an influence in how the album sounds because of it – meaning you don’t hear a beat like “Fancy” (a beat that Drake himself said he wouldn’t normally rap on) and you don’t hear Drake trying to force punchlines. I get the feel that Drake had more control, if not complete control over this album. It sounds much more polished than Thank Me Later. Though you do hear some random features – one from Compton native Kendrick Lamar who raps the Buried Alive Interlude in which he uses death as a metaphor for fame and paints a vivid metaphorical image of his relationship with Drake (which can be dated back to The Kendrick Lamar EP where Kendrick took a slight shot at Drake on his song “Determined“, which Kendrick addresses). Another by Andre 3000 – but really, who’s complaining when Andre’s rapping?
Through and through this a very well put together, polished album. Drake clears his mind on this and gets some fitting production largely from his longtime friend 40 and producer T-Minus. There are a number of features, but none hurt the overall sequence of the album. Drake’s new ally The Weeknd also gets his shine on this album, credited for singing on/writing for and/or helped produce a total of 5 tracks on this album. You can say that this is his parallel to Frank Ocean on Watch The Throne – both of them were unknowns last year, now they’re on two of the biggest albums of 2011. But I digress, this is a very good album. It sounds to me like this is exactly what Drake wanted it to sound like, and it sounds great. I’d recommend it to current Drake fans and newcomers alike. Take care.