Both loved and hated, there’s no denying that Drake is one of the most talked about rappers of today’s generation. So it’s no surprise to learn that his second album, Take Care, is the main topic of discussion amongst many fans, critics, and industry tastemakers alike, and even more so since the Big Ghostface Chronicles parody review of the album was released virally last week.
With many questioning whether Take Care is a rap or R&B album, this is something that has been dissected and deliberated over for the past week or so since its leak. With melodic instrumental arrangements that at times mimic something that Sade might croon over, there’s no denying the album’s crossover tendencies
With ‘Over My Dead Body’ kicking things off in a fashion similar to that of ‘Fireworks’, taken from Thank Me Later, a delicate piano riff acts as the perfect backdrop for Drake’s witty yet confident words to be heard at a pace easily digested by its listener. With the opening line being: “I think I killed everybody in the game last year, fuck it I was on one,” alerting you to his cocky demeanor from the offset, you’re immediately privy to how the Canadian emcee is feeling at present after a turbulent year going from Hip Hop high school freshman to full blown college graduate. Playing like a year long biography, the intricate look in to life as a 25-year-old high profile celebrity is both exciting and honest with many recite-worthy moments
While Drake has admitted that his debut LP had slight interference from label execs, he has gone on record to say that Take Care is 100% him. With that said, it would be fair to say that his track positioning skills still need a bit of work. While songs like ‘Doing It Wrong’, which features a harmonica accompaniment from Stevie Wonder, and ‘Shot For Me’ are great songs in their own right, even if they are on a more R&B tinged tip, their odd placement in between some heavily rap associated records sends the flow AWOL
With the Rihanna featured title track getting a lot of flack for its House-inspired backdrop, you have to question why? Amongst today’s array of mundane club hits that lack substance and delivery, ‘Take Care’ is actually a musically attractive song with major rewind capabilities that could work in clubs all over the world. The piano break paints a picture of exotic nightlife and free spirit amongst a heightened state of emotional realization. Drake’s not afraid to push the boundaries of creativity and it’s what makes him such an easy target. Another track that pushes the envelope is ‘Crew Love’. Featuring up-and-coming crooner The Weeknd, the non-conforming instrumental, which has polar opposite syndrome, thanks to its heavy duty drum introduction at odd moments and then atmospherically steady synths and finger snaps, is a definite highlight
The Just Blaze produced ‘Lord Knows’ is a banger of epic proportions, but the moment Drake really comes to life is on the UGK inspired ‘Underground Kings’. Fast-paced, lyrically faultless, it’s like a coming-of-age moment for the young emcee. A hard slice of production to ride to with some expansive wordplay, Drake gets his grown man on. Think ‘Unforgettable’, with Young Jeezy, but polished.
As a whole Take Care is a great collection of individual records. The track listing arrangement leaves a lot to be desired, and there are some hiccups in the form of ‘Practice’, a cover of the Juvenile track ‘Back That Azz Up’, and the unnecessary Nicki Minaj verse on ‘I’m So Proud Of You’ - “I’m a star, sheriff badge,” anyone? However, this is all a part of witnessing the growth of an artist who has a lot to offer. Not quite on par with Thank Me Later, Drake wears his heart on his sleeve. The haters will hate while the followers will embrace this side of their personality. You can’t please everyone. Newbies take note, Drake is still the one to watch. Take care.