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November 16th, 2011
Need to Know: Toronto-born and raised Aubrey Graham, also known as Drake, has had one of the most notable rises to fame in recent years. Though his first two mixtapes founded his intense following, including mentor Lil’ Wayne, it was 2009’s So Far Gone that gained the respect of critics, the industry, and mainstream audiences. In between touring, songwriting and contributing hooks for some of the biggest names in music, Drake signed to Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. His subsequent 2010 debut, Thank Me Later, showcased Drake’s ability to appeal to both the underground and commercial fans, spawning hits like Over and Fancy and reaching platinum status. Although Drizzy remained present in the industry in 2011, with contributions to tracks by Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Jamie Foxx, DJ Khaled and Lil’ Wayne, he moved away from promoting Thank Me Later in favour of working on his follow up and has remained fairly mum on the details. There’s been a growing thirst for more work from the Canada native, especially after various leaked tracks from the sophomore sessions during the summer, making Take Care one of the most anticipated records of the year.
In 100 Words or So: It is extremely satisfying to see an artist come full circle, especially when they return to the elements that made them great, while simultaneously enhancing them with the lessons learned from the journey, which is exactly what Take Care is all about. Lyrically, the themes of the endless pursuit of greatness and the accompanying challenges of money, women, fame and haters are fairly familiar. This time around, however, there is a notable confidence and pride in himself, his music, and the OVOXO crew, all of which contribute to the bolder claims and more honest revelations, as well as a stronger sense of artistry found on the record. Noah ‘40’ Shebib’s perfected dark slow-to-mid tempo production, along with vocals contributed by Chantel Kreviazuk, Rihanna, and The Weeknd, is key to experiencing the worldliness of Take Care. Verses from Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne, and Andre 3000 do not overshadow, but instead reinforce Drake’s Rap-R&B narrative, one which is so strong that it carries the entire album at an even, unified pace, ensuring that every track delivers. While Thank Me Later proved that Drake had a place in the game, Take Care solidifies his ability to expand it further, making him a far more significant player than anyone may have anticipated.
Best Tracks: Take Care, Crew Love, Underground Kings, HYFR, Marvin’s Room, Make Me Proud, Lord Knows
RIYL: J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi
Buy, Download, Steal or Don’t Bother: Buy, Buy, BUY!Tweet