Friday, November 18, 2011

Drake – Take Care (2011) – Review

Drake – Take Care
For his sophomore effort, Drake made a much more atmospheric, musically cohesive album. Thank Me Later has better standalone singles. Take Care’s singles are strong too (Marvin’s Room, Headlines and Make Me Proud), but they serve the overall tone of the album. For the most part, this feels like a (drunken or ‘faded’) confession, as Drake explores his own sadness, hurt and loneness – both in growing up and in dealing with fame. There are hip hop boasts and hometown representing (par for the course), but the album is at its best when Drake digs deeper into his personal issues. There are also great moments when Drake references the music that influenced him (songs like Underground Kings and Practice). Drake has a very good flow and his sing-song style and singing works really well. It is clear that while Drake did not produce any of the tracks (though he is a co-producer on a few) he had a specific sound in mind when crafting Take Care. He works primarily with Toronto producer 40 (and a childhood friend) and T-Minus (also from Canada) – they produce on sixteen of the eighteen tracks. This gives Take Care a feel and sound that flows throughout (which is surprisingly rare in hip hop, even though most of the best albums have a distinctive and cohesive sound). Drake also has great guests and utilizes them well. Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Birdman from his YMCMB crew make appearances (but are probably the least interesting of the features – though Nicki Minaj gives a decent verse). The other guests include Rick Ross (on a great Just Blaze track), Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar (who is wonderful on the Buried Alive Interlude), and Andre 3000 (who drops one of the best verses on the album on The Real Her) – the latter three being the standouts. A minor issue with the album is that there are probably five too many songs (aka five weaker songs) that could have been left off, but overall Take Care is a strong effort and better than Thank Me Later. Drake two albums in (three if you count his So Far Gone EP or Mixtape) is already atop the game with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z and (sadly) Lil Wayne (because he is not that great anymore, most of his verses are just random gibberish these days – let us be honest with ourselves, Tha Carter IV was terrible, like a 2/5 at best, terrible for someone of his stature in the industry, but seemingly everyone still bought it, so I guess we can expect more less than efforts from him in the future) – and this is the kind of album you expect from an artist of his quality and standing in the game. 4/5

Editor’s Essential Tracks:
1)      Underground Kings – Produced by T-Minus and 40
2)      Crew Love – Produced by 40, Illangelo and The Weeknd, featuring The Weeknd
3)      Lord Knows – Produced by Just Blaze, featuring Rick Ross

Available on CD and Digital Download

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