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Perfecting His Formula
on November 15, 2011
If I had to sum up Take Care in one word, I would say its growth. If there's one thing that Drake has shown us since he came into the rap game, its that he is, if nothing else, consistent. He has a formula: Rap a lot, sing a little, do a hook here and there, and bam, you've got Drake's whole catalog in less that one sentence. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and in the case of Take Care, Drake seems to focus more on perfecting his formula rather than expanding it, while still showing us that he's gotten better.
First and foremost, I was happy to see 17 tracks on here, all of which are music, no skits. That's a big plus for me. But anyway, back to the topic. Drake has never been lacking when it comes to lyrical ability, and he certainly seems to have stepped his game up on this album. With songs like "Under Ground Kings" and "Lord Knows", we see Drake really flexing those lyrical muscles. He even steps away briefly from his standard pacing and monotone flow and unleashes a flurry of rhymes at once with what seems like little breathing involved on HYFR ("Hell Yeah F****ng Right") feat. Lil Wayne. Even on the slower songs, overall, they are lyrically solid.
While Drake does have a healthy dose of banger worthy tracks, there are a good number of slow songs on the album and may or may not sit well with the average hip hop head. One of Drake's biggest criticisms is that he flip flops between singing and rapping too much, and that he can easily slip right into R&B mode and kill whatever head nodding vibe he managed to create two song ago. While he DOES go pretty R&B mode for a bit, he keeps those songs close together ("Doin It Wrong", and "The Real Her feat. Lil Wayne & Andre 3000",) while the rest of the songs are more of his rapping with the occasional singing on the hook. Standard Drake formula.
A great high point of this album is easily the production. Drake has consistently shown that he has good taste in the beats that he uses, and after having heard the CD a few times now, I cant find one that I don't like. Granted, some are better then others, but overall there are no throwaway beats, and each one seems to be handcrafted to fit Drake, his style of writing, and solidifies the feel of the song. Also, while features were moderate, I think they were all well done, with a possible exception for Kendrick Lamar's part on the "Marvin's Room/Buried Alive Interlude" and Andre 3000 on "The Real Her". Kendrick himself is an awesome rapper, but his part on "Marvin's Room" just seemed out of place and weird to hear after the song had played. And 3 Stacks' addition to "The Real Her" seemed equally awkward, like his heart wasn't in it (which it probably wasn't).
The only downside I can really say there is to Take Care is the same one that was present in Thank Me Later: content. While Drake is a phenomenal song writer, he really leaves much to be desired in the area of subject matter. The summation of all of Drake's entire catalog, including his mixtape material, is: I love this girl, I wanna f*** this girl, this girl broke my heart, I broke a lot of girl's hearts, I'm awesome and rich, I love girls. Yeah, that's pretty much the whole album right there. Now, even though I would like to see Drake branch out and write outside of his comfort zone, I do applaud the fact that he doesn't try to touch on things he knows nothing about, since that would sound stupid. His songs, while monotonous in subject matter feel honest and sincere, and if nothing else, very relate-able. Doing It Wrong is just resonating with me right now.
As a whole, I believe that Take Care is in fact an improvement of the standard formula Drake has made for himself for constructing an album. It will by no means change the minds of nay sayers, nor will it make his fans love him any less. Its just more of the same thing that made him successful. Hopefully he will learn to expand his horizons a bit in the near future and talk about different things (he got a good start with his touching tribute to his mom on Look What You've Done") but I wont get my hopes up. But as long as he's putting out quality music, I'm not too bothered by it. If you like Drake, pick up a copy, its worth it.
Lord Knows feat. Rick Ross (Awesome beat!)
Shot For Me (Real talk for post relationship BS your going through)
Under Ground Kings (Awesome beat, great display of lyrical ability)
Doing It Wrong (Relationship issues you've either dealt with before, or will in the future)
Look What You've Done (Great tribute to his mom and uncle)
Over My Dead Body (Real chilled beat, great opening track)