Aubrey Drake Graham has come a long way from his acting days back on the show Degrassi, and has become one of the leading artists in Hip Hop in a such a short amount of time (3 years). Why is he so successful? Because he is Different...Not the stupid different like Lil Wayne, or over the top different like Nicki Minaj, but different because he as another talent in his arsenal which is singing. Sure Drake is not the most gifted singer but he does have an ear for melody. Drake is first and foremost a rapper but in my opinion he is more successful as a singer. "Take Care" is Drake's evolution album; Drake and his main producer Noah "40" Shebib have created a distinct mellow sound first introduced on the 2009 So Far Gone, but Drake has vastly improved and almost mastered the sound on Take Care. It is hard to describe but it is a mellow sound that is specifically designed to compliments Drake's voice and crafted so well that its hard for other people to rap/sing on. This album is a far better improvement over his debut album "Thank Me Later" released just last year, which shows how much Drake has improved as a singer, a songwriter, and an overall artist.
This entire album is very moody and almost borderline emo, but there are instances in between where Drizzy takes a break and does some fun or at least optimistic sounding songs, but it doesn't last forever. The album starts off with "Over My Dead Body" which features fellow Canadian artist Chantal Kreviazuk, which is a nice sentimental track filled with Drake's thoughts of his success as of now. It would be almost the perfect track if Drake wouldn't sound "Lil Wayne" like. The next track "Shot For Me" talks about past relationships and the first single "Headlines" capitalizes on his own fame. I have said previously that Drake sounds much better when he uses his singing voice more and the title track "Take Care" is a perfect example of what Drake is capable of. Featuring Rihanna and a nice Gil-Scott Heron sample, this is easily one of the most artistic songs on the album, even if it basically a revamped version of Jamie xx version. The most Emo song "Marvin's Room" really demonstrates Drake's storytelling ability, with the premise being a drunk despairing over a past relationship making the girl regret what she left behind. Also after the primary song has ended, listeners are treated a surprising cameo from Kendrick Lamar delivering an interesting verse. "The Real Her" which features cameos from mentor Lil Wayne and legendary Andre 3000 following the concepts from Drakes past song Houstatlantavegas where Drake once again sings beautifully on.
There are breaks from all the anguish Drake is spilling out (Thank God). Tracks such as "Make Me Proud" and "Under Ground Kings" (both produced by T-Minus) have a more light hearted sound and overall more optimistic view on Drakes part. The best song on this album is probably "Look What You've Done" which is a love letter to his mom. This is the most personal song Drake has ever made in his career and the story is very touching if you disregard the sloppy flow sounding rapping Drake does within the song. "Crew Love" which sounds more like Weeknd song more than a Drake song has one of the nicest productions on the entire album. Songs "Lord Knows" feat. Rick Ross is not bad, but it doesn't fit Drake's style very much and "The Ride" is okay but The Weeknd's voice in the backround can be tedious and somewhat annoying.
This album is far from perfect sadly. One of the main problems I have with this album is Drake's rapping, even though he has grown a little bit and sounds more confident, he is suffering from what I like to call the "Young Money Influenzza". The Young Money label in my opinion is one of the (if not THE) worst alliance in Hip Hop today. Every artist on that label (besides Drake, and maybe Nicki Minaj) are neither interesting nor talented whatsoever. Drake has obviously been influenced by Lil Wayne a lot and you can tell when he is rapping. Songs like "HYFR" also feat. Lil Wayne contains some of the ugliest flows I have ever heard from Drake and this goes the same for "We'll Be Fine" feat. Birdman and "Cameras/Good Ones Go interlude" which suffer from terrible lyrics. Drake saves himself on such tracks when he is singing on the hook, but besides that the lyrics on these songs are terrible typical Cash Money Bulls***. Another problem I have is sometimes Drake delves too deep in his own despair that it winds up soundling like emo whinning bull crap. "Doing It Wrong" is a perfect example of an annoying song that I can't take much of, even the harmonica supplied by the legendary Stevie Wonder can't make it barable. The song "Practice" is a ballad remake of Juvenile's booty classic "Back That Azz Up". Making an R&B song out of a song mainly about a girls behind already sounds bad in concept. The song sounds ok melody wise but knowing that the song is an attempt to revive the golden days of Cash Money, it just ends up being corny.
With that said, Take Care is a great sophomore album from Drake. While not perfect, this is not like any other Hip Hop album out this year, this is an album by an honest man letting the world know his own personal thoughts and problems. This album already exceeds "Thank Me Later" and is 10x better then the stupid Tha Carter IV (completely overrated) but Drake still has a long way to go as an artist, and an even longer way to go as a real MC, but regardless "Take Care" is one of the best albums of 2011.
Top Tracks: Take Care (feat. Rihanna) Look What You've Done The Real Her (feat. Lil Wayne & Andre 3000) Marvins Room/Buried Alive interlude (feat. Kendrick Lamar) Over My Dead Body (feat. Chantal Kreviazuk) Headlines
Honorable Mention: Under Ground Kings Make Me Proud Crew Love
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