Friday, 20 September 2013

Review: Drake

Drake Nothing Was The Same (OVO Sound, Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records & Republic Records, 2013)

It's here. Well, it technically isn't, it got leaked a few nights ago. But still, for the purposes of the review, it's here.

Ever since the start of 2013, the omnipresent OVO/Young Money rapper has been surrounded by nothing but impossibly high expectations, after he spontaneously drip-fed four brand new stellar tracks to the world over the course of a few months, including "Started From The Bottom", "Girls Love Beyonce, All Me", and "Hold On, We're Going Home". Critics were claiming that it was possible for the album to not only be Drake's best, but also for it to be one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, putting him alongside the likes of Danny Brown, Chance The Rapper, and of course the king of all that's G.O.O.D, Mr Kanye West. Now as I'm a proud skeptic, it was difficult for me to accept that it was possible for every track on an entire album to reach the impressively heightened bar that Aubrey Graham (worst rapper name ever?) had set for himself with his most recent releases/features; the melodic harmonies on "Hold On, We're Going Home" and the seemingly effortless flow on "Started From The Bottom" really made me think about the yet-to-be-released album in a depressingly pessimistic light. However, after listening to Nothing Was The Same from start to finish multiple times, I will accept that I was so very wrong.

"How much time is this nigga spendin' on the intro? Lately I've been feelin' like Guy Pearce in Memento."

Drake has always utilised his intro tracks to the fullest by starting off the album as he means to go on - "Houstatlantavegas" on the So Far Gone EP, "Fireworks" on Thank Me Later and "Over My Dead Body" on his most recent release - and "Tuscan Leather" is no exception. It's a vehement track in which Drake continues to dismiss his opponents and boast about his rags-to-riches life story, but it's done in such an elegant way that makes you almost feel like he isn't bragging; he's simply bemoaning the obnoxiousness of his rap peers. The three verses are complimented by three different chops of the same Whitney Houston track, "I Have Nothing" (1992), and although this may sound like a strange pairing, the two artists blend together to create one of the purest hip-hop tracks of the year (so far). "How much time is this nigga spendin' on the intro?"- as long as he goddamn pleases.

"Next time we fuck, I don't want to fuck, I want to make love."

Although it's fair to say that Drake has found his tougher side on Nothing Was The Same in comparison to his most notable previous release, Take Care, there are still a few tracks on the album that take you back to his 'drunkenly texting ex-girlfriends and crying about it on the phone' days. Now although I always appreciate that he likes to throw in a softer track every so often to show off his multitude of skills, Drake's lyrical depth doesn't really take you much further than it ever has done on tracks such as "Marvin's Room", and this sometimes leaves you feeling like he doesn't particularly like to venture into the deep end when it comes to writing about his personal experiences. For this reason, I was relatively disappointed me after hearing the two most intimate tracks, "Own It" and "From Time", although considering the direction that Drake's been moving in over the past few years I think that these blips in lyrical greatness will definitely smoothen out. In a nutshell, either sort out your love life or man the fuck up, Aubrey.

"Look, just understand that I'm on a roll like Cottonelle."

All in all, Nothing Was The Same is Drake's greatest long player as of yet, and it will certainly be a contender on the renowned //APEX AOTY list.

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