Take Care, the Album Review.

If I download an album it's usually because of one of the following two reasons:
1) The album is pretty old and I don't feel like my one measly download is effecting the artists bank account at this point in their career.
2) I give zero fucks about you as an artist but I feel like you may have one or two songs that I will like, so I choose to download your music in spite and for the sheer satisfaction of thinking that my one measly download somehow effects your bank account.
Since Take Care doesn't even drop for another five days, it would be safe to assume that my downloading of Drake's sophomore album, Take Care was definitely driven by spite. Early on, I was one of Drake's biggest fans. I know everyone says that about any artist who blows up, but I actually have proof.
  Excuse the constipated grin, but yes, ladies gentlemen, that's Yours Truly and October's Very Own himself chumming it up at a meet and greet on the So Far Gone tour. Go to www.thankyoudrake.com. Peep the second picture from the top left hand corner. Yeah, that's me playa. Now that I've proven my fanhood, it is for this very reason that I've been so critical of Drake. To begin with, Drake was by far the hottest overnight sensation in hip-hop since 50 Cent. He had garnered attention from heavyweights like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and of course Lil’ Wayne, without having an single album to his name. Remember when Nike gave LeBron a $90 million contract before he was even drafted? This was that, but music instead of basketball. It was evident that everyone saw what I saw; This guy had the potential to become a legend in his own right. He was on the brink of creating a new lane in hip-hop, something that hadn’t been done since Kanye dropped College Dropout. That’s why it was a little disappointing when word was out that Drake signed to Cash Money. This was the equivalent of LeBron signing with the Miami Heat. Drake had the opportunity to create his own lane, to start his own legacy. Drake could’ve been the biggest independent artist that music had ever seen, and instead he signed with the over-crowded all-star team that is Young Money.
  After I had time to cool off I decided to forgive Drake. In the day and age where everyone is hopping ship and thinking about only themselves, I suppose it’s commendable to stay with the girl that brought you to the dance. However, what wasn’t forgivable, was the commercial shit sandwich that was Thank Me Later. The same way that LeBron still managed to put up big numbers in Miami in lieu of another perennial Hall of Famer, yet choke on the biggest stage that sports has to offer is the way that Thank Me Later was taken by true fans of So Far Gone. I understand that an artist can’t recreate an album. I understand that an artist has to grow and diversify their sound. I’m even willing to believe that an artist has to make their album somewhat commercial friendly to attract the masses and drop their anchor so-to-speak in the ocean of the hip hop elite. With all that being said, Thank Me Later was a fail of epic proportions. If you go by the numbers, you’ll say I’m crazy. After all, Drizzy sold over 400k his first week and eventually went platinum. That being said, sans "Karaoke", "The Resistance", and "Unforgettable", the rest of the album was easily forgettable and average at best, production included. I made up my mind that though I was on the plank, I would wait until the release of Drake’s sophomore album to get my Michael Phelps on.
  Fast-forward one year and Mr. Graham’s sophomore album has sprung a leak a whole 10 days ahead of schedule. With the releases of the album singles, Headlines (aka Over Pte. 2), Marvin’s Room, and  Make Me Proud (aka Fancy Pt 2), I was convinced that Drake’s second serving was sure to be another attempt at putting curtains on the windows of a Chrysler 300 in hopes of passing it off as a Maybach. I was no longer hopeful that Aubrey could be saved. He was doomed. Another casualty of the industry. With all hope gone, I put on my nose plug and got ready for the waters that awaited. I downloaded Take Care and readied myself to skim through 16 (18 if you buy the retail version) tracks of a mediocre masterpiece.  And to be quite honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever been more wrong about something in my life.
  "Over My Dead Body" serves as a postcard from Drake, letting us know about where he’s at now, versus where he was a year ago. Sharing everything how his bank account has grown since we last heard from him, to whether or not people still want to hear his music. We now find Drake in the unfamiliar shoes of the veteran fighting to keep his spot, in which he warns the up and coming challengers with lines like, “Don’t make me take your life apart boy/You and whoever the fuck gave you your start boy/Oh you wanna be a funny guy? Don’t make be break your Kevin Hart boy.” Funny how things change huh? Although his punchlines have become somewhat tougher, Drake is still the former child star with a knack for bearing a bit too much of his soul, but that’s still the reason we love him.
  “Take a Shot for Me”, finds Drake in a situation all too familiar in which he narrates the deterioration of a relationship between himself and a young woman. It seems like we’ve heard this story a million times from Drake, yet it’s still a nice track that bitter males will make fun of in public, yet play within the confines of their own car (*points at self*). Nothing groundbreaking about this track, nice production and a decent track that adds to the flow of the beginning of the album.
  Next is the albums lead single, “Headlines” that finds Drake doing his best to portray an arrogant boss who is not only “too strung out on compliments and overdosed on confidence” but now apparently has goons who “catch bodies” for him at the drop of a hat. Now I understand that music is a form of entertainment. This is no truer in any genre than hip-hop, where everyone and their mother has killed someone, and former cops (*cough cough, Rick Ross*) can be the biggest drug lords that Miami has ever seen. That being said, I can’t listen to this song without chuckling a bit at a beige mafia boss that rocks an s-curl. I guess I have no real quip with this song, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
  When I heard that The Weeknd would be featured on Take Care I was pretty excited. There are very few artists that I feel have truly revolutionized the way a genre of music sounds. The Weeknd does this with every mixtape he releases. Is it R&B? Is it neo-soul? Whatever it is, it’s amazing. I’ve been on record as saying that Drake is the most versatile artist in hip-hop and this song backs my claim. I feel like very few artists can have their voice marry so well with one that's so unique and unorthodox. "Crew Love" is arguably the most cohesive song on the album. From the wild and unmapped chorus, to the subtle beat with the careful placement of chaotic high hats, to the way Drake finds the pocket of the beat and rides it perfectly, it all fits beautifully. There’s only one verse on this song but honestly, that’s all it needed. I love when I can tell that music wasn’t forced. Organic music at it’s finest.
  I don’t know what it is about the album’s title track "Take Care", but I don’t feel like it really fits the concept of this album. I understand that these little mid-tempo love songs are Drake’s m.o. but just like “Find Your Love” on Thank Me Later, this song doesn’t really do much for me. Basically, I feel like Rihanna got more out of her Drake feature for her album than Drake got out of his Rihanna feature for his album.
  I’m sure everyone’s heard "Marvin’s Room" by now and while I appreciate this song for what it is, I’m gonna cut right to the chase and say that Kendrick Lamar stole the show with the interlude, “Buried Alive”. Awkward intro aside, Kendrick absolutely bodies this beat. Everything from his flow, to his wordplay, to the art of storytelling that he uses on this song is amazing. Drake threw Kendrick a bone (pause) and he made a five course meal with that shit. It’s always good to see someone so underrated get the shine they deserve. Bravo.  
  If Drake is going to make songs for women, I would much rather them be songs like, “Doing it Wrong”, and “Practice” as opposed to “The Real Her” and “Make Me Proud”. These are obviously written to make women think that somehow Aubrey is different than most men, that he really understands, blah blah blah. If you’re going to do this type of song, I would much rather them be songs that are full of meaningful lyrics that could be sang by anyone and still come off as  authentic ("Doing it Wrong") than packed with the same tired corny lyrics and melodies of “The Real Her”. And for goodness sake, I wish someone would realize that Lil’ Wayne doesn’t belong anywhere near any song that deals with women in a non-misogynist manner. No one wants to hear a frog croaking to a intimate piano melody. The only saving grace of this song is Andre 3000, who took five minutes out of his day to completely body this song with lines like, “Now the both of us are color blind because the other side looks greener/Which leaves your turf in a Boise state, can’t see the play or the team cuz.” and shows Lil’ Wayne why he should think twice before even thinking of uttering the words, “best rapper alive” ever again in life. 
  “Make Me Proud” is the same tired concept of praising all the “independent women” who are going to college and working out for themselves because they “don’t need no nigga” and all the other things you hear on BET. Nicki Minaj is almost always a hit or a miss and on this dud she’s definitely a miss. Exhibit A: “I’m a star – Sherriff badge.” No. I… I just can’t. Shut, what I like to call, the fuck up.

  Back to the songs you’ll actually want to listen to. “Cameras/Good Ones”, "Underground Kings", “HYFR”, “Lord Knows”, and “Practice” are all definitely bangers. From the production to the lyrics to the hook, all five songs are what make this album fun. Songs like “Lord Knows” and “Cameras” possess the soul that TML lacked. When I say soul, I mean that music that awakens something within you. Whatever it is that makes you bob your head with that look on your face like you just sniffed some milk that’s been in the refrigerator for about two months. That’s what real hip-hop is. It’s music that makes your soul dance.
  The song “Lord Knows” is by far the best produced song on the entire album. Just Blaze never disappoints but it’s amazing that he’s still able to out-do himself, even this deep into his career. The layers in this song are incredible. From the warped sound of the choir that eventually hits you in the face right after the classic “Just Blaze!” drop, to the dark basement of 808’s that it takes you into when Ross gives the beat his best, it’s songs like this that show you just how important production is. Who would've thought you could visit Heaven and Hell in five minutes? It’s production like this that takes a track from a song to an event. Drake spits his hardest with lines like, “I’m hearin’ all of the jokes, I know that they tryin’ to push me/I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy” and Ross brings the same bolstering bravado that he’s become synonymous with. With a beat so boisterous it would've been easy for Drake to let this beat overshadow him. But like all greats, Drizzy delivered when his number was called.
  "HYFR (Hell Ya Fuckin' Right)" is a song that your girl and her friends will bump while getting ready for the club. With Weezy playing an interviewer on the hook asking, "Do you love this shit? Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous? Are you single? I heard you fuck your girl, is it true? You gettin' money? You think them niggas you with is with you?" this song doesn't offer much if your looking for lyricism but the infectious hook will quickly become a guilty pleasure.
  "Cameras" is another fun song that won't necessarily offer much as far as lyricism goes but the John B. sample gives this song a certain nostalgia that's missing from today's music. Listening to this song takes me back to barbecues at my grandma's house, playing board games with my cousins while all the "grown folk" played dominoes on the old brown busted card table for hours on end. This is what music is supposed to be.
  While there's no "A Night Off" level jam on Take Care, "Practice" is about as close as you'll get. Drake's ode to Cash Money pioneer Juvenile is a clever twist on "Back that Ass Up" that takes the ass shaking club banger and turns it pelvic grinding bedroom smanger. What's impressive is that the exact same chorus that sounds so crude when it's rapped by Juvenile is somehow acceptable when it's sang by Drake. 
  One of the biggest gripes I have about Take Care is the placement of the song, "Look What You've Done". Everything about this song shouts curtain call. Here we find Drake reminiscing over the past,  from how he was once a kid who was burnt out on acting and at a crossroads in his life before he received the phone call from a certain tattooed rapper that changed his life, to how he finally got to send his mom to Rome and make good on all his promises. You can't fake the sincerity that's in this song. The clip of 40's mom at the end, that shit will make you want to call your mom/aunt/grandma and tell her how much you love her. TML never had one of these songs. This song is Rocky finally making it to the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. It's Simba becoming King. It's that moment in life where you can say all your hard work paid off. The Jewish kid from Degrassi got the last laugh after all.
    So there you have it. I was wrong. I have no problem admitting this, and quite honestly, I'm happy that I was. I've always been so critical of Drake because I expect big things from him. It's like Monica's coach in Love and Basketball. Monica thought her coach absolutely hated her, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. If you look at any of the greats in hip-hop, hell in the history of anything not just hip-hop, they're always held to a higher standard. Is it fair? No. But that's how life works. Jay-Z came under so much scrutiny for the Blueprint 2 when in reality, that album is better than a lot of artists best work. Unfortunately, when you're Jay-Z, average doesn't cut it. Obviously Drake is no Jay-Z, and never will be, but that doesn't make him less important to music as a whole. This album is what Thank Me Later should have been. Drake's biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. If he doesn't learn to tell Nicki Minaj "no" when it comes to weak ass features and tell himself "no" when it comes to sobbing over women for more than two tracks on an album, he will block himself from creating an album that could possibly rival So Far Gone. This album was a step in the right direction though, I take back my blasphemous act of downloading it and I'll say Thank You now. Better late than never right? Take Care.


  1. your reviews never fail. another great one.

    xo. faithful follower

  2. Thank you so much. I'm a fan of good music and I love when I'm presented with the oppurtunity to write about it.
    I appreciate the kind words.

  3. I wish you reviewed some of my current tastes. You have a great authoritative voice, but for those of us who never gave a shit about Weezy or Drake, the blogs don't communicate. Come on, your audience wants SOME musical elitism!

    Review this album, then I'll be invested for life.