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Drake – Take Care Review

November 15, 2011 | Posted by Bill Wannop

Drake has always been an interesting artist in terms of his sound. He seems to mix his R&B vocals with his rapping in order to produce songs that attempt to appeal to both hip hop fans as well as the ladies in the club. His first album, Thank Me Later was met with mostly positive reviews and was matched by commercial success going platinum. Mainly the criticism stemmed from the fact that Drake is not the second coming of Jay-Z or Eminem and that he should push his R&B sound to the forefront. Drake seemed to listen to the critics with the release of his latest album Take Care, which features a much heavier R&B influence. Does the more R&B sound make the album more complete or is the album full of a bunch of slow filler?

Tracklisting
1. “Over My Dead Body” produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Chantal Kreviazuk (co.)
2. “Shot for Me” produced by “40” Shebib
3. “Headlines” produced by Boi-1da, Noah “40” Shebib (co.)
4. “Crew Love” (featuring The Weeknd) produced by Illangelo, Noah “40” Shebib, The Weeknd
5. “Take Care” (featuring Rihanna) produced by Jamie xx, Noah “40” Shebib
6. “Marvins Room” produced by Noah “40” Shebib
7. “Buried Alive (Interlude)” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Supa Dups
8. “Under Ground Kings” produced by T-Minus, Noah “40” Shebib
9. “We’ll Be Fine” (featuring Birdman) produced by T-Minus
10. “Make Me Proud” (featuring Nicki Minaj) produced by T-Minus
11. “Lord Knows” (featuring Rick Ross) produced by Just Blaze
12. “Cameras / Good Ones Go (Interlude)” produced by Lex Luger, Drake (co.), Noah “40” Shebib
13. “Doing It Wrong” produced by Noah “40” Shebib
14. “The Real Her” (featuring Lil Wayne and André 3000) produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Drake (co.)
15. “Look What You’ve Done” produced by N. Cashe, Noah “40” Shebib (co.)
16. “HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)” (featuring Lil Wayne) produced by T-Minus
17. “Practice” produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Drake (co.)
18. “The Ride” produced by Doc McKinney, The Weeknd

The album opens with Drake rapping over a mellow piano beat on “Over My Dead Body” which has Drake addressing some of his critics on topics such as going platinum, and being one of the top rappers out right now. If you enjoy the rapping aspects of Drake, then get it while you can on the opening track, because for the rest of the album the raps from ‘Drizzy’ will be few and far between. The second track “Shot for me” is a much better barometer of what sound the album has, with Drake singing throughout the track over a very slow, mellow beat, produced by 40.

The first single “Headlines” is typical Drake rap, but is not as catchy as previous singles that feature Drake laying down the lyrics. One of the interesting things about the album, is that it doesn’t stick to any one genre, in that Drake makes songs that are somewhere in between R&B, rap, and club tracks. “Crew Love” is an interesting track that features The Weeknd, which has a strange beat that bangs hard at certain intervals in the track, then proceeds to slow down. “Take Care” features Rihanna, and is one of the most upbeat tracks on the album, that has some club qualities to it but does not quite reach the level of being a full on dance track. Rihanna creates a nice pseudo hook throughout the song and Drake rides the piano beat nicely. “Make Me Proud” has Drake and Nicki Minaj joining force again, however this time Nicki Minaj completely owns Drake with her rhymes. This is likely the top rap song on the album, with a decent hook, but simply does not live up to the past collaborations the two have done.

That in itself is the problem. While Drake mainly stays true to his formula of R&B infused rap, the majority of tracks on this album are similar to previous work, but have simply been done better in the past. “Underground Kings” has Drake rapping about how he got rich off a mixtape, which again exposes the dilemma (putting aside the fact that Drake is hardly underground, in fact he is as mainstream as they come) that his mixtape So Far Gone was so much better then both of his commercial albums. Even collaborations from Lil Wayne cannot top previous efforts, as first Wayne appears on “The Real Her” which has Drake singing for the first three minutes over a super slow beat, before Wayne pops in to rap a forgettable verse. Andre 3000 also shows up on the track and provides a much better flow to suit the track. Next on “HYFR” Wayne reappears to somewhat save the track after a offbeat flow from Drake over a somewhat boring beat produced by T-Minus.

Drake stated recently that this is the album he wanted to originally put out (instead of Thank Me Later) and insinuated that his label somewhat controlled the direction of his previous release. This album has full creative control from Drake, and the result is somewhat of a boring record. There is no real stand out single, and there seems to be tons of missed opportunities. The interlude “Buried Alive” features a standout verse from Kendrick Lamar (who provides the only verse on the track) and one has to wonder what it would have been had it been constructed as a full track. The Just Blaze soulfully produced “Lord Knows” has Drake and Rick Ross rapping about women trying to take advantage of their fame, but the lyrics and concept are somewhat stale.

The last two tracks “Look What You’ve Done” and “Practice” slow down the already snail’s pace of the what feels like a marathon album and bring it to a close. At the end of the album, there is not much to look back and listen to again. If you’re ever in need of a Drake fix, most fans will likely throw on his other albums or collaborations before Take Care. While most fans know what they are going to get when they put on a Drake album, I think most fans will be disappointed with this effort. The greater focus on the singing and R&B and less focus on the rapping make the album a much slower, and overly emotional release. Although some ladies might like the super slow songs, most fans based off his radio hits and first single will find this album to be disappointing.

The 411: Drake was given full control of his latest album and the result was a big disappointment. The greater focus on the singing and R&B and less focus on the rapping make the album a much slower, and overly emotional release. Although some ladies might like the super slow songs, most fans based off his radio hits and first single will find this album to be disappointing.
 
Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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Bill Wannop

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