I read an interview with Nas about a year ago and he was saying with so much music coming out that his philosophy is, if it’s dope enough, it’ll get to him. And once I read that, that’s how I started checking for music from that point on. It’s entirely TOO much music coming out to actually be able to sit and chill with a release because by the time you’re just starting to digest this, that comes out! And then that cycle just continues to repeat itself over and over and over again. So I figured instead of breaking my neck trying to check for any and everything, I’ll just check for stuff here and there and anything that may slip through the cracks, like Nas said if it’s dope enough, it’ll get to me. So with my new philosophy in tow, the first piece of music that “got to me” was from a cat I wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with…Drake.
I started hearing rumblings about dude being nice, but I wasn’t falling for the banana in the tailpipe. I just couldn’t see money being nice. We could start with the simple fact (and I’m sure this will sound bad) he didn’t look like the type of MC I would mess with. I’m an old school cat and money looked like one of those “tight jean rappers” (what I like to call this new generation of MC’s) that are popping up EVERYDAY and that EVERY hip hop blog is christening as the next one. But one of my peoples hit me up like “yo, you need to check for Drake. He’s nice.” My response? “Yeah…whatever.” Then another one of my peoples hit me up (who’s 180 degrees different from the first cat who hit me) saying the exact same thing. But I’m STILL not falling for it. Then ANOTHER one of my peoples got at me saying the EXACT SAME THING! And this dude is the total opposite of the last dude who hit me up. (My circle of music cats range from college grads, business professionals and blue collar workers to the unemployed, peace people and drug dealers) So as much as I don’t want to, I gotta put my new philosophy to the test. So I checked out Drake’s “So Far Gone” mixtape…and I actually LOVED it! And as crazy as it may sound to a lot of my hip hop brethren, not only did I become a fan of dude but his album “Thank Me Later” actually cracked my top 5 list of albums last year. So since I’m a fan now, I’m expecting a ‘lil more from dude this time round but I really haven’t been feeling some of the new stuff that’s been floating around leading up to this new album. So now what am I expecting from Take Care? That’s a good question.
Take Care starts off with “Over My Dead Body” which is cool but isn’t the way I’d set off my sophomore album while trying to live up to the hype of being christened “the next one” but it doesn’t take but a minute for the album to start getting my attention with “Shot For Me” which has Drake’s producer Noah “40” Shebib freaking a dope SWV filtered sample and has Drake on his Def Poetry Jam jawn with lines like “may your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you and heaven accept you.” “Crew Love” featuring The Weekend won’t have you forgetting the classic Jay Z, Bleak and Beans collabo of the same name but it’s still dope nonetheless. Take Care featuring Rihanaa has Drake on his house/club jawn and I’m sure everyone’s heard “Marvin’s Room” by now so no need to chime in on that. “Underground Kings” and the Just Blaze produced “Lord Knows” featuring Rick Ross showcase Drake over some harder beats while “Proud of You” featuring Nicki Minaj is cool but doesn’t come close to their last effort “Up All Night” off “Thank Me Later.”
“Doing It Wrong” featuring Stevie Wonder (on the harmonica) has Drake in complete R&B slow jam mode and “The Real Her” featuring (how many times can I say the word “featuring” when talking about an album in 2011? SMH) ‘Lil Wayne and Andre 3000 gives 3000 the lane to show why he’s one of the dopest MC’s walking the planet, “n-ggaz who are married don’t wanna go home/but we look up to them/they wish they were us/they want some new trim/we lust for some trust.” I’m a little too old for “Practice’s” chorus of “girl you look good why don’t you back that ass up/you a fine motherf-cker won’t you back that ass up” but I’m sure this will be the stripper anthem for 2012 but at least the album ends on a good note with the Don McKinney produced “The Ride.” But my favorite track off Take Care is “Look What You’ve Done” which is a heartfelt dedication to his mother and aunt and how they both have held him down.
At the end of the day, Drake’s music reminds me of McDonalds. I mean, does anyone REALLY go to McDonald expecting a gourmet meal? Naw, not at all. It’s just every now and then you get a taste for a Big Mac, so you cop one, you eat it, you enjoy it and you’re good. Now, if you go to McDonalds expecting the absolute best Man vs. Food burger you’ve ever tasted in your life, when you don’t get that is that McDonald’s fault or your fault? It’s yours because we ALL know what to expect from McDonalds. And it’s the exact same thing with Drake. If you expect to pop in Take Care and hear something that sounds like the Nas/Primo collabo we’ve been waiting almost 20 years for or some mind blowing boom bap hip hop and you don’t get that, is that Drake’s fault or yours?
Again, it’s yours.
By now we all know what Drake is gonna give you. Rhyming for a minute before the drums drop, singing one minute, rhyming the next, those infamous “Drake” style beats that Noah and Boi 1Da lace him with (that ALL sound the same and always have me singing Jamie Foxx’s “Fall For Your Type” even though I’m listening to a Drake song). So it shouldn’t be a shock when that’s what you get. And I’ll be the first to admit, that even though I’m trying to eat healthier as I get up in age I can’t front, from time to time I still get a taste for some McDonalds.