Drake – Take Care: Album Review

November 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

Drake’s cover for his sophomore album Take Care shows him in a completely different mindset. Brooding over a table filled with gold-plated luxuries, the Canadian rapper brings people into his lonely world due to overwhelming fame. But after countless stories circling around strippers and popping champagne bottles, how much of this is actually true? Take Care releases today to much anticipation, leaving it up to the listeners to decide.

The album opens with “Over My Dead Body”, a mellow and moody track that would be better suited for Frank Ocean. Drake’s loud verses overwhelm the soft background. A precursor to the emo-rap that Drake has mastered, the track speaks about the “miserys” of his luxury life. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, but it isn’t something I’m looking forward to. R&B newbie Abel Tasfaye of The Weeknd should have saved “Crew Love” for his upcoming mixtape. Drake doesn’t own the song; he sounds like the feature instead of the opposite.

The highlight of the title track “Take Care” is Jamie xx’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s dialogue. The house-inspired beat underneath the monotone voice of Rihanna that is supposed to emote vulnerability doesn’t mesh together seamlessly; the shift in sound is slightly confusing. Am I supposed to rave to it? Get high to it? Cry to it?  Yet I have a feeling this is a sleeper track that will grow on me, especially with the interwoven funky beats.

“Marvin’s Room”, the first single off Take Care, was the first glance of Drake’s new emotional style. Released in June, it spawned many covers and appraisals by people who have quietly mastered the drunk phone call. I love this song because it resonates with everyone, who doesn’t have a lost love that they yearn for? Following it is “We’ll Be Fine” – Drake greatly brings it back to his Thank Me Later confident rap style. The track is swagged out and his flow is strong and refreshing. It is much-needed nostalgia for his fans that have been with him from the beginning, yet the slight distortion keeps it unique.

“Make Me Proud” is arguably the most catchy track on this record; it highlights the cutesy relationship between Nicki Minaj and Drake. The sharp hi-hat kicks combined with Drake’s celebration of his labelmate is fun and whimsical. That vocal hook brings it all together seamlessly: “I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you.”

The Just Blaze-produced “Lord Knows” is straight fire. The sampled regal beat strung with a gospel fervor sounds like a track Kanye West forgot on the cutting room for College Dropout. Drake addresses the people who think he’s gone soft:

I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryna push me.
I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy.
Know that I don’t make music for niggas who don’t get pussy.
So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me.

“The Real Her” is deemed as part two of the famed “Houstatlantavegas” off the rapper’s critically acclaimed So Far Gone mixtape. Drake is giving us real R&B with his soothing vocals and steady snare hits. Lil Wayne’s dull puns wasn’t needed on this track, but it’s nice to see Andre 3000 feature his talent on a song again. It is one of the few ballad-like tracks on the record that is not draining to listen to.

The most unexpected track on the record goes to “Practice” – an ode to New Orleans with Drake covering Juvenille’s 1998 hit “Back That Azz Up.” The way that classic beat is interpolated and twisted to bring it to a modern distorted sound is genius. One of my favorite tracks goes to “The Motto”. Drake’s flow is so playful and bold that it almost makes you forget about his whining on the previous tracks. The beat brought me back to LA/Bay area; it is a generous tribute to the area’s rap scene.

As seen with his So Far Gone mixtape, Drake is a talented artist. I just wish hadn’t chose to go down this soft rap route. Take Care has many solid tracks, but as a whole the record isn’t cohesive in their vibes. He is so capable of so much more and I wish he would have displayed that. Sophomore records are difficult to pull off and this unfortunately evident in Take Care. Let’s hope Drake’s upcoming YOLO mixtape with Rick Ross shows a different side of Drake the rapper, not the singer.

Overall Rating: 3.7/5

Songs on Repeat

We’ll Be Fine

Make Me Proud

Cameras/Good Ones Go (Interlude)

The Motto (Deluxe Edition)

Songs to Skip

Shot For Me

The Ride

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