Since the release of his debut album, Thank Me Later, in 2010 Drake has been catapulted to the top of the rap game. He has had to overcome being best known as the kid in the wheelchair from the popular TV series Degrassi, and the fact that he doesn’t exactly have “street credentials.” However, he has continually managed to prove himself as someone to keep our gaze fixed upon. As an original Drake hater when he first made the transition to music, he has slowly but surely won me over and now I can’t help but endlessly gaze.
In an age where love is fleeting and money rules all, Drakes honest accounts of how wealth and sex have become a burden on his life are extremely honest reflections of a 25-year-old navigating his way through his rapid rise to rap super-stardom. Take Care begins with the song “Over My Dead Body,” an account of how he is used by a stripper in his current life, and “Take A Shot For Me,” the tale of how he regrets not staying with a girl from his past life. Both songs are slower, mid-tempo, story-time songs, and bold choices to introduce an album with. While at first I was put off by the decision, after being encouraged to really re-listen to the album by a Drake stan, I realized how perfect they were as the set-up for what comes next in the narrative of his life. After all the regret and introspection by the time the 3rd track “Headlines” comes on, it sounds as if the album is heralding the return of someones former self. Not to say that he doesn’t regularly return to the topics of relationship regret, strippers galore, and how money is making life choices complicated, it just seems that the remainder of the songs come from a different mind-set. One where he still is looking back but has willingly begun moving forward.
Drake really perfects his brand of emo-rap on this album, sing-rapping much more often than previously. I find it amusing that Drake samples Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up” and somehow manages to sing the chorus of the song and make it oddly genuine and completely emo; I don’t know many other rappers who would be able to effectively execute this. The tracks “Underground Kings,” “Lord Knows” and “HYFR (Hell Ya Fuckin’ Rite),” are songs whose instrumentals are immediately addictive and infectious. However, the stand-out song on the album is the Rihanna-assisted title track, “Take Care.” Jamie xx of The xx’s reworking of his Gil Scott-Heron’s “I’ll Take Care Of You” remix is near perfection, causing the song to already have an embarrassing play-count on my iPod. The addition of Rihanna to the song is a funny ode to the two’s previous tabloid relationship as well. “Look What You’ve Done” is an endearing song praising his mother and uncle for their help on his road to fame; “Doing It Wrong” is another favorite where he laments on how “we live in a generation of not being in love, and not being together” with a random, entertaining harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder. The album stays cohesive throughout and Other notable features come from The Weeknd, Andre 3000, and Nicki Minaj.
Ultimately, I am impressed by Drake’s tenacity to reach the top, figure out the game, all while finding real love. Take Care is a solid sophomore album that already has me anticipating what comes next in his story. 4/5
– Amanda ‘Bergz‘ Berghorn
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