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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year, 14 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Take Care (Audio CD)
Drake is a paradox; he's filthy rich and loving life, but since extreme highs lead to extreme lows, he also often finds himself depressed and insecure. "We live in a generation of/not being in love," he croons for perhaps the pivotal lyric of the whole album. He has all the girls he could wish for yet can't trust any of them. Drake makes music to reflect the generation we're in, reflecting equal parts materialism, disillusionment and self loathing, chronicling dispassionate sexual encounters and drug taking amongst the backdrop of egomania and emotional turmoil. All this he has channelled into Take Care, where amongst the masterful moody soundscapes of the beats, he sings and raps lyrics that are self deprecating, clever, revealing and most of all affecting.

Whilst a lot of the hate on Drake stems from typical populist backlash, there is also a level of misogynistic distaste in the rap community for his sensitive lyrics, large female fanbase and a suspicion at his relatively privileged background. Further anger comes from `serious' hip hop fans stems who feel Drake doesn't make real rap music, with his emotive soul bearing and silky singing voice. Those people are right to some degree - Drake is far closer to the minimalist/soul/blubstep of someone like James Blake than he is to murderous hardcore rap stars like Wu-Tang. But it isn't as if he has no predecessors in the genre; his flow is highly derivative of Lil Wayne, and lyrically his raw pathos brackets him with Kanye West, Kid Cudi and, further back, Tupac Shakur, albeit without the political bent of the latter's early work. And in a genre where there is such a traditional importance on `keeping it real', it's telling that Drake doesn't lie about gangster fantasies in his lyrics to appease hardcore rap fans, instead tapping the subjects that he knows about namely women, fame and Toronto (unlike Mobb Deep, whose art school past completely contradicted their violent tales, or more recently Rick Ross, who far from being the cocaine trafficking `teflon don' he portrays in his flows, is actually a former police officer).

Drake isn't a bad pure rapper by any means, and like Kanye, his flow is improving with every song. He doesn't get outshined by the guest verses, which are well placed and complement him, with Andre 3000 ("sitting here sad as hell/listening to Adele") and Ross himself ("only fat n**** in the sauna with Jews") providing especially strong additions. It's ironically Drake's mentor Wayne who lets the side down, with three fairly routine offerings.

Musically, this album is incredible, sounding smooth and classy throughout. It's one of the most polished hip hop/RnB albumx you'll ever hear production wise, and huge credit needs to go to Noah `40' Shebib, who did most of the beats and handles almost all of the production, giving it more of a cohesive sound than Thank Me Later. It's not all self pitying slow jams either, there's a few bangers in there too, including the impressive double whammy of `Make Me Proud' and `Lord Knows', the latter featuring a typically soulful beat from Just Blaze. The sequencing is great too, going high and low at just the right times, meaning even at seventy minutes the album doesn't drag.

This is, then, a phenomenal piece of work. Drake's output this year has been nothing short of spectacular; it says a lot when you consider that tracks as good as Trust Issues and Club Paradise never even made this record, you know it's a fruitful time in a career. I scoff at the notion that we are living in a dreadful time for music; the hazy, stoned, emotional music of Drake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd has produced three classic albums in the last few months, and that's just one micro genre - the year in music has been strong across the board, and much of it with a cohesive sound and identity. It should be cherished - artists as prodigiously talented and consistently magnificent as these are rare things.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2011 15:00:08 GMT
Riss says:
Wow i just read your comment just out of curiosity, who ARE you!!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2011 00:39:57 GMT
A modern enigma. Who are you?

Posted on 27 Dec 2011 19:01:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Dec 2011 19:07:33 GMT
Admin Andy says:
I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Drake is not filthy rich! As a matter of fact he is far away from it.
I like Drake, but I dislike the fact that he became famous only because he tries to sound like Lil Wayne, his mentor as you say. And for God's sake man, don't mention The legend Tupac when talking about a rookie like Drake.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jan 2012 03:04:17 GMT
Drake is reportedly worth $25 million. And yeah, he sounds like Yeezy but his songwriting, singing and lyrics are the reasons he has blown up so much.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2012 20:31:59 GMT
Tom Payani says:
Great review mate. Pretty much spot on with everything you said about the album.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 21:03:34 GMT
Great review! I've had this album for around 5 months and still listen to it all the time. Although it's a totally different sound, I think it's up there with the likes of Dr.Dre's 2001 album, Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP, Jay Z's Black Album and Kanye's College Dropout album.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Aug 2013 22:31:47 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 13 Aug 2013 07:27:10 BDT]
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