Release Date: Nov 15, 2011
Record label: Cash Money Records
Genre(s): Pop, Rap, R&B, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B, Pop-Rap
Hip-hop has never produced anything quite like Drake – a guy with a Jay-Z ego and a Charlie Brown soul. The Canadian singer-rapper introduced his melancholy-player persona on 2010's platinum Thank Me Later, spooling out alarmingly mellow confessional brags over synth-streaked tracks that ….
There’s something fun you can do when discussing Take Care with people that grew up in a different era of hip-hop, or just hate pop music. Call it beautiful. Go ahead, try it. Doesn’t it sound funny to you, too? It’s a weird thing to say about a hip-hop album. In fact I’m nearly positive ….
Has there ever been a rapper as charismatic as Drake? In some sense, the phenomenal success of his platinum debut, Thank Me Later, is just one more testament to how much people like the guy. Anyone who wants to explain that album’s success in terms of its music has to build their argument on what? Passable rapping, barely passable singing, and a batch of tracks that flirt with a distinctive identity for all of four or five songs before capitulating into moodier variations on sounds that its high-priced producers had long driven into the ground? The truth is, Thank Me Later was a fairly average rap album that worked because it doubled as a truly effective character study, one that introduced a likeable protagonist before plunging the listener into Drake’s deeply conflicted psyche, flush with confidence on one track and absorbed in self-pity on the next, shouting out his overachieving lady friends on “Fancy” before getting friendly with the pole dancers on “Miss Me. ” By far the most salient feature of Drake’s persona is his superabundant, almost gushing sincerity, which combines with his total self-absorption to make him a veritable icon for Generation Overshare (or “a time where its recreation to pull all your skeletons out the closet like Halloween decorations,” as he puts it on “Lord Knows”).
In 1976, Marvin Gaye holed up in his Hollywood studio and began recording Here, My Dear, a brutally candid album-length dissection of his divorce from wife Anna Gordy. The soul great found beauty within the wreckage, and the album doubled as an emotional exorcism that pushed out pain, anger, regret, spite, vengeance. "Memories haunt you all the time/ I will never leave your mind," he threatens on a song called "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You".
Review Summary: Drake cries us a riverI probably have sat myself down around half a dozen times in an attempt to write something up for the latest Drake album, but there's something about Take Care that's making that impossible to do so. What is it? The fuck if I know, per se, but it keeps on growing with every spin that I give the album. It's something about Drake's over-emotional sob story.
Roger Cullman Drake describes his sophomore album as a tribute to his hometown from the point of view of someone who once felt like an "outsider looking in." Now that he's one of the most talked-about MCs in hip-hop, period, Toronto couldn't be more elated, and yet, an overwhelming sense of alienation and sadness dominates Take Care. It's an idiosyncratic, aggressively self-conscious and occasionally sentimental album, one that falls somewhere between languid, finger-snapping R&B and hip-hop braggadocio. Drake succeeds at giving the disc a sound all its own, distilling 90s R&B, Southern rap and soul influences into a beautifully realized mix of rumbling, low-end grooves and wistful introspective songwriting.
After the huge commercial and artistic success of his last album, Thank Me Later, Drake threatened/promised that his next album would be a straight-up R&B record that forsook rapping for vocals. The plan fell through, but his 2011 album Take Care has the feel of a late-night R&B album, full of slow tempos, muted textures, impassioned crooning, and an introspective tone that is only rarely punctured by aggressive tracks, boasts, and/or come-ons. For the most part, increased success hasn’t done much to improve Drake’s mood, as he details his failures at love, his worries about living a hollow life, and his general malaise.
For megalomaniac artists, writing a record is the perfect way to spiel all the dirty laundry without taking any responsibility. Drake, hip-hop’s quarter-aged wonder boy, is fast becoming a self-praising philanderer, the kind of guy who doesn’t see any reason to be apologetic to his girl because fame is his new game. To be fair, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – in the Toronto rapper’s vastly successful debut, Thank Me Later, his boastful flair documented the beginning of a rising artist who’s determined to hit iconic status.
In this moment, I feel like a proud parent whose bosom is swollen with the warmth of validation. Last year, actor-turned-rapper Drake dropped his eagerly anticipated debut album, Thank Me Later, a lackluster affair of tired hip-hop clichés, half-wrought emotional declarations, and bits and pieces of innovation too insubstantial to survive. Now, a year and a half later and with more miles under his high-priced Nikes, Drake returns with Take Care.
On paper, Drake does not look like the recipe for a successful rapper. He’s half-Jewish, a former child actor. His upbringing, especially compared to most rap artists, was not tough. And he’s Canadian. Despite what would be seen by most as shortcomings, in a brief three years Drake has managed ….
Drake’s Take Care is an album that can give a critic a headache. That’s not only because of how obvious it is that whatever one chooses to say about Take Care doesn’t matter in the faintest – the album has been a huge deal since its title was announced – but because the album is inscrutable, a glistening sports car with tinted windows and building-rattling bass, blazing past and leaving you gawking in its wake. Compared with last year’s equally opulent My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy--which not only invited the listeners deep into the warped lap of luxury but treated us as if we belonged there, as if we could identify with the foibles of porn-star-chasing and transatlantic private jetflights-- Take Care would rather give us the roped-off house tour.
Be honest—you don’t actually care what anyone else thinks about Drake, do you? Maybe you love Drake, maybe you hate him, but you’ve already heard every variation of the argument and have no interest in reconsidering your opinion. What you really want from Drake is more proof that you’re right, either in the form of an album so amazing that it silences his detractors or so terrible that it makes fools out of his fans. In reality, Take Care is neither of those things, and if the debates do eventually settle, it sure won’t be because of this album.
THE new kid is a bit of an oddball. He struggles to be heard and then to find his footing. He is jostled from every side, knocked off balance. He doesn’t give in. He holds his ground until suddenly, despite everyone’s efforts, he’s standing tall. He inches closer and closer to the center ….
Drake is here for the long run – and he’s already outrunning most. Mike Diver 2011 Just as CBeebies’ Rastamouse sets out to "make a bad ting good", Canadian rapper-cum-crooner Drake frequently makes an average thing brilliant. He’s not got the finest flow you’ll ever hear; his heartbroken lyricism on slow jams sits at jarring odds with bursts of clichéd braggadocio on bouncier cuts; and his story can’t hold a candle to that of mentor/collaborator/label boss Lil Wayne.
It’s hard to remember a time when Drake wasn’t worried sick about one thing or another. Starting with his first studio album, last year’s “Thank Me Later,’’ he has distinguished himself from other rappers by being ambivalent and elaborately conflicted about his success - by describing with enthusiasm how emotionally taxing it is being Drake. He’s always been the guy who said he wished he could have just gone to college instead of being famous - who asked, at 23 years old, during a duet with Jay-Z, “I keep thinking, how young can you die from old age?’’ Drake, real name Aubrey Graham, is 25 now.
Call Drake emotional. Say he sings too much. Characterize him as cocky. None of that has halted his ascent to the top of the charts. In fact, his ability to disarm any slights against him and internalize them has resulted in the 25-year-old’s becoming a leading voice across mainstream music. Now ….