Album: Take Care
Label: Cash Money Records
Drake makes it look pretty lonely at the top with the artwork for his sophomore album Take Care. It also looks like the Toronto bred rapper/singer is deep in thought. Maybe he is thinking about how lonely he looks, or why he and Nicki Minaj don’t talk anymore. Perhaps he is pondering about all those rumors of him getting banged out by Chris Brown, or all the talk about him possibly leaving Young Money. In reality it’s probably none of those things, but whatever Drake does have on his mind, he’s bound to share it with listeners on Take Care, no matter how emotional or personal his thoughts may be. Some people confuse that honesty with softness, but when you’re an artist like Drake you are allowed to be as sensitive as you want, even if it may come across as soft at times. That is because Drake is not your traditional rapper; he is much more than that. His talents go way beyond just rapping and so does his sound. As a result his latest body of work is a collection of all different types of music, some rap, some pop and a lot of new age R&B. Take Care is definitely a step up from Drakes somewhat underachieving debut Thank Me Later, but Drizzy still has a little work to do before he can say he’s got that classic album under his belt.
Many of the emotions conveyed on the album art for Take Care are conveyed through the music as well. The loneliness Drake exhibits in the image above can be heard on the ex-lover drunk dial anthem “Marvin’s Room” while the success symbolized by all the gold items in the picture is conveyed through songs like “The Motto” featuring Lil Wayne and the albums first single “Headlines”. “Headlines” is an exceptional song that shows why Drake is in a class of his own as he alternates between spitting quality lyrics like “I had someone tell me I fell off ooh I needed that” to singing the songs more than catchy hook. He makes similar transitions on songs like “Practice” and “Make Me Proud” featuring Nicki Minaj who follows in Drakes footsteps by mixing her bars with a little singing of her own.
In addition to Nicki, Take Care includes a number of high profile features like Rihanna, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder and Andre 3000. Drake definitely benefits from their company, as many of the best songs on the album are the ones with guests. For example the highlight of “Crew Love” is hearing Drake’s fellow Canadian singer The Weekend do his thing on the hook and the best part about “The Real Her” is hearing 3 Stacks body his verse during the final minute of the track. The best joint on the project where Drake is riding solo is probably “Look What You’ve Done”. “Look What You’ve Done” contains a mellow piano beat that co exists pleasantly with Drakes personal lyrics that describe his relationship with his mother around the time that he was about to blow up.
Regarding production, Drake gets laced with solid beats from the likes of T-Minus, Boi-1da and Just Blaze but the vast majority of the tracks on Take Care were produced by Drakes long time collaborator Noah “40” Shebib. The lack of quality production was an issue on Drakes first album, so it’s good to see that 40 actually hooked his boy up with some decent beats this go round. However, none of 40’s beats on the album have anything on Just Blaze’s work on “Lord Knows” featuring Rick Ross. Just Blaze’s soulfully epic production on this one makes it a strong contender for the best joint on the album award, as do Drakes superb lyrics on the track. Drizzy uses “Lord Knows” as an opportunity to silence all those haters who perceive his sensitivity as softness by spitting “I’m hearing all of them jokes I know they trying to push me / I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy / Know that I don’t make music for n*ggas who don’t get pussy / So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me”.
One joint that the hip-hop heads definitely have to peep off Take Care is “HYFR” featuring Wayne. Like “Lord Knows” this is one of the few joints on the album where Drake is 100% on his rapping sh*t, no singing what so ever. However, if you’re looking to get serenaded by Drizzy Drake check out “Do It Wrong”. Drake rides that futuristic R&B wave on this one but gets help from an old school legend when Stevie Wonder blesses the track with one of his signature harmonica solos at the end of the song.
It’s clear that Drake has come along way in just one year as his work on Take Care makes listeners forget all about the fact that his first album was kind of a let down. Take Care is an above average body of work that at best flirts with the term classic but isn’t quite there yet. Also if the people at your local Best Buy or Wall Mart or wherever they sell CD’s now a days were to categorize this album strictly based on sound, then you would be able to find it in the R&B isle just as easily as the Hip-Hop/Rap section. Although Drake might be looking hella sad on the cover of Take Care, in reality he’s probably got that wheelchair Jimmy grin on his face because the man definitely knows that he made a really enjoyable album.