Article by Simply Phillip Brown
Drake could have employed a surefire strategy of platinum producers, staggered singles and aggressive promotion to help ensure that his new album, “Take Care,” would avoid the sophomore slump. Given the pomp and hype the 25-year-old has amassed over his abbreviated career, such an assault was certainly expected. Instead, the Canadian rapper-singer has taken a decidedly low-key approach to rolling out his new disc.
Drake recorded “Take Care” largely in his own home studio in Toronto instead of New York or L.A., offered no advance listens and restricted both his live performances and press — something only rap veterans such as Jay-Z and Kanye West can pull off these days. No matter how popular rap’s newest star may be, the move is very risky.
Thing is, when the hype surrounding you is so huge, being “good” isn’t even good enough anymore. People begin to expect greatness every single time out and that’s tough to do for any artist or professional at what they do. To a kid that has made straight A’s their entire life; a B is almost seen as a failure in the eyes of some. You get the point.
The album is rumored to be released in three versions: the Standard edition, the Birthday edition and the OG Ron C edition. Singles “Headlines” and “Make Me Proud” preceded the album’s release, each attaining chart success on the Billboard Hot 100. All in all, the album is decent and very professionally crafted. Hopefully his next cd is a little more freewheeling and lets more of her personality shine through.
Here is my take on the overall album song by song.
1.) “Over My Dead Body” – 7/10 – is a welcome opener with its superb production work and smart songwriting. The explicit side of Drake truly unveils itself with this effort, whether it be his transition to adulthood or sheer youthful rebelliousness.
2.) “Shot for me” – 9/10 – is the better cut, contrasting anything else on the album at this point. Here, Drake vocally, is `on point’ by a mile!
3.) “Headlines” – 8/10 – Produced by Boi-1da and Noah 40 Shebib. Good track. Not exactly my favorite on the album, but it’s still got fire lyrics and a great hook and beat.
4.) “Crew Love (f/ The Weekend)” – 9/10 – this proves to be yet another beautiful track. Sure it is somewhat sleepy (though atmospheric and beautiful), but with the stripped production, the lyrics become that much more depth-filled and meaningful, so I must give kudos to Drake’s, judgment, The Weekend’s vocal performance, and the overall ‘telling’ songwriting. This song does just enough and the subtlety is very much appreciated.
5.) “Take Care (f/ Rihanna)” – 4/10 – This track sticks out on this album like a sore thumb. It just doesn’t fit in AT ALL with the rest of this album.
6.) “Marvin’s Room / Buried Alive Interlude” – 10/10 – Loaded with bass and staccato drums, this is a track to blast the bass on your system. I could not be more pleased with his effort on “Marvin’s Room” and the “Buried Alive Interlude”.
7.) “Under Ground Kings” – 3/10 – This track is a bit of a letdown. It’s repetitive subject matter.
8.) “We’ll be Fine” – 6/10 – This track is great, however, I feel that its stay-power will fade as the hook can be annoying after awhile.
9.) “Make Me Proud (f/ Nicki Minaj)” – 3/10 – Amazing Song. I can “feel” this song. Some songs do that to you. You just “feel” it. Solid verses from Nicki.
10.) “Lord Knows (f/ Rick Ross)” – 3/10 – Lord Knows I love Drake but not this song.
11.) “Cameras / Good Ones Go Interlude” – 8/10 – This track is so classic. The production is on point and of course Drake is true to self lyric wise.
12.) “Doing It Wrong” – 6/10 – This track captures the complex and unpredictable emotions that accompany intimacy, desire and alienation.
13.) “The Real Her (f/ Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne)” – 3/10 – is certainly the album’s oddity, finding Drake rapping alongside the hip-hop elite Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne.
14.) ” HYFR (Hell Ya Fu**in Right)” – 6/10 – This song succeeds anything Drake has done in the past (in my opinion) because he sounds so MATURE (something we haven’t heard from him in a LONG time), so passionate in the lyrics.
15.) “Look What You’ve Done” – 6/10 – A nice change of pace from the direction the album was going in. It is exactly what you think it is.
16.) ” Practice” – 6/10 – Alternating between expressions of insecurity and brash self-assuredness, Drake is at his best here.
17.) “The Ride” – 6/10 – This is a great example of Drake’s true lyrical artistry.
18.) “Hate Sleeping Alone” – 6/10 – This track had to grow on me, but when it did I fell in love with it.
19.) “Untitled (f/ Lil Wayne)” – 3/10 – I skipped this particular track and with good reason. Definetely not a favorite of mine.
Stand out tracks for me.
“Cameras / Good Ones Go Interlude” – 8/10 – Drake did his thing on this track.
“The Ride” – 6/10 – Catchy. I love it!
The other tracks are decent. If I could more accurately rate the album, I would give it a 8.5 (4 for production and 4.5 for lyrics) due to the massive hype and praise. I was honestly expecting nothing less than perfection, but a B will do. Disregard any reviews that gave this album a lesser score, be real, they couldn’t have listened to the entire album.
Overall, “Take Care” is a fine effort. The first half of the album is the most effective, though there are no outright missteps. By all means, this effort eclipses the ill-suiting “Thank Me Later”, which is a huge step in the right direction for Drake. Fans should be overall pleased with Drake’s second studio effort. I know I am.