Alongside chief collaborator Noah ‘40’ Shebib, the just-leaked Take Care represents the culmination of everything Drake has done to this point, a career that already spans dozens of hits and a stranglehold on influential radio stations like Hot 97. Though the Twitter hordes keep stacking Take Care up against Jay-Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne, itself already a contemporary monument to rap world spoils and sufferings, Take Care’s more immediate comparison is West’s 2010 opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Both records are expansive and, in a sense, experimental; both artists create a sonic world that showcases their strength and make manifest their artistic headspaces. Both albums feature top-notch guest spots, whether it’s a goosebump-inducing intro to Nicki Minaj on Kanye’s “Monster” or a brilliant appearance from Andre 3000 on Drake’s “The Real Her.” Both records, interestingly, feature work by the late Gil Scott-Heron and by nature make use of obscure, but invaluable samples (Chase N Cache’s use of a Static Major rehearsal video for “Look What You’ve Done” sticking out most prominently, as well as 40’s work in general). And, like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Take Care is quite possibly the best record of the year.

A few days ago I met Drake in the dining room of a high-end luxury hotel in Midtown. The Drake you know from “I’m On One” and “Best I Ever Had” is the same Drake who’s badgering his manager for a Blackberry battery; like West, Drake is the openest of open books. Drake smiles, touches your arm when he talks to you, waits a beat to answer your question, accentuates phrases with his hands, perpetually mugging. He’s the consummate charmer. As we sometimes do, here Drake is the subject of a Stereogum Q&A.

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