“Find Your Love” (2010)
Drake was on the verge of dropping one of the year’s most anticipated albums, Thank Me Later, and still riding the wave from the album’s lead single, “Over,” when he dropped this mid-tempo R&B ballad. Its crooning shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it threw rap fans for a loop anyway. Was this hip hop? Was this R&B?
“Up All Night” (2010)
“Up All Night” is like a hit of cocaine: tinging with cold confidence, certain of its prowess. Having earned his place, on this song Drake takes pleasure in reaping the rewards of his new influence. He is waited on, the recipient of gifts: Kush rolled, glass full, I prefer the better things. If Sofia Coppola had made Marie Antoinette a decade later, “Up All Night” would have fit the film’s soundtrack perfectly.
Like Drake’s threatened voodoo for you bitches, producer Boi-1da’s swelling strings and sharp snares give the track a grim murkiness, as if foreboding the inevitable comedown after the night’s end. This only makes Drake’s swagger feel more defiant: there’s a sense not of living large despite the consequences, but because you know you’ll regret it later.
So the party goes on, with Nicki Minaj as its featured guest of honor. If the Young Money golden duo were flirtatious on 2009’s “Bedrock,” then here they play sparring partners in a face-off of power and influence. Minaj checks off her million-dollar mixtape earnings, gift for bars, and good looks with relish. (Still quotable, ad infinitum: Fuck I look like, hoe/ I look like yes and you look like no.) She is rightly thrilled to make broke bitches as bitter as the lemon rind garnishing the Hennessy cocktail you picture her sipping. —OWEN MYERS