Drake‘s sophomore album certainly lives up to its name. ‘Take Care’ proves to all listeners that Drake has really taken care with this project. Given a delayed release date of November 15th fans expectations were drastically elevated but Drake certainly did lift this project to worrying heights for his competitors. Drake describes himself as ‘conversational artist’ and we definitely think Drake has had some interesting conversations. Tapping into the untouched darkness of a man’s emotion is where Drake’s prowess is found, usually verbalizing what every man thinks but is either too scared or too worried to express.
We start with ‘Over My Dead Body‘ immediately entering the world of Drake, with soft piano chords cushioned by a steady filtered beat where a female sampled vocal leads the hook. Drake immediately touches on ‘Find Your Love’ model Maliah Michel claiming he thought she was the girl of his dreams, but we know that never worked. Instrumentally ’40’ has provided Drake with a door of honesty and humbleness to spit his verses over, which adds to his meaningful words. This track really delivers to listeners where Drake believes he is now is, telling us a story of his thoughts, from the joy of being taxed six figures to the feeling of ‘killing everybody in the game last year’ the most iconic line being “I think maybe I was numb to it last year, but you know I feel it now more than ever” highlighting the chronic effect of fame and fortune.
‘Shot For Me‘, for the first time we get to see the fruits of Drake’s vocal talent, immediately entering the song with a more high pitched approached, most likely influenced by Abel Tesfaye, better know as ‘The Weeknd’. Drake juxtaposes our views by arrogantly yet softly telling the girls in question ‘Alicia’ and ‘Catya’ that nobody will ever give them what he did. He enforces regret on them, and definitely shows his dominance expressing his bravado by stating that he is ‘the man’ “Bitch I’m the man, yeah i said it, I’m the man”. Telling them that he is written all over the girls, and reminding them that they are listening to him because he knows they are going to hear this. The hook relates to Drake demanding they take a ‘shot’ for him, for the simple reason that he’s made it and they let him go. Drake’s retro style singing is a charming and modest approach to express his vocal talent, as he has stated many times that he is not the greatest of singers, however he overpowers the listener with outstanding melodies that will stick in their minds and are likely to be sung or repeated by the individual, music is easier to relate to if one can regurgitate what is being said, and Drake utilizes this in all of his songs. He is just simply a relative artist, and nobody ooo’s and ahhh’s better than him, no homo.
‘Headlines‘ did make headlines when it was one of the first songs confirmed for the album. The song had dropped after a long break from Drake’s releases as he began to take time crafting ‘Take Care’ and the track is definitely a more uplifting, feel good song with an irresistibly catchy hook. Drake’s rapping ability is intertwined with singing over a constant kick and snare, definitely a melodious rap song. Drake expresses how he has been “overdosed on compliments” after rising to stardom and this has lead to him forgetting the consequences of falling of guard, and this song is really a wake up call after his long absence, “I had someone tell me i fell of, ooh I needed that”. Headlines being an alteration from the norm had certainly caught the attention of many, and again reinstated Drake’s versatility and why he brings a new breed of hip-hop to the table.
‘Crew Love‘. Drizzy certainly has love for his crew allowing ‘The Weeknd’ to pretty much embody a whole track to himself, that’s crew love for ya. Compared to the likes of Michael Jackson ‘The Weeknd’s’ majestic voice flourishes throughout the track, telling the girl why she’s looking at him when there is a room full of compatriots, the moody angelic voice goes on to show a sense of rejection and confusion towards a girl who is showing interest. ‘The Weeknd’ has really taken this opportunity to be globally heard via ‘Take Care’. Musically we have an interesting mix of a relaxing sensation of mild kicks and snares with a sudden dance banger interlude, which works incredibly well. Drake comes in with a rap verse expressing his dreams of studying at Harvard, claiming he will never know what Harvard would get him, but that thought is fully washed away by the reality of him and his family having everything, therefore the dream of” diplomas on the wall” is no longer relevant, and regardless he really likes who he is becoming…
‘Take Care‘. I’ve read this a straight sample of Gill-Scott Heron’s “I’ll take care of you.” I’m not sure if that’s true, and right now I can’t be bothered to find out if it is. However I do know the late Heron does appear on the track, in what I think is the only blemish on a beautiful pop record. With Drizzy pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and really stepping into the mainstream. In what seems like the ‘Find Your Love’ of your Take Care, Drake teams up with Rihanna, in a track produced by Jamie Smith of The XX, (a UK house group) in place of ‘Find Your Love’s Kanye West. The result is a track almost certain to be a single release, and most likely a number one at that.
‘Marvin’s Room‘. Possibly one of the most iconic tracks on the album, bringing a new breed of music on the scene. In this emotionally orientated track Drake’s vents about how a girl has moved on and found somebody else, but yet he believes he thinks she “could do better” and assures himself she reminisces about him just as much as he does for her. This drunken masterpiece goes on to give the most genius of hooks, stating two vile words to describe her new found love in the most sweet and soft way a man can conjure up. Drake sure knows how to get the ladies to sympathise for him, without losing his masculinity, could this prove Drake to be an intellectual player? No. Drake is merely being honest, feeling hatred for this new man and annoyance at the fact she is with someone else, but the more predominant feeling is sadness and depression and this is delivered in this highly melodious yet vocally modest song. Rapping a verse about parties and ‘bitches’ then abruptly towards the desire for the girl to talk to him truly brings out Drake’s honesty and feelings, which all men will feel, but some just don’t say it, we all need a woman in our lives, without them we “don’t have much to believe in”.
‘Buried Alive (Interlude)‘. Not actually being a Drake track merely an interlude rap from Drake’s good friend Kendrick Lamar, Drake gives another friend a chance to stand out, same goes for crew love, Kendrick Lamar raps with a flow very reminiscent to Kid Cudi over a very bassy simple beat…
‘Underground Kings‘. Welcome home Drizzy! Drake goes back to his routes and tells us where and why it all came from. “Got rich off a mix tape”, is his success in a nutshell. Underground Kings feels like the sort of track that Drake would love to perform for his hometown as he accolades his town and claims he does it for city in a ‘cool’ G hook. Drake goes on tell us that the girl’s like the stereotypical fruits of a rapper, and he believes that staying in school will never get him a rappers fame and fortune, therefore he dropped out, he took a risk, and had to prove he made the decision, don’t worry Drake we know you did.
‘We’ll be fine‘. Drake can pretty much be rolling around in money for the music video for this track. This song highlights Drake’s fortune and his luxurious life, “Always presidential and tonight is no blue moon”. With a hook reminiscent of melodies from ‘Lets call it off’ ft Peter Bjorn, Drake asks “Are you down, are you down, are you all the way down”, ladies take that as a hint.
‘Make Me Proud‘. I have some strange feeling Drake likes Nicki Minaj, first the twitter marriage and now this! Perhaps this track gives that away! This is a track for the ladies, and how great they are, and every man should be proud of their girl, “Im so, I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you” says Drake over a T-Minus banger. Nicki Minaj does her thing, with an interesting melody incorporated into her rap, perhaps influenced by Drake? Who knows…What we do know is that this track will definitely be a hit, a certain club tune, with massively bassy kicks and snares throughout, this track takes you a little bit out of the ‘Take Care’ story however, but we can’t be gloomy all the time right? Some girls just do it for ya!
‘Lord Knows‘. EPIC. This track has an incredibly epic feel throughout with an almost church like choir opening the song, with there ahhh’s and ooo’s! Drake talks about being compared to the greats but questions if they could manipulate the game and run it for the current generation “They take the greats from the past and compare us, I wonder if they’d ever survive in this era”. Drizzy shouts to haters that they won’t criticise his flows because they know he runs that, and he finally addresses the claims that he is overly emotional saying “I know that they trying to push me, I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy”. And your right Drake it doesn’t, it just makes people think you are, but i think it takes more strength to expose your weaknesses! So keep rapping that shit because we real men can relate. Rick Ross ‘BOSSED’ this track with a hilariously ironic line “Only fat nigga in the sauna with Jews”. Hah, because your fat, and Drake’s a Jew, haha genius! That sounded sarcastic…but that truly is a witty line there Rosay, much respect. One more thing, Rick Ross your a boss an everything, but what is your obsession with fornication?……’LORD KNOWS’!
‘Cameras/Good ones go interlude‘. Tony montana, tony montana….sorry i mean ‘only on camera’, in a song about deception, Drake delivers a hook extremely reminiscent of Futures song Tony Montana, youtube it, it sucks. But Drake did a good job of manipulating that into his song, if that is what he did, or its just pure coincidence. Drake ‘rappysings’ about doing things only for the cameras like caring, and looking like he’s in love, probably what he’s been doing with Rihanna. ‘Good ones go, interlude’. This is incredible. Drake’s vocal ability has massively improved from ‘Thank Me Later’ and sounds very influenced by ‘The Weeknd’ as he now tends to sing in a more consistent higher note. Drake sings about how the good girls always go, and how he is busy with himself, but wants to be with this girl. He elegantly expresses to the girl the real situation and his feelings “Don’t you got getting married, don’t you go get engaged, i know your getting older, don’t have no time to waste, i shouldn’t be much longer, but you shouldn’t have to wait, can’t lose you, can’t help it, I’m so sorry I’m so selfish”. Drake i think the girl is gonna bloody wait after that, you old charmer you! “When its all done baby, I’m still around”, he wittily adds. She’s probably still waiting Drake. Even I’m waiting now…for your next album of course, not you, because I’m not gay. But if i were….
‘Doing It Wrong‘. One of the most moving songs of the century! Drake touches on our generations lack of true ‘love’ and ‘togetherness’. Drake expresses himself to a girl who loves him, but he doesn’t truly love her, so he is honest about it, rather than faking love for social acceptance. So he tells her to “Cry if you need to, but i can’t stay to watch you, thats the wrong thing to do”. Which it sure is, you can’t commit yourself to something that’s not real. Well done Drake, your openly closing the circle of deception! …See what I did there, ahh yes, moving on to Stevie ‘the’ Wonder, the magician of music. The musical prodigy compliments Drake’s teary vocals with an even more teary musical harmonica solo, not actually singing on the track however. But i think its safe to say he must have had some input on the production as Drake had previously mentioned. But yes, the most heartfelt track on the album, and this again demonstrates Drake’s versatility.
‘The Real Her‘. I don’t know if any of you remember, but the first time this song was previewed was on a T-Rexx interview back in the year, where Drake sang the chorus over ‘40’ playing the piano. The song opens with a smooth compliment to ‘The Real Her’ by saying “People around you should really have nothing to say, me I’m just proud of the fact that you’ve done it your way. The song goes to on to speak of a girl who Drake feels a sense of familiarity to, he believes this is the right girl for him and she almost resembles him in female form. Drake shows of his smooth R&B vocals once again, with an incredibly catchy hook, and consistently charming vocals, keeping it ‘G’ however, very reminiscent of Drake’s role model ‘Aliyah’. Lil Wayne goes in on a rap verse talking about a one night stand, which he can’t stop ‘Stevie Wondering’ about, however Wayne’s vocals do seem a little bit off on this track, but he can get away it. Andre 3000, possibly the first thing he’s done after ‘Hey Ya’ with Outkast, back in the days! Well my days, I’m only eighteen. The fact that Drake could even get this man on a record is an achievement in itself. Andre, raps about depressing days “listening to Adele, and being sad as hell”. He talks about the girl being his addiction, and of course, bitches having rabies.
‘Look What You’ve Done‘. Drake spills out on his family. Making direct references to his mother, when she told him that he is like his father, which is allegedly his one button, and she pushed it. Drake claims that he may not have worked so hard if his mother was healthy, the harsh reality of Drake’s motive. Easing away from the guilt Drake says “it all worked out girl we should’ve know, because you deserve it”. Drake talks about his dad’s struggle to pay for his child support, and ironically tells the listener when he reaches his peak of emotional thinking “boo hoo, sad story, black american dad story”. Drake tells us how his uncle stepped into a fatherly role as his dad walked out, saying that he calmed him down when he lost it, and told him that whether he pursues acting or music, he will still eventually be a star. Drake then tops it off saying he’s returned all the money support back to his bank, and how it’s all worked out and he deserves it. The track ends with a timely fitting voicemail from Drake’s grandmother, asking God to bless him, and that she’s grateful for his help. Truly it seems, that Drake has made his family proud.
‘HYFR‘. A little insight into what could’ve been…after Drake decided to cancel his joint album with Lil Wayne. This track is probably a very good reflection of what these two are capable of producing together. A truly anger venting song, with an explicitly catchy and whiny hook! Drake again shows his prowess as a conversational artist with a breathtaking flurry of lines which last for 24 seconds, of what he and a girl had spoke about it and their exchange of text messages. Drake shows his versatility of talent as he usually allows listeners to digest his lyrics with more steady flows, but this truly demonstrates his variety of talent. Weezy goes in talking about his usual experience with girls, for example eating them at the dinner table and giving them pills. All joking aside Wayne comically spits about the desire this girl has for him and that she wishes he was normal so that she wasn’t so in love. Drake ends the song by having a stab at the hook, vocally sounding sweeter, but definitely Wayne’s voice suited more to the meaning of the track.
‘Practice‘. Juvenile’s ‘Back that ass up’ has been re-mastered into a phenomenal R&B hit! This takes pure genius, to incorporate so much melody into a rather simple hook to begin with. Drake talks about a girl he believes has been practicing with all the other the men just so that he can tell her to “back that ass up” and call him big daddy. NICE. Such an in your face track, but its the ironic honesty of Drake that makes this song so unbelievably good, he truly plays on his desires and delivers them in a melodious yet ‘Gangsta’ format.
‘The Motto’. YOLO. Bit of a club banger this one. Rapped over a simple T-Minus beat, which is gifting to spit over. Drake basically brags about his life, and keeps a consistent flow. Maybe this was a vector for Drake to prove that he can go into a track without melody and plainly spit, but unfortunately that’s what the track slightly was, plain. Not a bad track, but in comparison to the genius heard on this album, there are question marks on the meaning of this track, which is most likely to be the reason why it was a bonus track. Seems like he was just getting his motto out and about, and I guess you don’t have many chances to just make a track and simply go in and come out, after all you only live once.
‘Hate Sleeping Alone’. A very traditional Drake style track, with emotionally orientated verses, and sung hook. Drake is truly honest on this track, he tells the girl that he would rather be with her, but she isn’t around, that’s what forces him to call someone else, because he hates sleeping alone, and when they do have time, they don’t even show affection, which makes Drake crave it even more, its not just Drake who feels like this, its men, so I’m sure the guys who are brave enough to admit it, will truly empathize with this track. It sounds from this track that the relationship with the girl was already edgy as he mentions in the first verse that she told him he isn’t shit, and in the second verse he says that she told him he never learns, and also goes on to say “How dare you say it’s tougher for you” meaning he is tired of her acting like she’s the only one finding this hard. Drake we feel you on this one, once again your honesty is what makes your music so relative, and your melodious vocal incorporation is what makes us emotionally connect with you, well done.
‘The Ride‘. Drake’s main harmony man, The Weeknd returns, for an eerily fitting round off to the album. So much of what was said about Take Care, before the launch, often by Drake himself, was that the feel of this LP would be different to Thank Me Later. Drizzy is supposedly in a place where he’s comfortable with the world around him, and in a happier place, but this last song shows that really nothing’s changed. “The Ride. Why won’t it stop?” We feel ya Drizzy, (even though you hate that) but if you’re gonna keep making music like this, long may it continue.
Drake has truly delivered a masterpiece, an album that will live on as part of his story, we now know more about Drake than we ever have. Drake has delivered excellent rapping ability, with meaning, versatile flows, and true emotion. His singing attribute has massively improved, and he truly has a formula for hitting our hearts. With some truly respectable rap songs, that even the all the time greats will be proud of, and some incredibly mastered R&B tracks that surpass those who make R&B alone. Drake has proven why he is different from every other hip-hop artist as he brings an array of talent that will appeal to everybody, with an album that has stepped up ten times from ‘So Far Gone’ the mixtape that made his name, and now Take Care that album that sets his name in stone. Drake has truly taken care, and I relish the thought of what is still to come, until next time ‘Take Care’ as his Junior and Senior will only get meaner.
By: Yasir Rahman