Written by Traysay8
The album explores topics familiar to Drake: success, failure, love, change, and weed. Though a basic pool of topics to pull from, Drake constructs stories with a unique mix of singing and flowing, creating a body of work that ranges many emotions effortlessly. Drake’s debut album features a long list of celeb features. The album opens with the Alicia Keys-assisted “Fireworks.” The production is clever yet expected. Drake introduces the album with his most common theme, love and fame. The song is beautiful and airy. Word on the street is the second verse is dedicated to Rihanna. “Karaoke” revisits the theme of love, but specifically about love lost. He flexes some of his lyrical ability beautifully on this track. I wonder if this song is about the famed “Alicia.” The production of the album continues to sound more like picks for the next Sade album. A compliment, I am sure for Drake who has made it no secret he is a huge fan of Sade. The next track, “The Resistance,” features a tale of betrayal and lost love. The lead single, “Over” follows seamlessly. The tone of the album remains the same up until the next track, “Show Me a Good Time,” in which the background production reminds me of old school house music from Chicago. The theme has not altered though. Drake still explores the same story of success and the reaction of his old and new friends.
The more “typical” hip-hop tracks make an appearance in the second half of the album. “Up All Night” featuring Drake’s label mate, Nicki Minaj, ushers in the more familiar side of Drake. I find that Drake is quite successful when sharing the track with other artists. “Fancy” follows. Swizz Beats normally brings excitement to an album, but this track lacks any real energy. Despite the verse from T.I., I find this track hard to accept as a part of Drake’s debut album. He delivers an honest effort and the last two minutes are the standout portion of the song. It may have been better suited as a feature track on the “Fu*k a Mixtape” release from T.I.
The quality of the album picks up dramatically. One of the standout tracks by far, “Shut It Down” has improved dramatically from its original leaked version. The production includes more layers than the original, unmasterd release. The Dream and Drake both have added new verses and there is even a surprise in the last minute and half of the track. I appreciate the unexpected. Another great track, in regards to production and feature, is “Unforgettable” featuring Jeezy. The song opens with sweet a sample of Aaliyah’s “At Your Best.” Drake boasts this is “one of his dumbest flows ever” but Jeezy is the standout with lines like “I’ve done everything in the A but fuck Chili.”
Continuing the theme of excellent features, “Light Up” includes a great verse from Jay-Z. The Drake that fans know and love has reemerged to go toe-to-toe with Jay-Z in two great verses from the lyrical geniuses. Drake’s verse on this song is easily the best on the album. In addition, Jay-Z delivers a great quotable verse full of caution. “Miss Me” has been floating around the net, with and without the Lil’ Wayne feature. It is still a solid track and great follow up to the previous track. “CeCe’s Interlude” is a personal love letter to some phantom chick Drake knew and I find it to be a departure in sound from the rest of the album, well at least the latter half. “Find Your Love” follows with the 808s and Heartbreak-esque sound. The album closes with “Thank Me Now.” I find it a great way to end an album. It feels like a swan song. But is it the perfect way to end this album? I’m not quite sure. But he revisits his common theme of success.
In conclusion, Thank Me Later feels like a hodgepodge of songs where Drake includes a random mix of production and thoughts to appeal to the largest audience possible. Certified classic status?? Not so much. Solid album?? Indeed. At the end of the day, it’s the summertime and I want loud sounds and music I can dance to. This album is more appropriate for a late fall, early winter release. If the album would’ve have been released around Valentine’s Day like originally scheduled, I would find the theme and feel of the album more appropriate.
Standout tracks: “Fireworks,” “Over,” “Shut It Down,” “Light Up”