Forget baseball, football, or watching porn, America’s true favorite pastime is placing idols on a golden, untouchable pedestal, and then tearing them down once they start to crack under the weight of our outrageous demands. We insist that our idols deliver us to heaven, and then demand blood when we still find ourselves still Earth-bound. Frankly, it’s what we do best.
There are only an extraordinarily small handful of albums that deserve an introduction like that. (Sit down Khaled, I’m talking about Tha Carter III, Graffiti and The Blueprint 3, not We the Best Vol. 97.) And now, finally, we can add Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later to that vaunted list.
As Aubrey Drake Graham catapulted from Canadian teen television heartthrob to hip-hop superstar we piled more and more expectations onto his young shoulders. Drake’s debut album would simultaneously be a rap classic, a r&b classic and pop classic. Drake’s debut album would singlehandedly rescue an entire, fundamentally broken music industry. Drake’s debut album would cure cancer and, just because he was bored and feeling generous, herpes. If these were our expectations of the 24-year-old, and they were, then he has failed us. Let the public whipping commence. Continue reading →
I feel sorry for Drake. I really do. I mean, this kid came out a few years ago and was the toast of the Hip Hop town. Everyone loved his mixtapes, guys quoted his punches and praised his ear for beats, and females dug the singy-song thing he had going on. Then to top it off, he had Lil’ Wayne (only the largest artist of the last two years) in his corner.
He was in the most envious position of any new artist in history. HISTORY. But you’d know NONE of this if you were on twitter the day his album leaked. He was getting trashed left and right. I was really astounded by how few people were feeling the album. I couldn’t understand it at all. But this is nothing new. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times. Fans turn on artists quicker than they can take a shower and change their draws. The only flaw in the logic of these fans (and I use the term loosely) is “Thank Me Later” wound up being an improvement over “So Far Gone”, the mixtape that shot Drake into superstardom.
Let’s be clear, tho. This album isn’t perfect, nor do I think it’s close to being the “classic” that a lot of people were hoping for. While “Find Your Love” is a great example of what Drake can do when he’s not rapping, “Shut It Down” and “Karaoke” are great examples of what can go wrong. Those songs are not really fun to listen. “Shut It Down” fails because it also features The Dream, a dude who ain’t exactly the best singer on the planet. So now we have two dudes who can’t really sing trying to sing a full, 7 minute R&B song. Do. Not. Want. Continue reading →
I guess Drake is pretty big these days. I was talking about Drake on this blog AGES before he blew up. I am not bragging either – I lived in Toronto at the time and had my ear to the streets…and by streets I mean the internets. So I heard and was following this guy before So Far Gone really launched him into the “next best thing”
I probably played So Far Gone more than any album last year. I know it was just a mixtape but it still got played more than any actual retail album I heard.
Here is my concern about Thank Me Later – I don’t care what people say – Drake can spit. Period. But will he? Will this album be introspective like his song Fear? Will he kill the raps like he did on Comeback Season? Will he reach a healthy balance between spitting fire and singing like on So Far Gone? Or is this just a complete stab at commercial success and it will be full of 14 “Best I Ever Had’s”? Continue reading →
I’ve been a huge Drake fan before he was Drake, when he was just Jimmy… yes even before he was “Wheel Chair Jimmy.” I remember pivotal moments in my youth where I would look at Jimmy on Degrassi and think I wanted to have the same relationship that him and Ashley had, and how his mixed hair was so cute. I feel responsible for putting a lot of people onto Drake because when I heard his first mixtape Room For Improvement, I was like dang, Jimmy can flow too. Then I listened to Comeback Season, and I was like gosh he’s sick, plus he had to stamp of approval from Phonte (Little Brother one of my favorite groups), plus Elzhi from Slum Village and Dwele. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll educate you now, here’s Drake, “Think Good Thoughts,” probably my favorite Drake song of all time aside from “Come Winter” from Room For Improvement.
Then everyone got into Drake with So Far Gone, and his affiliation with Young Money, securing love and hate which is inevitable as an artist—he even got love from some heavy weights in hip-hop: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Timberland and etc, plus Lykke Li. With that being said, his debut album Thank Me Later, is entering stores June 15th but it’s leaked already and I’m guilty of downloading it—I really will buy it just because I support his work ethic, but I will say I had much higher hopes for this album. Continue reading →
Few debut albums have been as eagerly anticipated as Drake’s. Critics, fans, and even artists have been patiently waiting for the debut album from “the future of hip-hop.” Unfortunately, Thank Me Later suffered the same fate that so many modern rap albums have, it leaked. It started with a few tracks and here and there. Before you knew it, there was more than half the album available. The entire album quickly followed. Hence my ability to give a premature review of Thank Me Later.
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. Continue reading →
In hip-hop, the only way to trump the inviolable law of Keeping It Real is to establish a whole new reality.
That’s why Drake, a Canadian actor turned surprise rap phenom, has emerged as the genre’s new leading man, steering hip-hop out of the streets and into the emotive headspace of information-age isolation. It was a frontier first explored by Kanye West with his 2008 masterstroke “808s & Heartbreak.” Now, Drake’s arresting new album, “Thank Me Later,” follows through on West’s heavy-hearted promise. With penetrating lyricism and arresting melodies, it’s a truly captivating debut – a rookie’s ticket into the 21st century pop pantheon.
For most fans, hip-hop has always provided a glimpse of urban reality, seemingly unfiltered. Drake explores a terrain both more rarefied and more familiar: global celebrity. He doesn’t rap about street life, thug life or even club life. He raps about emotions – the clashing panoply of feelings that come with an unquenchable thirst for fame and the untenable romances that follow.
How can a 23-year-old possess such an aversion to stardom before his first album even hits shelves? Because he’s already a star. Before dropping his first mixtape in 2006, Aubrey Drake Graham made his name on television, playing teen athlete Jimmy Brooks on the corny Canadian drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” The heartthrob eventually earned his bona fides in the rap world under the wing of Lil Wayne – and proved himself an apt pupil with a spate of mixtape cuts (“Best I Ever Had,” “Successful,” “Forever”) that began to coat American airwaves and bandwidth last summer. Continue reading →
For most of the last decade, major-label rappers extolled the virtues of the “good life,” a sentiment best expressed by the Champagne-sipping Kanye West single of the same name. The vanguards of the next generation seem determined to convey the exact opposite: the perils of being young, gifted and miserable. This is the conflict at the core of 23-year-old Drake’s debut album, “Thank Me Later” — how to reconcile fame and fortune with the aggravations of living in the public eye. Written by Jeff Weiss
Like his peer Kid Cudi, the Toronto rapper-singer born Aubrey Graham uses West as his central aural and emotive influence (West produces the tracks “Show Me a Good Time” and “Find Your Love”). Ignoring West’s celebratory side, Drake continues where “808s & Heartbreak” left off, in search of anthems for the easily alienated. Continue reading →
Drake sings or raps the word “I” 410 times on his debut album. Even in the realm of hip-hop– a style famous for its unswerving solipsism– this is a feat. For comparison’s sake, noted mirror watcher Kanye West managed to work only 220 “I”‘s into the verses and hooks of his big break, The College Dropout. Illmatic; 210. Reasonable Doubt; 240. With Thank Me Later, Drake attempts to enter the pantheon of those rap game-busters by the sheer force of first person singular pronouns. All eyes are on him– especially his own. But considering this mixed race, half-Jewish, all-Canadian “Degrassi: The Next Generation” alum looks and sounds unlike any major rap star before him, betting the house on nothing but himself turns out to be a wise gamble.
Drake is the guy you get drinks with who talks about himself for a few hours– if you’re lucky, he might ask you for advice on one or two things. But this is OK because Drake’s stories are better than yours. Like the one about how Lil Wayne befriended and signed him at the height of Weezy’s powers. Or how he got with Rihanna last year. Or that time he flashed from a Toronto has-been to a top-flight hit maker off the strength of a self-released mixtape. Of course, there’s the classic about sipping a few too many glasses of Ace of Spades and asking Nicki Minaj to marry him. Sounds like a sweet existence.
Drake has nearly 650,000 followers on Twitter, 225,000 fans on Facebook and 31 million page views on MySpace. But for every fan the young vocalist has garnered, he’s also found a hater. And understandably so as the 23-year-old actor-turned-MC has never shied away from displaying his affluence, his privileged upbringing, or flaunting and flossing every last bit of it. Oh, and he’s done all of this while also occasionally lapsing into near Kanye West levels of egotism, “And Toronto, they say, is the Screwface capital. They say it’s a city of hate, we’ve never really had that icon, someone where we can say, that’s our hometown hero. I’m not saying I am that guy yet, but I think that I’m well on my way.” That quote is from an interview with Complex, early in 2009, mere days after his So Far Gone mixtape had been released.