The radio sucks. Plain and simple. Most of the music that is on the radio is either overplayed, twenty years old, or very, very bad. That’s why in 2010 Drake was mainstream hip-hop’s saving grace. He brought back a smoothness that no one thought was even allowed on the radio anymore. His album, which was both a critical and commercial success, spawned several hits that received an endless amount of airplay. Drake was the best new rapper of 2010.
Now it’s 2011 and it’s time to see if his sophomore album will live up to the hype. Take Care, which was announced a few months back, has been able to generate a lot of buzz. In an era of constant pirating and hateful rambling in the internet community, this was a refreshing change of pace. Everything looked fine and dandy until the album was inevitably leaked a week before its initial release (which is how I heard it). Drake found out about the incident rather quickly, and in some ways I feel like her inadvertently advertised the fact that it was in fact leaked. Regardless, he was very understanding and mature about it, simply saying via Twitter, “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time.” The way that he so humbly addresses something so seriously is astounding in an industry of show-offs and prima donnas.
As for the album itself, in comparison to 2010’s Thank Me Later, Take Care takes a much more downbeat and almost R&B approach to rap, crafting hits that R. Kelly might have been pumping out in ’91. Much like its cover, Take Care is a sad album among many things, speaking to the inner hormonal child in all of us. Some of the problems that Drake speaks about come off as juvenile, but his clever wordplay and seductive voice hide the fact that it’s so damn whiny.
Lyrically, the album rambles on and seems to have literally no direction whatsoever, which is a shame considering how well crafted Thank Me Later was. Take Care is really just a well-crafted mixtape more than anything, the instrumentals sounding amateurish, and Drake himself sounding like he’s about to kill himself. At 18 tracks, Take Care seems like more of a chore than an experience. By the end of the first half I began to fall asleep, despite doing a lot of other things at the same time. I was hoping that some divine miracle may occur, and the second half would be the album I was expecting. But, alas, this was not the case. It turned out to be simply a larger compilation of more tales of submission and heartache.
Another thing I want to bring up is Drake’s borderline obsession with Nicki Minaj. He’s obviously crazy for her, and it’s starting to become a little childish. On the album’s second single, Make Me Proud, Drake basically raps more about how much he loves Nicki and how proud of her he is. After hearing an inspired performance of it on SNL, I simply just had to skip the track because I was sick of it after only hearing it once.
Take Care is an example of an artist who, in my opinion, doesn’t know where to go from here. As talented as Drake may be, the repetitive nature of his ways may at some point be the reason for his downfall as opposed to the reason for his rise to the top. There is some obvious attempts at creating a new sound, and they fail. Miserably. Maybe I’m just an asswipe and I’m completely missing the point of it, but at this point, I’m tired of listening to pseudo-intellectual radio rap that attempts to make me think, I just want to hear something worth listening to twice. Take Care will be released on November 15th.
Best Track: Lord Knows
Grade: 1.5/5 Bears