In a recent review by Pitchfork, Drake was touted as the heir to Marvin Gaye. As it usually is with music critics or critics of any kind, the opinon as stated was hyperbolic.
The Canadian-born singer stands comfortably with the new-school of hip-hop artists that also includes Lupe Fiasco and Kid Cudi and of course, the godfather of this new-school genre, Kanye West. These guys are trying to take hip-hop inward — rapping with honesty about insecurities, and emotional turmoil. Fiasco raps with an incredible speed with meaningless lyrics leaving most of his music bordering on incomprehensible (e.g. Lasers) while Cudi usually raps about being self-involved and sad. Ironically, Drake’s first lyric on the album in the song “Over My Dead Body” is “how I’m feeling, it doesn’t matter”. Since the rest of the album and songs deal with Drake’s feelings, it seems to matter a whole lot.
Take Care shares numerous similarities with West’s 808’s & Heartbreak with sparse minimalist sounds with piano pieces and scathing lyrics confronting himself and those who hurt him. While the sounds and beats of the song appear subtle and low-key, the lyrics are biting. “Shot For Me” has Drake challenging a former lover to “take a shot for” him in the chorus while explaining “Yeah, I’m the reason why you always getting faded”. The song is immensely funny and can easily become the next anthem for couples who’ve recently broken up. When he is not too busy attacking former lovers, Drake also takes on other rappers and lets listeners know he really enjoys spending money.
In “Headlines”, a song about celebrity status, Drake criticizes mainstream music for concentrating too much on “what was or what will be, than what is”. That “what is” for Drake being what it takes to get over someone. Other parts of the album concern Drake getting used to and enjoying the success of his first official album from 2010 Thank Me Later. “In Crew Love”, Drake eviscerates education by saying “but seeing my family have it all, took the place of that desire for diplomas on the wall”. The theme comes back in “Underground Kings” with Drake stating “I drop out, lessons I was taught are quick to fade as soon I realize that term-end papers they won’t get me paid”. Lyrics like that make the album worth listening to. “Make Me Proud” is easily the best song on the album since it either is about Drake’s relationship with feminism or just Nicki Minaj, you can’t really tell the difference, but the song itself is probably the best balance between Drake’s conflict and the sparse truthful pop he’s aiming for.
Drake certainly misses the mark on trying to re-create Fleetwood Mac’s 70s album, Rumors, for the current generation. Drake’s latest stands along with his fellow contemporaries — Fiasco, Cudi, and West, are examples of artists proving that the idea success doesn’t make you invincible. And ultimately, they’re frustrated trying to find out why.
Give these tracks a listen: The Practice, Make Me Proud, Shot For Me, Doing it Wrong, We’ll Be Fine
For Fans Of: Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Drake
— Rudy Sanchez