A lot has changed in the world of Drake since ‘Take Care’. So much so, people mistake drake for being part of the machine. Whilst it is very much the contrary, Drake is the machine. “Give these niggas the look, the verse, and even the hook, That's why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake.” Drake has such an eventful two years it could be argued that it has cemented himself as the most powerful figure in hip hop today- he is, without doubt the most powerful figure in hip hop’s ever growing commercial realm. On this LP he still isn’t comfortable with himself but it’s also very clear that he’s discovered he doesn’t need anyone to like him.
On the opening track ‘Tuscan Leather’ Drake lays out the groundwork; “This is nothin' for the radio, but they'll still play it though, Cause it's that new Drizzy Drake, that's just the way it go.” A six minute track with no chorus or hook, a trait Drake is now extremely accustomed to. Yet for the whole song Drake doesn’t even come close to running out of steam, he only excels, almost boasting. ”Prince Akeem, they throw flowers at my feet, nigga, I could go a hour on this beat, nigga.” Along with the content of the song and the statement that comes with it, its obvious from the get go Drake is dealing with things how he feels fit.
And accordingly we are reintroduced to the side of Drake we have heard before, the sensitive side. A side which he is often criticized for, but never one to shy away from. Its a reminder however big of a force he becomes he will always draw inspiration from his troubles that have followed and haunted him. Whilst this theme is an integral part of Drake and is prominent throughout the whole album, certain tracks such as ‘Furthest Thing’ maybe rely on this too much. After being introduced to a fierce, self assured Drake- that Drake becomes more appealing than this Drake.
On ‘Worst Behavior’ we get to hear angry Drake. The DJ Dahi produced track sees Drake rapping with a harsher tone then usual, asserting himself whilst taking shots at those who doubted him. "Always hated the boy but now the boy is the man, mother fucker I'd grown up.” As the record continues Drake doesn’t shy away from anyone. On ‘Too Much’ he airs out his family troubles, particularly his mother. Accompanied by the sleek vocals of Sampha, its a hard hitting and painfully personal track- nothing short of a triumph.
We are also introduced to the second blockbuster single on the record after the meme-friendly radio smash ‘Started From The Bottom’. ‘Hold on, We’re Going Home’ is a beautiful feel good track, which breaks the mould of the record, but is still very welcome. What would a Drake record be without an anthem or two? Much like the record opener, the ending track is a statement before even giving it a listen. This is down the notable feature of Jay Z. Although ridiculed by some of late, there is no denying Jay is the quintessential kingpin of the hip hop world. And Drake goes toe to toe with him on ‘Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2.’ Whilst Drake breaks down his rise, Jay reminds us he’s still sat on the throne.
‘Nothing Was The Same.’ This title could be interpreted with the context of what has happened to Drake in the last two years, and the heights he has soared to. Or it easily been seen as him cutting ties and starting a new era. Either way, he’s moved on but cemented what a Drake record should sound like. He’s gone from twisting the status-quo to totally redefining it. This album isn’t void of filler and it’s the more generic moments that obstruct it from perfection but it is a fitting showcase for only hip hop artist in the post-Yeezus age that as critics and fans rightfully in the palm of his hand.
Words: Jacob Roy