GENRES: Hip-Hop/Rap, Commercial Hip-Hop, R&B/Soul
At this point really, Drake is more a cultural entity in the pop music world than he is a rapper or artist to most people. However, Aubrey "Drake" Graham is a Canadian rapper who first really got his name out there with a mixtape called So Far Gone which released back in 2009. Well technically he got his start on Degrassi but that's another story. So after So Far Gone came Thank Me Later and most recently, Take Care. All of these along with over a dozen number one singles on the billboard charts contributed to the meteoric rise of Drake on the pop charts.
Personally I have always found Drake amusing as hell yet perplexing. There were times where Drake would attempt to portray this macho man tough guy feel on tracks like "Forever", "The Motto" and many others. But then he strips it all down and gets his autotune on with these really cheesy, corny and unsincere love ballads like "Find Your Love" or "Take Care". It's hilarious to watch Drake's ongoing indecisiveness in character. Because of this, I've always found Drake terribly average. His music never offended me because it was so terrible or anything but I never found myself thoroughly enjoying any of Drake's music.
With Drake's new album, Nothing Was the Same, he vowed that he was taking a more experimental approach to his music and this was strange to me and I was mildly looking forward to hearing what the hell he was talking about. And then Drake dropped the single, "Started From the Bottom" and I lost all hope again. To put it lightly, this song is hilariously bad. The message is ridiculous as to say that Drake really was ever at the bottom to begin, the production is trash and Drake tries to sing over a terribly unfitting beat. I enjoy it when I see it in the back of Tyler, the Creator's vine posts because it's hilarious background music. But to think that Drake seriously released this thinking it was good is mind-numbingly funny.
So to say the least, my view of Drake's new record was not a serious one. I really didn't take this album seriously and I still don't. The reason Drake is even really famous is because pop fans don't have to think about his music too much for it to hit them. It's very low shock value. Plus, people who don't like rap like Drake because he's rap but he's "different".
I'll be totally honest, I was pleasantly surprised and slightly impressed by the intro song "Tuscan Leather". The beat is really well done and the production elements sound great as well. THIS is the kind of beat and personality that fits Drake and his image perfectly. I think he should ride that style of rap music for as long as possible. But of course, he's Drake and he's got to please everyone so that probably won't happen. It sure as hell didn't happen on Nothing Was the Same.
Because then there are songs like "Furthest Thing" and "Wu Tang Forever" that are just slower and SO much more boring. You can usually even count on these type of Drake songs for some radio playability but these songs have no melody or direction at all. And content-wise, forget it. You really won't get that crap out of Drake and his music at all. As much as he sounds like he's grieving or being deep, his music and its message is wholly artificial and completely commercialized. I don't take him seriously so it amazes me that Drake fans find a way to do it.
The worst thing about this album has to be that Drake uses the elements of trap style production COMPLETELY openly in his music which suggests that his album is really commercial and mainstream ready. However, then he throws randomly placed breaks, strange piano interludes and overly deliberate experimental elements into his music. At this point, the dude tries way too hard.
Almost all of the songs really drag through but surprisingly the other single "Hold on We're Going Home" is actually a pretty good radio single. Now granted, the beat is pretty straightforward and the message is overall really non-existent. But when has that ever been a problem for Drake or pop music in general? Overall, the track's melody is really catchy and the groove also adds to the infectiousness that will mostly keep this song on Top 40 stations around America for a long time to come.
Also, it really surprised me how weak the features and guests were on such a high-profile album. There was of course Jay-Z on "Pound Cake" but I really am getting annoyed by Jay-Z this year. From"Suit and Tie" to the lackluster MCHG to this I've had enough of him quite honestly. He really didn't add too much to this beat which had some Wu-Tang Clan lyric samples in the background from "C.R.E.A.M." And then there was Big Sean and 2 Chainz on "All Me" but 2 Chainz was spitting nonsense as usual and Big Sean sounds really uninteresting as usual. Seriously, maybe some hooks from some more recognized pop-stars like Miguel, Rihanna or even Frank Ocean could have added to this album in a more commercial sense. Because in the realm of content, this thing is pretty much vacant.
The final verdict and it really doesn't pain to me say this at all. I simply don't care about Drake enough to take him, his cheesy persona or his music seriously. He said this would be a more experimental venture of a project, yeah bullshit. This is for the most part just as commercialized and deliberate as everything else Drake has put out. And although he's good for the hits, there really isn't much else to analyze in terms of Drake. He's a completely one-dimensional musician who can't decide who the hell he wants to please. My opinion, pick a side and fucking staying there.