Since his debut studio album Thank Me Later dropped back in June 2010, Drake has been on his game. With ladies swooning, rap’s biggest names wanting to collaborate with him, four hit singles off the album, partnership with YMCMB, menthorship from Lil’ Wayne, and Thank Me Later being certified as platinum – you could say that the little man from Degrassi has done alright.

His first addictive album had a triumphant and upbeat sound, long but solid verses, and more than enough crazy hooks to cement Drake’s place on the international hip-hop scene.

Naturally, fans and critics have been eagerly awaiting the release of his second album. Promising to not let his creative decisions be dictated by anyone other than himself and his collaborators, Drake announced that Take Care would be about keeping it honest and creating songs that he truly loved. “Headlines,” the first track to be leaked on the web, even ends with a few explanatory lines for his loyal fans: “I heard once that they would rather hear about memories than enemies; rather hear what was and what will be than what is; rather you make this an open letter…”.

True to his word, Take Care is honest, introspective, and thoughtful. Fans feel like they’re getting a glimpse of the real, maybe even wiser, Drake. And the shift from popular hip-hop songs about fame, money, partying, and broads is a nice change. That’s not to say that the album is less cool or less masculine than Drake’s previous harder-hitting tracks. It’s simply a different approach. Flows about his “flashy lifestyle” do come up, but the “good guy” interior synonymous with Drake and his music envelops the album.

In 2009, Drizzy said Thank Me Later was created after studying his favourite rappers, Nas and Andre 3000. Now, in an interview with Vevo, he sites iconic artists like Stevie Wonder (who is featured on the album, playing the harmonica on the heart-breaking track “Doing It Wrong”) and Tupac as inspirations for Take Care’s sound. As a result, most of the beats are softer and more melodic, the musicality is better, the vocals are stronger, and the collaborations are harmonious, not forced. Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, The Weekend, Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross, and Andre 3000 make for huge featured names, but the partnerships aren’t just about pairing two superstars for commercial reasons.

For fans who loved the hard-hitting, repeat-worthy songs on Thank Me Later, check out “Headlines,” “HYFR” feat. Lil’ Wayne, and “Underground Kings.” But Drake’s strength is in the swoon-worthy, chill out tracks reminiscent of the smooth, melodic rap of ’90s artists like Tupac, Biggie, and A Tribe Called Quest (“Over My Dead Body,” “Shot For Me,” and “Crew Love.”)

There are also more serious and more personal tracks than we’re used to from Drake. “Doing It Wrong” feat. Stevie Wonder and “The Real Her” feat. Lil’ Wayne and Andre 3000 make you want to just turn the lights off and listen. Their subject matter adds undeniable value to the album and makes Drizzy more relatable to his fans. There are lyrics on the kinder side: “May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you & heaven accept you” (from “Shot For Me.) And there are hooks and clever verses that will be playing over and over in your head: “you hate the fact that you bought the dream & we sold you one” (from the title track, feat. Rihanna.)

Nothing is off the record on Take Care, including Drake’s private life. The flows are mostly about the music industry’s expectations, his competition, his return to the scene, his love for Toronto, his family, his recent experiences and the women in his life.

However, when it comes to the topic of women, contradictions come into play. Many have pegged Drake’s lyrics as womanizing at times or brash in terms of his description of strip clubs and the women who occupy them. Yet, although some flows can seem misogynistic, others are sweet verses about the women he loves/loved. “Marvin’s Room” is a ballad about him drunk dialing a girl he has feelings for, who happens to be with an undeserving guy. While the very personal “Look What You’ve Done,” a thank you to his mom for her support, ends with a clip of her speaking to Drake. The album is somewhat lyrically driven by Drizzy’s relationships with women. Like most of us, there are times when he sings about being hurt and then there are times where he’s doing the hurting.

Drake’s singing is at its best on Take Care, as he continues to blur the lines between hip-hop and R&B. He surprises with his strength – sometimes even making you wonder if he’s really the one singing that part. Strong vocals are also present on the powerful track “Lord Knows” feat. Rick Ross, when both rappers are backed by a gospel choir.

The beauty of the album is that despite the pressure and fame, Drake’s still keeping it real. He seems to know what the industry wants right now (smoother, more personable rap) and has the perspective and talent to deliver it. Ever aware of his strengths, he’s mastered the art of the slow-burn. Take Care boasts strong lyrics that you want to pay attention to, melodies that are sometimes nothing short of gorgeous, and powerhouse collaborations. Drizzy gives his fans all of himself and, as a result, you feel as if you’ve just been let in on the real side of Drake.

Although the album was leaked early (an unfortunate theme with Drake’s releases), it’s still predicted to sell well today. The official release date for Take Care was set for November 15, after being pushed from a mid-October release. As a testament to his class, Drake tweeted kindly about the leak on November 6th: “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time.” It’s safe to say, we have a long term crush on Drizzy. The album is his best stuff yet and it’s nice to know that he’s one Canadian artist whose success is also long term. When it comes to Drake, there’s no doubting that “the real is on the rise.”
Rating: 9/10.
Trial Tracks: Marvin’s Room, Shot for Me, Over My Dead Body, Headlines, Take Care, Real Her, Doing it Wrong.
By Sophia Loffreda
Follow me on twitter @sloffreda.
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About Sophia Loffreda

Sophia Loffreda is a Concordia Journalism graduate, based in Montreal. When she’s not writing or editing for TCP, she works at a Media company, and as a fitness trainer and freelance documentary filmmaker. A self-diagnosed television junkie, Sophia enjoys camera work, photography, layout design, and scriptwriting. She's also working on writing a sitcom with two of her closest and most sarcastic friends. One day they hope to be something like Shonda Rhimes or Tina Fey. Realistic, we know. For now, she’ll settle for reading her bible (Vanity Fair) and admiring genius (Woody Allen). Her other interests include art, pop culture, travel, cooking, reading, soccer, yoga, and running with her four-year-old dog, Charlie.

76 responses »

  1. This is a very detailed, insightful review — I’ve never been a huge Drake fan, but your assessment makes me want to give his music another listen!

    🙂

  2. brianonrea says:

    Nice review and I agree Drake did his thing on this CD.

    “Lord knows” is on constant repeat. Best song on the CD in my opinion!

    Again nice work!

  3. d. durand says:

    I appreciate your insightful review for its spot-on characterization of what Drizzy has brought to the for with his latest release. Impressive. Peace.

  4. davonwalker says:

    great post…My name is DaVon Walker and i run a record label. I want to knowhow i can get you to do reviews on my artist. i like how you did this one and others. Great job

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  6. […] iTunes Plus AAC M4ADrake Challenges Lil Wayne To BattleAUDIO: Drake ft Rihanna – Take CareTake Care: Drake does it his way and does it wellDrake Explains “The Ride” on Take Care (Video) currPath = […]

  7. Wes B. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this review, well done! 🙂 Drake is an amazing singer. My favorite video was when he sang with Rihanna. I certainly wish him nothing but the best of luck as he ventures further into his career.

    ~ Wes B.
    http://thereporterschair.wordpress.com

  8. flawlessfrenzy says:

    Loved the blog this is perfect!
    I am sharing it with everyone because you captured what I felt exactly when I listened to “Take Care” Thank you
    Fabulous job and keep it up 🙂

  9. tinmanskp says:

    Love this album… one of the best that has come out in a long time. I wrote blog stating why I loved his music. check it out.

  10. This album is pretty good….check out this new guy though….

  11. Karl Drobnic says:

    “….the little man from Degrassi …” Is he a short guy? And where is Degrassi?

  12. wanderlust23 says:

    Good review and I want to support him because he’s a fellow Canadian but I just can’t. I find he’s marginally talented. I did like him in degrassi though.

  13. Great post and insight!

  14. Eva McCane says:

    drake makes me think of a classy and romantic gansta. and what woman doesn’t find that appealing. great post! thanks.
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  15. rastelly says:

    Check out my article about
    what can happen when you
    hand mother nature the mic.
    Massive sculptures that sing
    in the wind and waves – some
    even have their own albums.

  16. Indepth and very well written review. And Drake is seriously easy on the eye as an added bonus! Love your blog!

  17. mytakeonpr says:

    Drake is crazy talented, I can listen to his playlist on my iTouch and not have to skip one tune, good review

  18. I’m not really a music person, but I loved this review. Thanks for the post!

    ~Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One

  19. chicismicis says:

    Very good review!! just came cross ur blog! luv it!

    Nora
    http://chicismicis.wordpress.com

  20. iflyalone says:

    Wow! You dropped it!! Great assessment on the album!! I think anyone who doesn’t know Drake or his music could get a pretty picture perfect idea of where he’s coming from…just by reading your words!

    I’m downloading his album right now on iTunes as I’m writing this. I had to stop in the middle of your words just so i could DL it and listen right after I finished your review and comment on it.

    ;->

  21. chicismicis says:

    Good review! drake is doing such a good job too!

  22. The Hook says:

    Great review! I find Drake to be terribly overrated, but he’s a fellow Canadian so that’s cool!

  23. Wow…this was a really interesting and thorough review! As a fellow Torontonian, I’m just super excited that he’s become such a huge celebrity…lots of talent flowing through that kid. 🙂

  24. Thank you all for reading!
    Make sure to follow us on Twitter @cafephenomenon and subscribe to our blog to get the latest from us!

  25. I really like Drake’s voice, but apart from a few songs, I haven’t always been into his style. However, today I heard his new song with Rihanna and I think it’s amazing. Their voices blend together perfectly and I entirely agree with your description of it as blurring the lines between hip-hop and R&B.

    Well done on getting Freshly Pressed! Hope to see you on my blog soon!
    http://littleexplorer.wordpress.com/

  26. be awake says:

    great review 🙂
    it’s hilarious that he’s the same guy who some years ago did thing like this:
    http://vimeo.com/15420267 😀

  27. ronaldc93 says:

    Great album overall. Platinum is well deserved.

  28. I think that it is very cool that someone can review something with such respect for the person or thing being reviewed. Thank you very much for that. In a world where very few people can review without being nasty or over-opinionated, it is nice to find something like this.

    Comment on my blog if you feel like it!
    blog1800generalnow.wordpress.com

    –GeneralJennie
    Jen Eral

  29. maxb says:

    Drakes new album is great! I loved your review on it. Childish Gambino also came out with a new album today. Two new, great albums today.

    Heres an album review for Childish Gambino if you are interested!

    http://eartharoundus.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/album-review-camp-by-childish-gambinocn/

  30. I had been anticipating his CD coming out, this a great review. He does seem more honest and speaking more personally in this album.

  31. I heard a song by Drake about this time a year ago. I wanted to just hit replay over and over. You not only fall in love with his music, but with the feeling it gives you and leaves you with. That is true music. It sounds like from your review that he simply started out like most male artist in the industry trying to be what he thought they wanted…allowing us to look at the surface…his face. I will be checking out his new album. It sounds like he gave us a true look at who he is…a deeper look. Took off the shades so to say, so we can look into his eyes, not just at them…and see a piece of him, but also a piece of his heart. I’m hoping not to be dissapointed. 🙂 Great review!

  32. iamscotia says:

    Interesting… I’ve never really paid much attention to Drake as a rapper (even though I know he’s good) but I’ll give Take Care a listen.

  33. Istle Chiong says:

    Over my dead body! \m/

  34. emayarseeyouess says:

    awesome review….all the best to drizzay

  35. I love your post. It is nice. Thanks!

  36. Tomi Milos says:

    It’s his grandmother talking to him on “Look What You’ve Done”

  37. This is awesome please check out my blog harishandmahesh.wordpress.com

  38. […] Drake and Childish Gambino both came out with albums today.  This is Gambino’s first album and he nailed it.  The album is 13 tracks dealing with stereotypes and struggles growing up.  If you want to read a review for Drake’s new album Take Care, click here. […]

  39. Drakes new album is great! Awesome!!

  40. kjaydebo says:

    Cant wait to buy this album. LOVE drake!

  41. goingtomx says:

    I like this review. Drake really has made a huge impact on rap/R&B. I remember back in January of 2009 he opened for Lil Wayne and I was like “IS THAT JIMMY FROM DEGRASSI?!” and now he’s made an incredible name for himself.

  42. datsmastyle says:

    Real good, Drake is one of the best rappers out there right now, and this album is great. Should get an award.

  43. whenquiet says:

    I have problems with artists use of the “n” word, and actually, never heard a Drake cut until this review. Nice publicity opportunity for the artist.

  44. Pharmg183 says:

    Hello! bdbgdcf interesting bdbgdcf site! I’m really like it! Very, very bdbgdcf good!

  45. Wow! I’m going to be listening to THIS ALBUM SOON! It sounds like the kind of music hip hop SHOULD BE… Not that crap like Lil B! I’m excited to check this album out.

  46. Rachel says:

    Great review! I’m definitely interested in hearing more from his album. I’m slacking.

  47. Passion says:

    This was a great review of Drake and Take Care…I think it was a great album!! Cant wait to see what it does in sales

  48. moneymakingjus says:

    Nice album review!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. I have similar thoughts about Take Care – I can’t really understand why anyone would accuse Drake of misogyny though – in the rap world especially he strikes me as unusually respectful and understanding of women.

    A true gentleman, I think.

  50. rakhikankane says:

    Interesting Blog…
    Cheers!

  51. Drake is the perfect blend of Rap, Hip Hop, & R&B. Smooth enough for the female fan base, lyrically sound to hold his own on tracks with Lil Wayne, he can sing, his sound is fresh. I agree. Love Drizzy.

  52. erickotchi says:

    Great review..Plan on posting one of own later. Captured my thoughts.

  53. goalbowl says:

    Found your site and this review via Freshly Pressed. As a Canadian, I know who Drake is but I haven’t really listened to his music. I don’t even listen to rap/hip hop that often. However, in my mind, I think I can distinguish what works and doesn’t work when listening to any genre. Your review lead me to pay attention to Drake’s music and I really enjoyed what I heard!
    Thank you 🙂
    Joanna

    http://minimalistself.wordpress.com

  54. The question on CNBC today is which do you like better your I phone or Blackberry, WTF I do not have either, but I do have a song by Drake on my IPOD.

  55. xandimusic says:

    very fantastic song, amazing!

  56. amandaarcangel says:

    good post! Big Drake fan.

  57. Good review, very detailed. I’m a fan of Drake but I’m really not a fan of the album. Before actually hearing the album I expected a rap album but instead Drake delivered a R&B one. Even though “Thank Me Later” and “So Far Gone”both had Drake singing on various tracks they both seemed to have a even balance between Drake singing and rapping. I expected better but it seems like Drake is making music that he ultimately likes and that makes him feel good. Very personal album and i respect him for that.

  58. Loki says:

    Fantastic album, can’t get enough of it

  59. TheBedStuyDandy says:

    patience and insight was definitely offered on this album, and this review does include the same qualities. great read Ms. Loffreda

  60. iamremy says:

    Good, detailed review. I enjoy reading your posts. Please check out my blog page- Iamremy.wordpress.com , my focus is on independent/unsigned artists. Let me know what you think.

  61. FalconFoxx says:

    Very good review, from one music blogger to another. Your style is crisp, to-the-point, yet still descriptive and evocative. Great work 🙂

  62. beatricecharles says:

    Great review. As much I as want to dislike Drake because I find him a little corny, I can’t. I love his music. All opinions aside, he delivers. But I do prefer his singing over his rapping.

  63. I loved the new album, The Real Her with Andre 3000 kills it. Peace and Blessings.

  64. This album was really smooth and well assembled. thing is, the guy kinda forgets he’s a rapper at a point, but i’m starting to get use to his singing. We’l be fine is probably my favorite hype track on the album, and the motto just gets me dancing. But another issue would be 85% of his album is about some stripper or chick. Overall i agree this album is one of the best this year

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