Drake takes care of business with new album

October’s Very Own “Drizzy” Drake is a Canadian hip-hop and R&B artist and former child-actor (known for his role as Jimmy Brooks in “Degrassi”). Drake is no stranger to today’s iTunes or Billboard Top 100 charts. Drake’s recognition is due to the release of his third mixtape, So Far Gone, which was produced with the help of fellow Canadian producers and close friends Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib. So Far Gone generated quite the buzz amongst the hip-hop blogs, and Lil Wayne soon picked up Drake as a protégé. Since then, Drake has become one of the most popular hip-hop artists of this era in hip-hop and rap. On October 24th, 2011, Take Care was released, his second studio album. Take Care takes on a completely different vibe from Drake’s last, Thank Me Later, with a bit of electronics thrown in the mix. Drake dropped two singles over the summer, straight off of Take Care on octobersveryown.blogspot.com (an everything Drake-related blog). “Marvin’s Room” was the first, but Drake’s second single, “Headlines”, dominated radio stations over the summer.

Drake’s unique ability to smoothly transition from rapping to singing in a single song is definitely heard on tracks like “Headlines,” in which Drake unpretentiously tells of his gradual success, “Cause one of us goes in, and we all go through it./And Drizzy got the money, so Drizzy gonna pay it/Those my brothers, I ain’t even gotta say it…”, Drake doesn’t care about his ‘family’s’—be it his biological family or his Young Money Crew–expenses and is willing to take care of them, their bonds are worth more than any price value (aaaaw). Brotherly love is a totally unexpected theme when hip hop is the subject, but nevertheless Drake incorporates those emotions into several tracks on the album such as “Crew Love”, one of my personal favorite songs from this year. Drake played it safe with collaborations on the album, with the exception of “Crew Love,” which featurs new-comer Abel Tesfaye, a Canadian contemporary R&B artist better known as The Weeknd (you should check out his mixtape Thursday if you haven’t already). Together they form OVOXO: “that north north/that up top/that OVO and that XO,” which is an unofficial (for now) all Canadian collaboration much like OFWGKTA, Taylor Gang, Brick Squad, etc, but with an electro-R&B style.

Drake gives us a glimpse at the other path he could have taken in regards to his future, “I guess we’ll never know what Harvard gets us/But seeing my family have it all/Took the place of that desire for diplomas on the wall/And really, I think I like who I’m becoming…There’s times when I might blow like 50k on a vacation/For all my soldiers just to see the looks on all they faces/all it took was patience.” Drake could have gone to college and pursued his dreams through there but seeing the success over time build up is just as good to him, as long as he gets to please the people around him. Some people may think some lines from the album are dainty because of the constant shout-outs to his friends and family. Satirical underground music blog hipsterrunoff.com even called him the “softest in the game”, but it’s nice to hear a well-known hip-hop artist talk about personal struggles and triumphs.

Other tracks on the album give off a more aggressive vibe, the types of songs that you’d hear a blasting from a typical tough guy’s car or your desktop speakers if mom and dad aren’t home. “The Motto,” a track that is only available on the deluxe version of the album, is one of the three Take Care songs that feature a typical loud bass and Drake-Weezy combo. The supply and demand ratio for collaborations featuring Drake and Lil Wayne will always be at equilibrium, so there are no worries on future collaborations. But as a fan of Drake’s, I would prefer the pair to mix it up a bit more; the songs are starting to lack substance and Lil Wayne’s metaphors sound more and more outlandish with every song, “I’m so Young Money got a drum on the gun, Energizer bunny” is not really anything more than a tangible comparison of himself and Young Money to the Energizer Bunny. A new and experimental collaboration featuring Rick Ross is heard on “Underground Kings” and “Lord Knows”; both are mellow and ‘flow to flow’ Frank Ocean-like tracks. “I can tell a lie if you ask me my whereabouts/But I might talk that real if you ask me what I care about.” These two songs are pretty much incomparable to any past works of Drake’s; hopefully there will be more of Drake and Rick Ross soon.

The most surprising tracks from Drake would be “Take Care” and “Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude”. “Take Care” is not the brainchild of just Drake and Rihanna—it was produced by Jamie XX, a British artist/producer and member of buzzband The XX, originally released on his critically-acclaimed remix record We’re New Here, which reworked songs from the late soul music legend, Gil-Scott Heron.  Drake and Rihanna did justice to both Jamie xx and Heron’s work over “I’ll Take Care of You”. Heron’s original lyrics, “know you’ve been hurt by someone else/I can tell by the way you carry yourself/if you let me, here’s what I’ll do/I’ll take care of you” re-emoted by Rihanna sound like a younger and fresh twist on the original. “Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude” starts off with a very smooth intro followed by Drake’s baritone voice murmuring “Baby she look like a star, but only on camera/Only on camera, only on camera/It look like we in love, but only on camera/Don’t listen to the lies/I swear they all lies.” is possibly directed to the rumors of Drake’s supposed relationships with Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. The last song on the album, “The Ride,” finishes off with fitting lines “My sophomore, they was all for it, they all saw it/My juniors and senior will only get meaner,” referring to how Drake’s music is getting better and better, reminding us to Take Care just until his next records are released.