True and “real” Hip-Hop has long been debated about, but personal preference always gets accounted for and sways the argument. Some people say that lyrics are the only thing that matters, while others say beats and flow make it a true art form. It’s hard to say exactly where Drake falls into this category. The 25 year old Toronto, Canada native burst onto the scene in 2007 and hit super star status almost immediately. His debut album Thank Me Later was received with mixed reviews even though it was certified Platinum. Many felt that it didn’t live up to hype brought upon by his previous two mixtapes. Now with multiple smash hits and a highly anticipated follow up Sophomore LP, Drake brings us Take Care. However, fans and critics alike want to know is Drake Taking Care of Hip-Hop with this album? Does he deliver that Comeback Season feel he is best known for, or does he once again try and recreate the sound and feel of So Far Gone? Either way, one thing is for sure, Drake knows how to make a hit record. However, does that take away from the fact that he isn’t a “traditional” Emcee? Does Take Care really hold true to its name or is it a lackluster effort?
Lyrics – 7.5
Let’s just be real, there is not a whole lot of rapping on this album. Drake himself said that he would be rapping more on this album than his debut, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Drake’s bars have never been his strong suit; he raps well enough however, to make the normal listener think he’s phenomenal at it. His witty, yet basic punch lines at times seem kiddy like, but somehow still manage to be good enough to praise. The one thing that makes Drizzy’s lyrics standout, is the amount of emotion and passion he puts into them. His personal experiences and heartbreaks make his words believable and very relatable. True, most of his material is about being in love, heartbroken, sex, and family problems, but for many of the hip-hop listeners, that’s what their lives consist of. Not every listener sells drugs, shoots guns or bangs. Drake says it best when he spits… I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy, Know that I don’t make music for ni**as who don’t get pussy, So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me… The line to me sums up Drakes complete style, he never claimed to be tough and gangsta, he just puts all his emotions out there. Now that’s all good, but if the music isn’t “Hip-Hop” it doesn’t get counted the same. Drake is a Rapper/Singer and while the singing lyrics may be good for a rapper, it’s not a good look to have singing be almost half of your hip-hop album. The lyrics when there, were good, however they lacked in quantity. I wish he would have left out the simple little lines, and just kept it real. The content is lacking diversity and growth, but then again I could be asking for too much. I just know that lines like… You ni**as getting older, I see no threat in Yoda, I’m out here messing over the lives of these ni**as That couldn’t fuck with my freshman floater … are far and few between on this album.
Production – 8
I actually really like the bulk of the album sound wise. Noah “40″ Shebib, handled the majority of the project and it plays to Drake’s strengths, but for the most part, the album can begin to get really repetitive. The amount of mellow somber R&B type beats just got too much for me at times. In fact it almost got me in the mood to listen to some 90′s Rhythm and Blues classics. The piano keys and dark drums that show up all over the album give off a very sensual emotional vibe and that’s dope when I’m trying to lay it on my lady, but if I’m trying to get ready for the night life it kind of makes me want to light a candle and take bubble bath. I wanted a more upbeat and live album; I know there were a few bangers but not enough for my liking. I know that Drake and 40 are good friends, but when he jumped on a the Just Blaze produced track. The sound is too similar all the way through, and while that might provide a great sequence it just gets to generic. The slow sound does work, it is just over killed, and the few faster sounds are a bit so simple. However, the type of material that is created is exactly the right type of sound to make Mr. Graham shine. There are a few times when the young artist seems to be out shined by the beats but for the most part he holds his own and reminds the listener that he is in control. There are negatives, but not so much that it completely ruins the album.
Songs – 9
So, I know what you’re thinking, how is this the highest score when everything else made it seem like the album was lacking right!? The thing is… the music is great. I can listen to almost every song at one point or another, the problem is, I can’t listen to all of them one after the other. I really enjoy songs like “The Real Her” which features Wayne and Andre 3000 with yet another amazing feature and “Shot for me” that show the young Canadian’s diversity when he creates R&B tracks that are as good as some of music produced by real singers. He rips tracks like “Look what You’ve Done” and “Cameras” which gives you a nostalgic feel for that Comeback Season Drake most of us yearn for. However, songs like the title track “Take Care” featuring Rihanna and the Birdman Featured “We’ll Be Fine” just seem like fillers. To me there are two songs that show Drake in his best light and those are the Rick Ross featured Lord Knows which is my favorite track on the album as well as the last track entitled “The Ride” which really depicts Drake in his best light… To me it’s as though you could split the album in half with one side being all R&B and the other side being all rapping. Keep it real, 18 songs are way too many for an album no matter how great the artist is. I have to say that “Buried Alive” featuring Kendrick Lamar and “Make Me Proud” which features Nicki Minaj, kind of over shadow the other track because of the bars spit by the accompanying artist.
Conclusion – 8.1
I want to make it clear that this in no way is a bad album, however it’s not really a full “Hip-Hop” album. There is way too much singing on there to be fully considered in the genre we all know and love. Having said that, we all know that this is what Drake does. He makes great music and does a great job of catering to the females while still doing a good enough job rapping to be considered a good hip-hop artist. You can’t say that Drake isn’t killing the game more so then any other, in terms of hit songs whether it’s a bridge or hook or a guest verse on a song. The guy has talent there is no denying that, but it feels as if he doesn’t know what type of artist he is or wants to be. He has fans that enjoy and see him as a singer, while others just enjoy his rapping; unfortunately it’s just too much for me on this album. I see a lot of bright spots, and I could see many of the songs getting radio play as well as critical praise just not perfection. I wouldn’t mind one or two or even three singing songs on there, with a total of 15-16 songs on an album. The amount of songs, leave it open to the “filler” argument and that’s exactly what happens. If you hate the album you don’t get laid, if you love the album then you are probably a female. The album is a step below what I think Drake is capable of producing, and the amount of singing along with the excessive features really hurt the project. I will definitely be playing a lot of these songs for a while, but others I will never play all the way through. So is Drake Taking Care of the genre we all know and love, not fully but he certainly doing a lot better job than the majority of the artist out right now.
Review by Edgar Gomez for Defsounds.com