The opening track (“Over My Dead Body”) off Drake’s latest album, “Take Care,” offers a slow start for one of hip-hops most anticipated releases. It’s been a little over a year since the actor-turned-artist released his debut album with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, and fans of the Toronto native have been anxiously chomping at the bit since talk of a new album because publically apparent. The rapper, saying in previous interviews that he was not fully satisfied with his debut release, took his time incorporating everything from childhood memories to references of his hometown into the album, creating a showcase for himself that allows fans access to something undeniably personal.
The opener continues to offer a real depiction of the rapper, speaking lyrics that include, “All these people really discussing my career again, asking me if I’ll be going platinum in a year again,” and “Jealousy is just love and hate at the same time.”
Though despite the honestly and core soul of his lyrics, I would have loved to see Drake start this album out by imploding listeners with his signature sound as he did with his career when he broke onto the scene a little over a year ago. Without a doubt, he took hip-hop fans by storm. And although the opener may feel like somewhat of a letdown, his take on the pressure to succeed with such an album and career can only be acknowledged and respected.
“Headlines” doesn’t appear until a few more in, but it was the lead single off the album, and for good reason. It has a more defined pop, mainstream appeal, and a fantastic hook to go along with it. It was a real standout when listening to the album from start to finish, and would have immediately blown listeners away.
The one component that Drake does not fall short on throughout “Take Care” are the collaborations. They appear one-after-the-other, with names such as Lil Wayne and Rick Ross aiding alongside the rapper. “Crew Love” (feat. The Weekend) and the title track “Take Care” (feat. Rihanna) appear in the fourth and fifth spot, and they give fans exactly what they’ve been looking for. Rihanna’s voice is flawless, and throughout the song, Drake’s is showcased better than ever. This song may in fact be the best off the album, and major credit to choosing it when selecting the album title.
The rest of it can fall slow at times. For fans looking for a more easy-going sound from Drake, tracks “Cameras” and “Look What You’ve Done,” are much more lyrically revealing, though for new listeners, both may be easily overlooked.
Though the undeniable “chemistry,” if you will, comes into play between Drake and Nicki Minaj, who’s featured on “Make Me Proud.” Not only is the chorus catchy, but the banter between the two, not to mention Minaj’s obviously unique style and quick lyrics, making it a real standout. Another worth noting is “Practice.” This is a prime example of less music and more voice, and in the long run benefits Drake in the best way possible. The points where he’s given the opportunity to show off his ability to more-so sing the lyrics, he does incredibly well, and where other tracks may have fallen short with a real “wow” factor, this one does not. There’s nothing flashy or over-the-top about this song, but it works, nonetheless, and very well at that.
As someone who was not a huge fan of the opener, I don’t have much to say about the closer, either. The background vocals are, for lack of a better word, a little annoying, and it seems that the peak of the album was fit in the middle. However, there’s still no denying that “Take Care,” is a pure reflection of not only this past year and a half, but of his life. Throughout he touches on criticism, praise, relationships, and experience, and while some may have it pinned as being a little soft, I respect his ability to put it all down into words. Overall, the album may not be spectacular, but it has a few moments where it shines, without a doubt.