I want to call Drake a highly emotional rapper for his distinct ability to sing while rapping at the same time. I think he is the only rapper who can add melodic embellishments to his raps. Born 24 October, 1986, Aubrey Drake Graham is a Canadian rapper, songwriter and occasional actor with several mixtapes before he became famous and three studio albums under his belt, one of which is Nothing Was The Same, his latest album and the subject of my Album Review today. His first studio album, Thank Me Later (2009), is a certified platinum hit while his second album, Take Care (2011), is his most successful album to date, topping charts across the globe and spawning hits like Take Care, Headlines, Make Me Proud and The Motto, which originated the popular phrase/acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once). Cool huh? Anyway let’s get on with the review for his current album.
- Tuscan Leather – Opening an album is very critical to every artist because it will most likely make or break the whole record. In Nothing Was The Same, Drake opens up with an introduction, no-chorus, 6-minute interlude-like track that makes sure that his listeners are aware of his significance and the success he attained for the last years or so, being as popular as his mentor, Lil Wayne, but still remains grounded and humble.
- Furthest Thing – Still continuing with his examination of his success and fame, Drake does an amazing job of creating this somehow personal track, telling everyone that he is still doing what he loves to do while admitting that even with fame he is still the same human person who makes missteps when it comes to love. Nice track!
- Started From The Bottom – As of writing, this first single is already a certified smash hit! This is a celebratory anthem that tells Drake’s rags-to-riches success, a song everyone can bop heads with while singing along with the main man himself. This is by far one of his best works yet.
- Wu-Tang Forever – With a hypnotic piano and drum-loop in the background, this track gives an interesting sampling of Wu-Tang Clan’s “It’s Yourz,” hence the title of the song. It’s a bit droopy for me, well mainly because of the background tinkling of the piano.
- Own It – With the theme of “It’s Yourz” carrying through Own It, this track starts slow then it gets better with the robotic rattles at the chorus. This actually is a highly sexual and provocative track with lines like “Next time we f*ck | I don’t wanna f*ck | I wanna make love | Next time we talk | I don’t just wanna talk | I wanna trust.”
- Worst Behavior – Coming from two slow tracks, Drake bounces back as he justifies himself being on his worst behavior on this track. I really, really like the playful, Atari-like atmosphere of the whole beat, all courtesy of DJ Dahi.
- From Time featuring Jhene Aiko – This track is smoking hot! Accompanied simply by a piano and some snaps of fingers on the side and slow drum beats all around, the chemistry between Drake and R&B singer Jhene Aiko is spot on. Drake raps that he hates money because it changes everything yet hates it when it changes relationships.
- Hold On, We’re Going Home – And we got a hot one tonight! It’s yet another smash from Drake! He really does great in what I call spit-singing in his previous records, but in this song he solely sings it and boy, his singing voice sounds so good and soothing on this fantastic, somehow throwback track. Repeat worthy. My favorite song of the whole album. [WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO HERE]
- Connect – Drake raps about relationships and pu*sy power while saying the word swangin’. After research I have come with the definition of swangin’: the art of switching lanes by swerving you car from side to side. Now I get it, this track tells a slinky discussion of back and forth communication, or the lack thereof, in a rough relationship.
- The Language –I did not get this track, but all I heard was his platinum records and bottles of champagne while bouncing in the club. With that, I guess this track is club-worthy.
- 305 To My City – With Drop Down, Drop Drop Down at the beginning, I kind of dropped my interest in this track. 305 To My City highlights Drake’s ways of getting strippers from point A to point B, probably from US borders to his hometown Ontario.
- Too Much featuring Sampha – The most emotional track of the whole album, Too Much tells the struggles fame has brought to Drake’s family. Now tell me, who is Sampha and where did Drake get this guy? He is hauntingly pleasant to the ears, not to mention a great singer! The marriage of his vocals and Drake’s fantastic raps works big time, each complementing the other.
- Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2 featuring Jay Z– To cap off a great album, Drake teams up with rap giant Jay Z in a track about nothing being the same, hence the title of the album. Drake proves to be a formidable rapper as he raps his way with true conviction alongside Jay Z. He certainly ups his ante with his rapping style on this track. The other half of the song features Paris Morton Music 2, the second part of Rick Ross’ Aston Martin Music.
Final Thoughts: I like the way Drake did with this album, fusing old school music with new school feel. However, Take Care was definitely the better album for me though that was a hard act to follow. Listening to this album makes me wanna listen to Take Care again. Having said that, I think Nothing Was The Same is still a remarkable album that solidifies Drake’s relevance in the hip-hop world.
Grab this album if you like: Drake, Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Wu Tang Clan
Songs to be played on your Playlist: Hold On We’re Going Home, Started From The Bottom, From Time, Too Much, Furthest Thing
4.0 out of 5