The power of this album doesn’t come from the guest stars (with plenty of A-listers like Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Andre 3000 and Rick Ross), but rather from Drake’s own rhythm, lyrics and the excellent quality of Noah “40” Shebib’s production.
Drake talks about fame and money, but unlike Thank Me Later, which celebrated his successes, Take Care explores the darker side to fame. He expresses details of failed romance, difficult relationships with family and friends, and the loneliness that accompanies his successes as an artist.
His big track “Take Care” shows how fame has taken its toll on his love life in a way that he feels exploited and robbed: “We know you hate being alone / Well you ain’t the only one / You hate the fact that you bought the dream and they sold you one / You love your friends, but somebody should’ve told you something / To save you.”
While a lot of the lyrical content explores some darker themes, one of the best things about the album is that he represents where he comes from in every way. He shouts out to Toronto on a regular basis, but he also represents where he comes from in terms of financial status and class distinction.
On Thank Me Later, Drake had a line in “Fancy” where he said “Shout out to the homeowners / The girls who got diplomas and enough money to loan us.” He expands on representing a higher class on his second album through tracks like “Crew Love” – his epic track with The Weeknd.
Weeknd is a Scarborough-born RnB artist who is the XO to OVOXO (OVO is Drake’s moniker which stands for October’s Very Own). “Crew Love” expands on Drake’s high class theme through lyrics like “Smoking weed under star projectors / 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.”
Despite sounding anti-education, Drake’s honesty about his fortunate upbringing shows how he wanted to continue living a good life over going to Harvard. At least his choice of education is Ivy League, though, which also demonstrates his relationship to upper class citizens.
Drake should be praised for his realness – a lot of rappers try and run game like they’re from the ghetto, but unless you were slinging crack rocks in Bed-Stu in the 1980s like Biggie was, it’s best to just stick with what you know. Drake is a professional, sticking to his realm of experience and knowledge, which comes through in the power of his lyrics.
Some of the lyrics are hit and miss on the album, though, and some tracks are boring lyrically, like “Cameras” and “We’ll Be Fine”.
A large part of what makes the album so good is that Drake has expanded on his downtempo RnB feel that he began exploring on Thank Me Later. Noah “40” Shebib has been producing for Drake since he was releasing mix tapes, and 40 brings Drake’s latest album to the next level. The minimalist beats become intricate and complicated when they are layered with a multitude of other sounds – from strings to subtle chords.
The distant pulsing beats and atmospheric sound render the lyrics more powerful and make them resonate with the listener.
Drake’s newest album shows growth as an artist and as an individual. It is truly written for his fans, showing the most intimate ups and downs that Drake experiences in his role of entertainer and musician. If you liked his slower jams off his mix tapes and Thank Me Later, then you will most definitely groove to this latest effort.