Drake. He of ‘YOLO’ fame. Yup, he coined that monstrosity of a saying that many under the age of 25 (or – quite worryingly – over) would have probably encountered in the media or press since 2011. Since his breakout single, Best I Ever Had from his third EP So Far Gone, the Canadian rapper has seen his career snowball thanks to the likes of songs such as Over, Find Your Love, and Take Care from his first two albums, Thank Me Later and Take Care. Now on third album, Nothing Was The Same, will the Young Money protégée manage to up his game?
Nothing Was The Same opens with Tuscan Leather, a downbeat, six minute number underlaid with skipping soundbites of old records. Holding no chorus, it makes for an interesting introduction to the album, albeit a bit overblown, with Drake even making reference to the length of the track himself in the lines ‘How much time is this n***** spending on the intro?’. Started From The Bottom, a song first released way back in February, is pretty much self-explanatory in regards to content, with The Language pretty much falling into the typical genre conventions of money, status and women, one epitomised in the lyric ‘I just want some head and a comfortable bed – it could all be so simple’.
Not all songs on Nothing Was The Same are as straight-forward however, for there appears to be many sides to the world’s most real rapper; if it is one thing that you cannot fault Drake for, it is the honesty in his lyrics, and these often reveal a surprisingly dark self-hatred, and the best songs on the album are the ones that are more minimalist with touches of R’n’B. Songs such as Furthest Thing and Wu-Tang Forever show a level of introspective criticism, whilst Connect and From Time featuring Jhéne Aiko draw from Drake’s relationships, how the idea of his romantic liaisons is better than the reality, and Drake’s emotional issues, best highlighted in Aiko’s line ‘I love me enough for the both of us’. One can’t help but feel that the album tapers off towards the end, which is surprising considering the artists featured on the last two songs. Sampha’s voice steals the show on Too Much, but Pound Cake featuring rap megastar Jay-Z feels forgettable (despite a questionable reference to carrot cake).
It appears that it is the instances where Drake chooses to reveal his most personal issues that make for the best songs. Aside from the recent single Hold On We’re Going Home – featuring Majid Jordan – a great pop song that is not a million miles away from something Michael Jackson would put his name to, it is the vulnerable R’n’B tinged numbers which really stand out and as a result it is a little disappointing that Drake could not produce a full album of such satisfying material. Nothing Was The Same, whilst perhaps not being the most fulfilling of albums does, however, add some good numbers to Drake’s growing repertoire.
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