'I hate it when people say they Feel me, I hate that shit' – unconventional lyrics for a star at the apex of planet Hip Hop Hype to introduce the last track of your much anticipated sophomore album with? Yet, Drake is a bit different, isn't he?
Despite being an integral feature within Young Money's musical landscape dominated by obscene piles of money and mounds of materialism, both Drake's Grammy nominated EP So Far Gone and the chart topping debut album Thank Me Later managed to evade our worst fears. Similarly, Take Care is refreshingly mature. From that aggressive quote taken from 'The Ride' to the sombre piano laced 'Look What You've Done', Take Care constructs a lexicon of reflection and self analysis. Of course, there are some anomalies: 'Make Me Proud' featuring the over-exposed, over-hyped (and over made up) Nicki Minaj and also the catchy 'HYFR' featuring Lil' Wayne. However don't the best have minor blips?
Thus, murmurs of Take Care as being wildly incoherent – I have heard it described as a compilation – are confounding. The largely unstuffy production of 'Over My Dead Body' creates a perfect frame around which one can fully appreciate Take Care's thematic consistency. For what is essentially a personal affirmation of Drake's own brilliance, that particular track still contains a slice of charm. Indeed, the same goes for current nightclub stalker 'Headlines', which appears a brag fest. To the careless listener. However, arm chair shrinks will tell you Drake is merely someone comfortable in his own skin. 'Lord Knows' and 'Underground Kings' do battle for the best offering from that aforementioned line of tracks. The former, featuring ad libs from Rick Ross, pips the latter to the post primarily because Just Blaze's soulful production stitches to Drake's subject matter and flow seamlessly.
Having displayed his superiority in as refined a way as is possible, Take Care ultimately oozes into a sort of 'grown and sexy' RnB album. Mind you, early tip-offs lay in 'Crew Love' ft The Weekend and 'Take Care' ft Rihanna. 'Crew Love' is a personal favourite. Yet its headphone appeal has very little to do with Drake himself. However, in passing the staring role to the voice of fellow Canadian The Weekend, Drake displays admirable qualities . At the opposite end of the fame spectrum lays Rihanna. Her and Drake faintly realigning the boundaries of the RnB duet with title track 'Take Care'.
Those early teasers ultimately give way to the full thing when 'Cameras/Good Ones Go' is unleashed. Whilst its delivery may be in the form of rap, Drake's monotone, accompanied with that chorus and beat makes the track worthy of Sunday afternoon chill-out status. Unconvinced? If so, Stevie Wonder's masterful display on the harmonica to conlcude 'Doing It Wrong' should change your opinion. Much like 'The Real Her' this track is an introspective and loving slow jam– credit goes to Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne whose rap verses don't alter that mood too much.
Take Care confirms Drake as torch bearer for next generation rap (note that J Cole is close behind). Drake is an artist just as gifted rapping his lungs off as he is singing lingerie in a similar direction. Having dodged some aimed at him whilst on stage in London I can personally vouch for that. If this ability to master both distinct art forms on one mature album doesn’t constitute consistency, its not all too clear what does.