Drake is a very popular Rapper from the USA who needs little to no introduction. He has topped the charts multiple times with singles and albums respectively that have established him as a name to watch in postmodern music. Although this album is not seen as his best, it is a good starting point for his Rap based music. Its album cover is identifiable, simple and unique, hopefully suggesting that the music within is the same in a good way. For these reasons, this album should be covered here in a review, and let’s hope that, for all intents and purposes, it is a decent listen. This is a double album as well, so no doubt some patience will be needed to get through this.
Survival begins this double album with some tripped-out sounds, slow beats and an air of excitement about this tune. Drake raps excellently, his voice exudes calmness and confidence, and the lyrics present are fairly realistic for Rap music as well. The lyrics may be selfish, but this whole piece sounds very much like great Rap music with an attitude that counts. A cool and interesting listen, this still sounds great today. It ends with the cyber noises and the beats from the intro before ending. Good start man.
Nonstop begins with some interesting vocal samples, slow beats and bass that are excellent. Drake gets Rapping away nicely, and he just sounds like one cool dude, although there are plenty of profanities present on these tracks. This is a straightforward, decent and groovy piece that still sounds fresh and amazing at the time of writing. There is a breakdown with a strange vocal sample and much emphasis on the grinding bass and beats. If you need a good Rapper for the 21st century, Drake is your man to hear on repeat. The social realism-styled lyrics are cool, too. This is a subtle groove that makes perfect sense and sounds great, too. Of course, Rap music is often self-parody. Drake is often not. This is great and powerful music that does the job nicely. It ends with the grinding bass and beats, all the way through to the interesting conclusion. Brilliant work.
Elevate begins with some melancholy keyboard-style sounds. Before long, Drake launches into quite a good tune, “Elevate, elevate, passed the drug tests so we can celebrate,” is a funny line, followed by Drake rapping about his family, which was a new thing for him at the time. Nonetheless, another great track to listen to which blows away anything Kanye West was doing at the time. A good piece of music about Drake’s life, this is fairly autobiographical. With references to God and romanticism, Drake nails a good piece of music present on this album. An interesting and different listen, Drake actually comes across as a fairly intelligent Rapper. This piece ends with the melancholy sounds to the fade-out. Good effort.
Emotionless begins with some samples of old Soul music, complete with a clanging piano. It is a good and inspired introduction, which quickly launches into some steady and punchy beats. Drake raps more about his own life and the art of struggling to keep his head above water in a postmodern world. In any case, this is another consistent and excellent tune to listen to, it just has a good quality about it with a retro Soul feel to it. Drake is a good Rap artist, and he delivers a different sort of statement then you’d expect. Without a doubt, this is a genuinely good listen. This is not a bad album so far. It’s a great song to listen to from start to finish, and the outro has the Soul music sample played extensively, before some piano and other keyboards are played to conclude this number, along with some random electronic noises. Nice work dude.
God’s Plan is the most popular song from this double album. It begins with some rather trippy melodies before Drake begins his stuff. From the start, this is an excellent tune to hear and is a nicely constructed tune throughout. The lyrics are fairly personal on this one, and there is less pretentious Rap posturing from Drake here. It’s more textural and sonic-based, and although the lyrics seem less important in this tune, the music is good enough to propel it into your consciousness. God’s Plan itself is difficult to understand from a lyrical point of view, but nonetheless, this is awesome and amazing. The outro has the beats and melodies playing simply here, before fading out. Good effort, although Drake confesses only to be partially in love with his partner. This is odd, but that’s what Rap artists do.
I’m Upset begins with a cymbal crash, and more ambient-style melodies, before going into a rather embarrassing listen that doesn’t make sense. It’s not outright bad but references child support and other rather odd things you’d rather not hear about from Drake’s life. Despite all this, it’s listenable, but it sounds weird and the title is odd for a Rapper who typically exudes confidence. It’s still okay and it’s better than anything Cardi B ever made, but still sounds musically and lyrically awkward. It has a super slow long fade out, before concluding. A weird tune.
8 Out Of 10 begins with some rather selfish Rapping by Drake about his life and money. Soon enough, it enters into a glorious groove that sounds really a lot better than the previous track. Drake spits rhymes that are energetic, confident and wonderful. Although this tune is about becoming a single father, it is sonically beautiful and adventurous enough to maintain interest. An enjoyable and interesting tune, Drake does a good job of delivering decent music. There is a lengthy ending here, with an African American lady-style speech, which sounds imitated by Drake, which is a weird listening experience. Interesting tune though.
Mob Ties begins with some nice and clean electric guitar parts, before launching into a tune that is quite good with some rather typical Rap beats to match. This is an improvement on some of the songs before it, and it sounds really awesome and interesting. “It’s too late for this lovey-dovey shit,” proclaims Drake, which is hardly a hugely intelligent statement, but a statement nonetheless. This flows better as a piece of music here, but even so, this album comes across as good, but not great. Anyway, it is an intriguing listen and nicely melodically structured. Drake delivers where he can. Nice job all the same.
Can’t Take A Joke sounds dark and ambient, but is a good listen from the start. This tune is about gang culture and isn’t a joke track, it is very serious in tone and delivery. It’s a more typical Rap tune about guns and other things ongoing. Drake seems to be more intelligent than your average Rapper. However, he still indulges in the usual Rap talk. This is an okay tune but lacks some magic about it. Good to hear if you are a Rap fan, however.
Sandra’s Rose begins with some female soul vocal samples that are multitracked and gorgeous. This tune quickly gets going, and it does show a definite focus and promise to the listener. Some of the lyrics here are quite humourous, which is unusual for a serious Rapper like Drake. The instrumentation and beats here are really amazing, even if Drake doesn’t come across as the greatest lyricist ever. Anyway, it is an excellent listen and mentions some of the issues Drake has to deal with. Drake has an awesome voice for a Rapper: cool, calm and confident. This tune ends with the female soul vocals, a good one.
Talk Up (feat. Jay-Z) begins with someone pounding on the door, before launching into a very dark and serious-sounding tune. The music is very much associated with social realism that many Rappers indulge in, and it does sound interesting. A decent listen for the intensity of this tune, although it sounds dark and foreboding. Jay-Z’s appearance is good, but probably not entirely necessary on this tune in retrospect. Anyway, this is a typical postmodern Rap effort that is okay, but fairly forgettable after you hear it. It does the job, however. An interesting tune but lyrically nonsensical. It ends fairly quickly.
Is There More begins with some weird backwards sounds, along with some minimal beats. This is definitely odd sounding, and Drake begins Rapping along well. In any case, this does sound weird and probably too much so for this double album. It sounds a lot like a naff attempt by Drake to mesh a Nine Inch Nails style sound to lyrics. The lyrics themselves are interesting, and the whole thing is a serious and social realism piece via its lyricism. This track is difficult to enjoy, but nonetheless, is an interesting listen. This one quite clearly could have been junked, however. It ends with lone autotuned female vocals, which are interesting.
Peak begins with some simple and heavy beats over more dark textures. It sounds decent for what it is, and is a good and calming tune for when you need some good Rap music. Drake sings here, as well as does some Rapping, which makes this an interesting listen. It sounds very warm and deep in a way, but does the job with some typical Rap lyrics present here which make sense to the Rap music fan. The digitised noises in between the verses are horrible, though. There are some guitar parts in the background towards the end, too. The end has a sampled argument, which isn’t that comforting. An okay piece for what it is.
Summer Games begins with some rather retro-sounding keyboard-style sounds which are again, dark and murky. This is a weird tune about the darker nature of relationships, and it is a rather ordinary and depressing piece about Drake’s relationship issues. Really, such selfishness is not necessary here. It’s a weird and odd tune that would have been better reworked. Nonetheless, a good listen but far from a great one. Drake needn’t put his issues onto records, it just doesn’t make good sense to do so. This is a longer piece that could have been junked easily or reworked better. It’s okay, but very miserable sounding. Fairly forgettable listening, one should avoid this if they can. The electronic keyboard sounds are in the fade-out here.
Jaded begins with some ambient washes, simple beats and a sense that we have a better track ahead for us to hear. This one is quite listenable and catchy, and the whole tune is a decent representation of what Drake can achieve, at his best. The tune is fairly minimal, yet Drake seems quite positive and happy here. This is a great autobiographical piece with melodies and beats galore to impress the listener. A good and explorative listen, this is a good tune for this album. Drake’s music and voice exude warmth and comfort, especially on this track. It’s about missing a lover who one longs for, and it certainly sounds chilled. The sonic construction here is magnificent. This song ends with glorious instrumentation and a vocal fade-out. Nice work.
Nice For What begins with various vocal samples and some strange sound effects, which are different. Soon enough, this piece gets going and Drake delivers an upbeat and focused piece of music that sounds really quite cool and excellent. A great tune to hear, this does sound quite catchy. A mixture of female soul vocals and Drake delivering a good Rap tune makes sense, it just sounds really incredibly good. A gem within this album, there is an intermission with a sample of someone preaching music to a crowd, before Drake gets going on his mission to impress you. One of the best pieces from this double album, it does superbly well. Great effort Drake.
Finesse begins with some dreary piano and some sparse instrumentation before Drake launches into more rather selfish Rapping about his life. Sure, this is Rap music, but Drake is kind of flogging a dead horse by this point about being a father and lusting after women. It’s okay, but not fantastic. It’s a really strange listening experience this one, and not exactly quintessential for fans of Drake nor the wider public. It’s barely passable, but even if you love Rap, this isn’t the worst you could hear. It ends with weird instrumentation and beats.
Ratchet Happy Birthday is a weird listen from the start, with piano, bongo beats and some wah-wah sounds, before Drake gets rhyming about someone else’s birthday. It’s an interesting but non-essential listen present here. Drake’s voice gets a robotic autotune treatment on this tune, which isn’t hugely necessary. The rhymes present are full of profanities, which also are not necessary at this point. Anyway, it is a weird tune but doesn’t sound out of place on this album. A chilled tune, although not the greatest on this album. Rather nonsensical, this does not seem very impressive. It has a long fade-out.
That’s How You Feel begins with some excellent beats and gritty textures before Drake gets stuck right into the music at hand. It has more musings about women and partying. There is a live performance sample present here in the middle, which is strange. The music present is fairly repetitive and the chorus is good, but do we really need a double album for Drake to explain his life over and over again? Probably not. The live performance sample returns towards the end, and the instrumentation continues to fade out. Decent.
Blue Tint begins with more piano and lush sounds in the background, including wah-wah guitar. Drake launches into another piece about women that is very good and wonderful, showing the world what he has got. There is a guest vocal sample to reach the climax of the song before Drake gets back into the brutal and fairly honest Rapping. Sure, Drake has a good voice, but really is some of the material on this double album necessarily worth it? Not always. A good tune, but again, not a great one.
In My Feelings begins with some more nice lush sounds and a little bit of DJ scratching, before going into a very catchy tune that is no doubt one of the highlights of this double album. It’s about treating a lady with all the nice things in the world and being deeply in love with her. Typical Rap sort of stuff, but the tune and craftsmanship present is really good. There is a good female vocal sample intermission which is over the top of the tune, along with other nicely sampled vocal parts, especially in the second half of the tune. A real standout from this album, if only the rest of the album has this sort of consistency. Despite that, a good tune that is definitely worth your time. Well worth it. It has a random and unnecessary vocal sample at the end, however.
Don’t Matter To Me (with Michael Jackson) is a strange one, as Michael Jackson was long gone from this world by the time of recording. Regardless, this piece begins nicely with Drake Rapping well over the top of a very retro sounding keyboard patch. Michael Jackson’s voice from the grave is present here, and the interaction between the two legends is actually quite good on this tune. An interesting tune about lusting after a woman (typical Rap stuff), but an enjoyable and audibly pleasing listen. Drake and Michael Jackson both sound great here, although this was obviously pre-recorded before Michael Jackson’s death. In any case, a well delivered and very listenable tune. It has a super long and spacey fade out, a very good collaborative effort indeed. Great combination of two major artists.
After Dark (feat. Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign) begins with some nicely played Fender Stratocaster guitar and some pounding beats. Drake and co. get going into this interesting piece of music, and it sounds very 1970s and groovy. A refreshing and enjoyable listening experience, Drake openly references his drug and alcohol habits on this tune, which isn’t the most intelligent thing for anybody to do. Nonetheless, this is about seeing a lady in one’s spare time after working hard for music’s sake. The guests present do this song justice as well, and although the majority of this album is fairly bland, this cut is not. A good piece of music that sounds really cool and awesome, the sounds and samples present on this tune are very amazing. There is a long and quiet fade out present, before a radio piece sampled enters. It seems rather interesting and weirdly humourous, a nice way to end such a track.
Final Fantasy begins with punchy bass heavy beats, harps in the background and Drake rapping about some fairly heavy subjects. This is a more serious sort of tune that isn’t really good at this point, and it sounds fairly mediocre here. There is a weird breakdown with a spacey sound in it, along with fragments of sound effects. This is followed by a pause, and a sample of what sounds like The Jerry Springer Show, which is truly bizarre. Drake then gets back to business, and he delivers a good effort, without being great here. His voice exudes a cool and calm nature, and concludes this piece in such a calm way that it is surprising. He does have a very good voice, to be fair, and it is well used here.
March 14 is likely about Drake’s then newborn child. It is a good piece of music about the subject, but really, isn’t totally necessary present here. Drake seemingly, more so than on any other track on this album, speaks from the heart. A good listen regardless, it is a decent conclusion to a lengthy album which is a fairly mixed bag of songs. However, this is not entirely necessary for Drake to put everything out there in this way. This tune fades out quickly, before it launches into the second half, which has dramatic piano and Drake singing very nicely to conclude this song. This section is very sad sounding, and Drake sounds very emotional on this conclusion to a rather lengthy song from this album. This second half also fades out, and we conclude this album.
This probably isn’t the best Drake album ever. However, having said that, it is not outright bad. It is however somewhat disappointing. There are, indeed, some good album cuts here, but for the most part part, some of his other releases would be a better bet to begin with. Drake does show real potential however, and he reveals some of his emotions better than other artists do. A good listen, but falls short of being a great listen.
From the streets, y’all.