THE CONSENSUS PANEL: Kathy Iandoli (, ego trip (, Andrew Barber (, Confusion (, Roger Guerrilla, (TheMaskedGorilla), John Gotty (, Combat Jack (Daily Mathematics), Nathan Slavik (DJBooth), Foster Kramer (TheNewYorkObserver), Robbie Ettelson (, Dallas Penn (, and Insanul Ahmed (Complex).


Peep the mini reviews below...


Panelist: Kathy Idoli, HipHopDX
Sweater Rating: 
Reaction: An important point to note when listening to Take Care is that this isn't the hip-hop your older brother listened to. It's not even the hip-hop you listened to. For the hip-hop purist it's a canoe ride into skullfuckery, but for those that accept that the landscape of hip-hop is changing, it's a welcome adventure. Many suggest Drizzy is doing something brand new; those with a memory know he isn't. A woman named Lauryn Hill did all of these emotional tie-ins into rap and did it better. What is true is that Drake is the first guy to do it without a pause. "Marvin's Room" and "Dreams Money Can Buy" validate this claim, with warped production as Drake shows his gentle side. These aren't even the highlights. "Underground Kings", "Look What You've Done" and "The Ride" (with The Weeknd) are all better than any Wayne-assisted single ("The Real Her") or side-step into whining territory about getting papercuts from all the hundreds he's counting. Yes the sweatered boy wonder can traipse on the annoying side; but it's only annoying if you expect him to be Rakim. This is new school hip-hop, where caution is thrown to the wind and sad songs don't just come with a tampon. Drake will be here for a while, and if you don't like it, "take care."

Panelist: ego trip, ego trip
Rating: (5.5 if you’re a 14 year-old girl)
Reaction: We read in Complex that Drake is having an "experience shower" installed in his home – like the kind they have at fancy spas. So rather than bore you with some elaborate critical analysis of Take Care, here is the album’s tracklist along with each song’s most descriptive corresponding experience shower setting. Take Care—take us away!

1. “Over My Dead Body”
Experience Shower Setting: Frothy Heaven

2. “Shot For Me”
Experience Shower Setting: Satin OVOry Pulsations

3. “Headlines”
Experience Shower Setting: Metro Juice

4. “Crew Love” ft. The Weeknd
Experience Shower Setting: Ben Gay Flood

5. “Take Care” ft. Rihanna
Experience Shower Setting: Pine Nut Xtasy Xplosion

6. “Marvin’s Room” / “Buried Alive Interlude”
Experience Shower Setting: Orgasmic Introspection

7. “Under Ground Kings”
Experience Shower Setting: Vivrant Spurts

8. “We’ll Be Fine”
Experience Shower Setting: Lustful Waterfalls

9. “Make Me Proud” ft. Nicky Minaj
Experience Shower Setting: Lavender Lava Streams

10. “Lord Knows” ft. Rick Ross
Experience Shower Setting: Purple Rain

11. “Cameras” / “Good Ones Go Interlude”
Experience Shower Setting: Fruity Fantasia

12. “Doing It Wrong” ft. Stevie Wonder
Experience Shower Setting: Jet Blues

13. “The Real Her” ft. Lil’ Wayne & Andre 3000
Experience Shower Setting: Canadian Cumshots

14. “HYFR (Hell Ya Fu**in’ Right)” ft. Lil’ Wayne
Experience Shower Setting: Ginormous Jizms

15. “Look What You’ve Done”
Experience Shower Setting: Emotional Tumblr

16. “Practice”
Experience Shower Setting: Cascading Arrogance

17. “The Ride”
Experience Shower Setting: Bubbly Pleasure Waves is showering you with even more cover-age of Take Care. Go HERE to take a look.

Panelist: Andrew Barber, FakeShoreDrive
Reaction: Drake gets a bad rap. Consistently. One thing we have to remember is that music is 100% subjective. Whether you personally love or hate something typically has no bearing on what the general public thinks. And the general public thinks Drake is the shit. This is proven concretely by radio spins, album sales, TV commercials, and cultural impact.

Today, more rappers emulate Drake, than rappers in the mid-90s emulated the Wu (for those who remember). There are literally hundreds of Drake carbon copies—and a few of them are even "on" in the industry. His formula wins time and time again, so it's no surprise he's constantly circled by sharks.

On Take Care, Drake has taken everything the peanut gallery has tossed his way and has personified it. You think he's hyper-sensitive? Well, he's going all out on here, and giving you the finger while he's at it. He's too sad and somber? Of course Drizzy is sad, it's lonely where he sits.

While there's a few songs on here that I don't care for ("Practice" and the Stevie Wonder joint); a track like "Look What You've Done" more than makes up for it. That's one of the more heartfelt records of the past 10 years. And joints like "Lord Knows" appease the other side of the spectrum, as Drake brought the best out of both Just Blaze and Rick Ross. Drake and his producers also pulled from his various obscure musical tastes (SWV, Playa, and DJ Screw), seamlessly pieced them together and made them work. He obviously knows a lot more about this than you're willing to give him credit for. Wave to your haters, Drake.

Panelist: Jacob Moore, Pigeons & Planes
Reaction: With Take Care, everyone had their expectations. We've gotten a general sense of Drake's post-Thank Me Later direction, and we all saw where this was going. Leading up to this, Drake's been on a serious hot streak, and the expectations were high. Still, he managed to deliver. He holds onto that unique style that he and 40 have mastered and with confidence, he pushes it even further into something that is subtly but completely unique.

In "Over My Dead Body," the opening song to Take Care, Drake declares, "My city love me like Mac Dre in the Bay/Second album I'm back paving the way/The backpackers are back on the bandwagon, like this was my comeback season back, back in the day." He's right.

Drake has made an album that the purists and the Top 40 fiends can agree on, for the most part. It's got just enough of the obvious hits without trying too hard to be completely radio friendly. There's just enough experimentation, just enough singing, just enough spitting, just enough bragging, and just enough heart-spilling. All those little things that Drake has become known for, he measures them out carefully and mixes them up for Take Care. The mark of a great pop artist is the ability to make a crowd-pleasing album that is also critically acclaimed. Most of the time, an artist sacrifices one for the other. We're still waiting to gauge the consensus, but it will be surprising if Drake doesn't end up with both.

Panelist: Roger Guerrilla, TheMaskedGorilla
Drakeʼs album, Take Care, is an honest and cohesive project which effortlessly showcases two contrasting personas of the young Toronto rapper. Whether or not it was intentional, these dueling personas are showcased by Drakeʼs chosen voiceovers from two influential and polarizing characters in his young life.

The first voiceover comes from Birdman on “Weʼll Be Fine”, who was undoubtably rubbing his hands together while in the booth recording this: “Kill spray anything in the way... fuck ʻem, we donʼt love ʻem.” Along with Lil Wayne, Birdman can be considered a father figure in this chapter of Drakeʼs life. Albeit, a brash, Twitter- illiterate father figure, who is openly gang affiliated and comes from the streets.

The second voiceover is courtesy of Drakeʼs ailing aunt in the form of a voicemail on “Look What Youʼve Done”: “Aubrey... I remember the good times we have had together and the times I used to look after you”. As explained in the song, his loving and affluent aunt partially took on a mother role for Drake during his early teen years up until he met Lil Wayne for the first time.

Itʼs these two contrasting worlds and personalities that have made Drake the man he is today. From “rap song,” to “R&B song,” Drakeʼs sophomore album paints an accurate picture of Aubrey Graham, in all of his complexities, while still producing hit singles. Now, if only we could erase all memory of Lil Wayne from the album.

Panelist: John Gotty, TheSmokingSection
Reaction: Since the early part of the previous decade, rap has experienced a gradual shift from a focus on lyricism to melody being the driving force. I'm not sure if we're at the peak of that shift but Drake's leading the pack. Not to say he isn't lyrically capable—he undoubtedly is—but no one can keep pace with the Canadian's ability to harmonize and simply make good fucking songs that bleed across genre lines.

A friend characterized tracks like "Marvin's Room" and "The Real Her" as "strip club ballads" filled with lines selling strippers and hoes false hope...but doing it believably well. For straight rap, cue up the globetrotting "Under Ground Kings," the "The Ride" and the autobiographical "Look What You've Done," a standout moment where Drake's wearing of his heart on his sleeve works better than almost any record he's created up to this point.

The only qualms with the album are its length, which in turn creates a handful of tracks that are redundant and thus unnecessary, more fit to be throwaways. If we're really nitpicking, better sequencing could have been done to enhance the listening. Toss those two to four tunes aside, switch the order a bit and we're left with an impressive body of work. Even if you deduct points for those two elements, add points back for 40's masterful production that fosters a sound that's sharp and rich, pushing the album sonically ahead of competitors' work.


PAGE 1 of 2