THE TOPIC: DRAKE'S TAKE CARE
THE CONSENSUS PANEL: Kathy Iandoli (HipHopDX.com), ego trip (egotripland.com), Andrew Barber (FakeShoreDrive.com), Confusion (PigeonsAndPlanes.com), Roger Guerrilla, (TheMaskedGorilla), John Gotty (TheSmokingSection.com), Combat Jack (Daily Mathematics), Nathan Slavik (DJBooth), Foster Kramer (TheNewYorkObserver), Robbie Ettelson (Unkut.com), Dallas Penn (DallasPenn.com), and Insanul Ahmed (Complex).
Peep the mini reviews below...
Panelist: Kathy Idoli, HipHopDX
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
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
Experience Shower Setting: Cascading Arrogance
17. “The Ride”
Experience Shower Setting: Bubbly Pleasure Waves
egotripland.com 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
Reaction: 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.
CLICK NEXT PAGE TO SEE REACTIONS FROM DJBOOTH, DALLAS PENN, AND COMPLEX.
Panelist: Combat Jack, Daily Mathematics
Reaction: Drake makes great records. Dude raps, he sings, and he’s added more harmony to the rap game, for which I am very grateful. I was an early fan of his and his mixtape bombshell So Far Gone was way ahead of its time, a veritable game changer even.
A lot has changed for young Aubrey Graham in the past couple of years. The crowned prince of the Young Money kingdom has just released his sophomore album. After another year of pollinating the airwaves with hits (DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One “, Lil Wayne’s “She Will”, “Headlines”, etc.) Take Care sounds like Drake’s attempt to return to the magic that was So Far Gone. Less driving beats for the clubs and more introspection through sung words, more ballady type love themed tracks for the ladies, some “woe is me I’ve become richer” musings, Drake seems to be angling for that Sade of rap title. And that’s alright as there’s room for Sade rap in this day and age. But Take Care sounds a bit…late. Like maybe it should’ve been the album that dropped after So Far Gone. Already though, TC has become a polarizing album on the Internets, with one faction of cats genuflecting on the honest greatness that this album is, and with the other side casting this aside as an estrogen laced album for the chicks and for simp minded dudes.
For someone like me who really enjoys the more rapping with some singing Drake, TC is of the more singing with some rapping type, resulting in less game changer Drake and more Drake falling in step with the trend he’s set those few years back. Does that make sense? Anyways, with TC sounding more like Drake as a Drake clone than Drake the innovator, TC comes off as a collection of musical poems written by a very emotional dude who would spend days writing love laced memes in a strip club after having his heart broken by a stripper named Candy Cakes, tears rolling off his face and into his very watered down Jack Daniels and coke as he cries, drinks and writes his pain away.
And all of that is just okay to me.
Panelist: Nathan Slavik, DJBooth
Reaction: He can’t yet step into the ring with rap’s heavyweights, but in his weight class (the under 25 division) Drake’s the undisputed champ. So with Take Care he enters the arena not as the underdog with the heart of gold, but as the prohibitive favorite waving his championship belt aloft.
It’s only right then that, as the title would suggest, Take Care is a fuller and carefully-crafted album than Thank Me Later, although not especially better, or that much different. The hazy, anesthesia beats of Noah “40” Shebib still comprise the album’s predominant sound, and Drake still returns to the same topics he’s rotated between since the So Far Gone days.
Some of my peers have put Take Care on the level of Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which is, frankly, crazy talk. There’s nothing suggesting the artistic vision, fearlessness and sheer creative force of MBDTF in the luxurious melancholy of Drake’s work. But that’s no insult. Drake’s created his own lane and paved it with gold by giving voice to everything his generation is, and wants to be. We’re still a long way from a classic, but Take Care once again proves that he’s just too good to disappear anytime soon.
Panelist: Foster Kamer, The New York Observer
Reaction: Every time I write one of these, I look back and think: Shit. "Otis" didn't deserve to be rated so well. Neither did Goblin. But here I am, blowing up (pause) Drake. But this is as much an album as it is a guide to breaking up and how to do it without too much damage by getting in front of the story and saying, "I'm sorry, I'm an asshole. Now if you'll excuse me while I go buy an ocelot. We'll talk again when I drunk dial you. Unless you drunk dial me first. Either way, see you on the next album, grandma. Tell PopPop I say what's up." On that merit alone, it deserves five stars. Hopefully, the next time I drunk dial my grandmother, I won't regret it, but in the event that I do, I'm hedging this risk by ducting the album exactly .50 stars. Also, I listened to Dashboard Confessional in high school, and if that doesn't merit serious critical regret, I don't know what does, though this may have much to do with why Drake is so appealing to mopey, hairy-knuckled Jewish guys like myself. On that appeal alone, I should strip it of another .50 stars, but the disturbing visual imagery of sitting in a hot tub with Rick Ross all but balances out any emo-scars Take Care may open up.
But seriously, Drake's grandmother should lay off the lean.
Panelist: Robbie Ettelson, Unkut.com
Reaction: There seems to have been some kind of horrible mix-up. Why did Complex just send me an old Jodeci tape to listen to in my mom's basement? It's good to hear that Color Me Badd are still releasing music in 2011, though. Yeah, Boyz II Men (pause!) haven't lost a step, huh? De La Soul would be turning in their graves if they heard this Rap 'N Bullshit, much like I did when I heard their AOI records. Oh, word? This is that newest/latest Chick Rap? Just as Groucho Marx didn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member, I don't have any desire to bang any broad who has such low self-esteem as to publicly admit to enjoying this album. Admittedly, that's a terrible comparison, but no less painful than the five minutes I spent submerged in this bowl of audio fruit punch. Even the cot-damn Zit Remedy had better drums than this! Joey F.Jeremiah, hold ya dome.
Panelist: Dallas Penn, DallasPenn.com
Reaction: Of all the Complex Consensus project this might be the highest rating I'm offering. Why? Because Take Care was EXACTLY what I expected it to be. This album is on some punk smoove pantydropper rap shit. And Drake will getting those panties. Earrrrly.
All these rappers talking about how big, bad and invincible they are while this dude Drake is rapping about how bad he is but how he sometimes takes losses. Halle-fuxin-luejah and its about time. Vulnerability Rap has been looking to get a lane in the game and look who's playing pointguard for the VR team...The rookie of the year. Well last year's rookie of the year, but anyhoo.
Take Care is like a Sign Of The Times for the 2012 kids. Don't give Kanye West or Andre 3K credit for this kid Drake's punk smoove flow give all praise to the father of that shit—Kurtis Blow. Blow was "Daydreamin" and now we have Drake.
Panelist: Insanul Ahmed, Complex
Reaction: In our epic Q&A with Drake, he said something about Take Care that might have gotten lost in the shuffle but is important nonetheless, “It’s not ‘Club Paradise.’ It’s not that brand of music. That’s why I put that song out. That song is not on my album.” In other words, Drake pulled a bait and switch by promoting himself with excellent songs like “Club Paradise,” “Dreams Money Can Buy,” and “I’m On One” but then didn’t put any of them on his album.
Those tracks were “reflective Drake”—songs where Drake contextualizes his emotions. Drizzy could have easily made an album called Club Paradise, filled it with a mix of his pre-album songs and some of Take Care’s best cuts, and continued his gentle progression as an artist at the epicenter of his genre. Instead, he made Take Care: A much more challenging and ambitious project than anyone could have reasonably imagined.
The best cuts on here are still the reflective ones that find Drake staring in his rear view, “Look What You’ve Done,” “Underground Kings,” and “The Ride.” But there’s a wealth of “emotional Drake”—songs where Drake acts out his emotions in the moment: “Marvins Room,” “Shot For Me,” and “Doing It Wrong.”
Yet what makes the album a triumph is Drake and his co-conspirator 40’s willingness to break the “rules” and go for broke: He spits nearly 60 bars before squeezing a 16 out of Ross on “Lord Knows,” he lets a meandering Weeknd set up “Crew Love” instead of having him simply do a bridge, and whatever the title track is, no one besides Kanye could even approach making it.
The album does have one major flaw: It runs far too long. Taken with its bonus cuts, it’s essentially 22 songs and nearly an hour and a half. But the quality of the music outweighs the quantity, even if it takes multiple spins to get into the album. One thing is for sure: Kids around here wear crowns, and Drake is worthy of his.