32. Drake "Club Paradise" (2011)
Producer: Noah "40" Shebib
In early September 2011, Drake released three songs: "Club Paradise," "Free Spirit," and a remix to Waka Flocka's "Round of Applause." Of those, "Club Paradise" provided the most information about Drake's state of mind in the lead-up to Take Care. He opens with rumors and talk about his old Toronto women finding new men while he was away. Like it always does with Drizzy, the subject of relationships turns into something larger—he's lost touch with the women from his life, and thus lost touch with his home.
This is the Drake between Thank Me Later and Take Care, and he's finally starting to see clearly. Though he's fucking up the double cheek kiss at Fashion Week, he's beginning to understand the next stage of his evolution, and it's all about who he needs to surround himself with. It's about trust and who deserves it.
Listen to the final verse, where he becomes almost angry: "This'll be the year that I don't even feel shit/They trip off the amount of people I brought along, but I'm just tryna be surrounded by some real shit." That's the family of "Crew Love" he's talking about, but he's not there yet, and to our knowledge, that song didn't exist yet. He isn't ready to declare, "And really I think I like who I'm becoming." Instead, he bites off the words while standing on the verge, his voice floating in a wash of synths. —RS