Album: Take Care
Producer: Noah "40" Shebib
"Marvin's Room" is the archetypal Drake song—the end game of all his potential and the culmination of his talents. From the day we first heard So Far Gone, we knew this is where Drake's music was headed. He tried to make this song, with this exact same song structure, on numerous occasions ("Houstatlantavegas," "Trust Issues," "Shot For Me") to varying degrees of success. He's essentially trying to make an R&B song with a guest verse from a rapper, except he's a guest on his own song. But never was the rapping or the singing as composed, well written, or focused as it is on "Marvin's Room."
The record does play right into the hands of Drake haters who call him "emo" and a "sensitive thug." But when someone can articulate a common social phenomenon like drunk dialing so well—and make it so damn catchy—what does it matter? This was easily one of the best R&B songs of the past few years and one of the best 16s. Drake admits to feeling the emotions rappers rarely admit to: Sorrow, shame, and regret. He even says sorry at the end of his verse. Despite all his efforts, you get the feeling he never actually gets the girl. Love is a losing game. —IA