25. Drake "Over My Dead Body" (2011)
Album: Take Care
Producer: Noah "40" Shebib, Chantal Kreviazuk
In the wake of Thank Me Later, more than a few Drake fans were left wondering if they were ever going to hear the level of stripped-down, intimate Drake records—replete with the roomy beats of Noah "40" Shebib—that put them onto Drake with So Far Gone. It's why "Over My Dead Body" is so crucial.
The song opens with sparse, distorted piano line, and then, those muffled 40 bass hits enter shortly before the hook: Not by Rihanna, or Alicia Keys, or any other R&B crossover superstar, but classically-trained Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk, delivering a stunning, off-kilter warble about self-doubt. That's countered by Drake, who registers the first lines of Take Care, a triumphant decree without the slightest sense of self doubt: "I think I killed everybody in the game last year, fuck it I was on, though."
The song doesn't get any more humble than that chorus, but it does (A) contain some of Drake's hands-down best lines ("Just performed at a Bar Mitzvah over in the states/Used half of the money to beat my brother's case") and (B) act as a crucial scene-setter for what's to follow, the Drake album that everybody wanted, a weirdly reflective and ego-driven look inward that's set on ignoring any serious psychology in favor of announcing his return.
Like so many of the great Drake songs at the top of this list, "Over My Dead Body" is one that has hints of a melancholy outlook on success, without giving too much about it away. —FK