Ten years ago, BET featured its first-ever music video from an unsigned Canadian rapper on its "New Joint of the Day" segment— a rookie from the Six, a former child actor with higher ambitions, an unknown man named Aubrey bound for greatness. The continuing successes of his singles and mixtapes snowballed into a popularity so hot that a bidding war from different labels on the emerging Toronto rap king ensued, with Young Money Entertainment and Lil Wayne winning the fight. His debut with Young Money, his tracks "Over" and "Find Your Love", skyrocketed him to the charts, even before his first album Thank Me Later was released. Since then, it's been an constant evolution for the hip-hop mogul we know as Drake, from dating Rihanna to nabbing a Grammy (or three) to dropping his own fashion line.
This is the day of the expanding Drake. He’s no longer a mere rap king, but a global, sound-absorbing pop superstar. He’s an occasion for conversations about appropriation and the black diaspora. He’s an entry point for the unfamiliar into genres like Afrobeats and dancehall and grime and South African house.
But beneath these plush trappings, he’s still, in many ways, the same Toronto MC who is by turns paranoid about his standing and prone to long bouts of introspection. More Life, his latest release, closes with “Do Not Disturb,” a long verse of self-examination in the tradition of So Far Gone’s “Say What’s Real.” As he continues to grow as an entity, the kid we know from the Degrassi days still stays stubbornly in the picture.
It’s a rap pastime to sort an artist’s song and album catalog with each new release. More Life, a playlist, is over four months old now, so why not? Here’s the most updated evaluation of the best Drake albums, from worst to best.