Label: OVO Sound, Young Money, Cash Money, Republic
Producers: Aubrey "Drake" Graham, Brian "Baby Birdman" Williams, Noah "40" Shebib, Ronald "Slim" Williams, Allen Ritter, Boi-1da, Chilly Gonzales, Detail, DJ Dahi, Hudson Mohawke, Jake One, Jordan Evans, Key Wane, Majid Jordan, Mike Zombie, Nineteen85, Sampha, Vinylz
Features: Jhené Aiko, Majid Jordan, Detail, Sampha, Jay Z
“Started From the Bottom” was the first single released from Nothing Was the Same and because it dropped at the top of 2013, it set the bar high for the rest of year, which encompassed the release of his third album. By the time the album dropped in September, the song was becoming played out—but little did we know he would deliver his most complete work to date. What Take Care lacks in cohesion, NWTS makes up for with cohesion of sound—despite having less production from 40 than the rest of Drake's catalog.
Digging into the album, “Worst Behavior” replaced "Started From the Bottom" as an anthem for the ages. The reckless shit talking from Drake and the beat, which sounds hand-delivered from the future by DJ Dahi, gives anyone and everyone an excuse to act like a savage. It's the kind of song that, like the Henny in your system, takes control of your soul and your actions, to the point where you can't help but yell, "Motherfuckers never loved us" like it's the only true statement left in this broken world. “The Language” is a slapper, too. Once that Boi-1da beat bubbles up, you can’t help but anticipate the classic refrain: “She just wanna smoke and fuck, I said, ‘Girl, that’s all that we do.” As far as other bars are concerned, the marathon run of “Tuscan Leather” stands as his best intro to date.
NWTS not only puts his lyrical ability on full display, but he went off on “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2,” going toe-to-toe with his idol Jay Z. The same can be said for “Tuscan Leather” and “The Language.” “The contract like ‘91 Dan Marino” and “Took a while, got the Jokers out of the deck now/I’m holding all the cards, niggas wanna play chess now” are #bars if you ask me. Then he has tracks like “Too Much” featuring Sampha and “Wu-Tang Forever” where he becomes his most relatable when talking about family and love.
There aren’t any fillers on this album, and he proved to “real rap” heads that he was capable of talking slick on a more consistent basis. NWTS began his dominance over the rap scene in which he controlled 2014 with loosies like “0 to 100” and didn’t drop an album. He then took advantage by releasing the surprise mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Drizzy was poised to sack the rap throne but fumbled the opportunity by reverting back to old habits of too much R&B crooning. He seems complacent on VIEWS, a man who’s still running victory laps after winning his most recent battle. He needs to get back to having something to prove like he did on NWTS because the game of thrones waits for nobody. —Angel Diaz