Drake – Take Care Album Review
Let’s get this started by saying I had high expectations for this album before I even heard it. The quality of music we were getting from Drake throughout the year led me to believe this was going to be album of the year. “Watch the Throne” set the bar high and then “Cole World: Sideline Story” set it higher though. Drake had some serious work to do, and in my opinion he did it. It wasn’t the over the top, amazing production from WTT or lyrically dominating like Cole’s project, but once again it was extremely relatable.
The haters are going to hate, saying he’s soft, blah blah blah. I’m a fan of all hip hop, and consider it an art. If fucking Picasso painted the same type of shit as Van Gogh then we wouldn’t recognize them as artists individually. So listen to the album and read this review with an open mind.
Now let’s break these tracks down…
Did I expect this album to begin with anything else besides a piano? He started “Thank Me Later” with the last words of his mixtape “So Far Gone,” but starts this album with a known fact about his career last year. He killed everyone. I like how he compares how he blew up last year, to the things that came with it, to the haters and doubters that his sophomore project would be a success. The 2011 Drake had a new sort of swagger, and confidence to him that he doesn’t stray from to start this album. He lets it be known that he may have been quiet, but he’s still on top.
“I think I killed everybody in the game last year, man”
2. Shot For Me
First time listening through this song, it reminded me a lot of “Karaoke,” the second track off of his first album, “Thank Me Later.” After a few more times and reading through the lyrics, I realized he took a much different approach lyrically. Instead of him being kind of accepting and understanding of a former loved one, he enjoys seeing the anger and unhappiness that she has with her new man. He reiterates the fact that he’s the man, and she can’t replace him no matter what she tries. The common occurrence where she believes anything but the words out of your mouth. He touches on all of these things in “Shot for Me.” This is the ideal situation for any guy that’s been through this. When you see the footprints you left behind, and the attributes she picked up from you and how she is pissed she isn’t getting it from her new man. The only solution for her? Take a shot for me and get wasted to forget about it.
“May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, angels protect you, and heaven accept you.”
We’ve had plenty of time to soak this one in. Strange thing about this song though, is although it’s certainly been over-played, it’s not played out to me. It’s just one of those songs that have verses that are fun to rap along with. Not an all in your face, really annoying single, but good enough to be a single and enjoy all the way to the release of the album. I know there’s been countless times where by the time an album came out, I wouldn’t even think to listen to the singles. They know, they know, they know….
4 . Crew Love (Feat. The Weeknd)
I know I wasn’t the only one who thought I was listening to a Weeknd record when this beat kicks in. What I love about The Weeknd in his music or songs he’s featured on is his ability to build the song up. Him and Drake make a deadly combination and they don’t disappoint on this track. They speak on exactly what the song title says. Putting on your crew and making sure they get love too. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with this dude when he’s spending “50K on a vacation” and when he needs “reservations for 20.” The boss shit about this is that I know if I, or any of my close boys, ever were to make it then we’d be doing the same shit. Respect, Drizzy and The Weeknd.
5. Take Care (Ft Rihanna)
To anybody who’s ever been in love and hurt deep, then the words to this song speak directly to you. Not knowing who or if you can trust again. Or when you’re put in a situation where your heart is telling you one thing and people try to tell you otherwise. When you truly need someone to “take care” of you, but you just won’t let them. It’s unbelievable how much I relate to this song. Kind of out of left field here, but to quote Big Sean “What’s the perfect girl, if it’s not the perfect time?”. I love how in depth Drake gets and explains how meeting someone at the wrong point in life is hard. “Try to run from that, say you’re done with that, on your face girl, it just don’t show.” People that think they are ready to commit, but can’t get away from the person they are in that point in time. The pressures from friends and the fear of being hurt again. A lot to take in, but Drizzy speaks the truth with Rihanna adding her angelic voice as the icing on the cake.
This song dominated my summer. No matter what, I had to cap my night with “Marvin’s Room” or my night wasn’t complete. Contrary to the vibes you got on “Shot for Me,” the jealousy side of Drake comes back out on this track. I’m sure we’ve all had those late nights where you make some reckless phone calls to some people you maybe shouldn’t have called. It happens to the best of us. This though, just might be my favorite Drake track of all time. It’s him at his best in his top three talents. Singing, rapping, and what was written.
7. Buried Alive (Interlude) (Ft Kendrick Lamar)
Kendrick Lamar continues to impress the shit out of me. This verse sounds like some lost tapes of “Section .80″ or some shit. His flow and rhyme scheme with multiple syllable words is one of the top in the game right now.
“Looking in the mirror I’m embarrassed, I’m feeling like a suicidal terrorist.”
You start your verse like that then you are guaranteed to have anybody’s attention. Good call by Drizzy to have Kendrick on this album.
8. Underground Kings
This upbeat track gets you going with a steady head nod as soon as the beat kicks in. Great to hear him just going off with that high intensity, confident swagger that we didn’t really get from the leaked tracks throughout the year. He mentions the fact that he got “rich off a mixtape” which goes along with the title. I’m all about the deep, relatable songs that Drake always tends to give us, but sometimes you just need that straight hip hop where he spits bars with fury. Of course he has his signature parts of the song where he sings a random bar and then gets right back into rapping which seems to never get old. Overall, he bodies this beat.
The slow flow is killer, man. This bass heavy track has Drake written all over it. It sort of reminds me of “Up All Night” with the slow flow and the hook. Similar repetitive sample in the background as well. Love how he pays homage to Aaliyah in the first verse. Imagine if we would have got to see that collaboration? Damn. He spits through this track with ease touching on everything from never thinking about suicide, jealousy, buying a new condo, and having your girl in line for his show around the corner. I’m sure these are all problems most of us wish we had. Add in some Birdman talking typical Birdman “boss shit” at the end of the song and you got yourself a banger. Although, I could have gone without the Birdman part.
10. Make Me Proud (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
Another song that we’ve had some time to soak in. First things first, I love this beat. It actually plays surprisingly well in a club. It didn’t really hit me as a club song when it first came out. That might have to do with the overload of house music at clubs nowadays, but that’s a whole different subject. The hook is catchy and done in typical Drake fashion. I’ve said it from the beginning though, I’m not a big fan of Nicki in this song. I think she unnecessarily takes the energy up a notch with her verse. I really liked where Drake had it, and she kind of comes in too, well, Nicki like. I do like the part where she sings a bit though. Maybe if she would have used that to bridge into her verse I would have liked it better. Either way, overall a good song.
11. Lord Knows (Feat. Rick Ross)
It takes something very serious for me to start a verse over, immediately after I hear it. Drake’s verse in this is THAT serious. One of the realest and best verses that I’ve heard him rap in a long time. I love how he speaks on the fact that this generation of hip hop and music is completely different than back in the day. That’s an argument I always make. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the classics, but times have to change. He questions if artists from back in the day would be able to survive the hungry blogs and websites looking to expose celebrities more than ever. Another thing I found interesting in this verse is this line: “A lot of n**gas came up off a style that I made up.” I know I’m not the only one to think back to when Big Sean claimed Drake took his flow. Hmm, controversy? Rozay comes in to add the boss effect to the track. Short, but sweet. I really hope they follow through with that “Y.O.L.O.” joint mixtape.
This track is split up in two, with the song “Cameras” starting it off. A nice, slow paced, R&B track that makes you want to get your two-step on. I like the message that he’s giving off in this. He shouts out to the haters that think they know everything about him and his team and asks “thought you knew about the team?” He also brings up a good point that cameras can tell lies. People may not always truly look like what they show on camera. The second half of this interlude is the song “Good Ones Go.” I know we can ALL relate to this one. Having someone in the palm of your hand, but waiting just too long. Once they move on and you see them happy with someone else. There’s always that one that got away. To some, it may seem like Drake writes too much about these mysterious girls , but remember when 50 started making love songs and everyone got on him about it? So Drake, don’t switch your shit up. Can’t fix what ain’t broke.
13. Doing It Wrong (Feat. Stevie Wonder)
Deep, deep, DEEEP shit right here. There’s not many different lyrics in this song, but the message gets it’s point across by the words he chose to use. “Cry if you need to, but I can’t stay to watch you, that’s the wrong thing to do.” The feeling of getting sucked back in once that first tear falls. “Touch if you need to, but I can’t stay to hold you, that’s the wrong thing to do.” That familiar feeling of holding the one that you can’t let go of. “Talk if you need to, but I can’t stay to hear you, that’s the wrong thing to do.” Being coaxed into believing in something, because the sound of their voice that you’ve always trusted is telling you so. He hits the nail right on the head with this one. The hardest thing to do is to just walk away, and Drake shows that listening, holding, or watching someone cry will make the process 100 times harder. Not only are the words touching, but the brilliant harmonica solo at the end by legendary Stevie Wonder is a tear jerker in its own. One of my favorite songs on the album.
14. The Real Her (Feat. Lil Wayne, Andre 3000)
When this song first came out, I listened to it repeatedly simply because I was anticipating the album so much I couldn’t get enough. I still enjoy the song, but wouldn’t have minded if it was replaced on the album with “The Motto” and making this a bonus track. I think “The Motto” would be a good upbeat, switch up from all the deep music. Lil Wayne’s verse is certainly short, but filled with punchlines per usual. Andre 3000 seems to never disappoint with another great verse in here as well. Good track, but can see it being skipped in the future.
15. HYFR (Feat. Lil Wayne)
“Hell Yeah Fuckin’ Right”
Drizzy is in rare form on this track. Spits at high rate of speed which you rarely ever get from him. Good change of pace though and dope to see his progression as a rapper. Becoming a little more versatile than his typical slow flow. He speaks about a run in he has with a girl and how their dinner was interrupted with her…um…well, she had her mind set on something else. The chorus is pretty catchy, but doesn’t have much to it. Although it’s Weezy that does the hook, it definitely sounds like something that Drake wrote. Both of them hold it down on their verses, though. No real message to take out of this track though. One of the only ones that you can’t really sit and analyze.
Like Kanye West on his second album, Drake makes an ode to his mother in this first verse of this song on HIS second album. Drake touches on how he tries to convince his mother to quit smoking and arguments that they had. The absence of Drake’s father in his life seems to be a touchy subject to him. In the song he mentions that his mother compares him to his father in an argument and that was, “..my one button, you push it, now it’s fuck you, I hate you.” When all is said and done though, we know the rest of the story. He blows up and is able to give his mother everything he promised her. As someone that has a close relationship with their mother, that verse touches me. The second verse is just as touching though, as he speaks on his uncle who was a father figure to him. The way he speaks about him, shows that he was a driving force and believer in Aubrey from the beginning. Overall, one of those songs where you can hear an artist stray away from a persona and really speak to the loved ones in their life that helped them become who they are today. Great song.
The beat kicks in and immediately you notice something very familiar about it. Yup, that’s “Back That Ass Up” you’re hearing. I like this song, but I think might be my least favorite on the album. Kind of seems like a filler song to me, or something like “Trust Issues” where he did it for fun. Actually, wouldn’t mind if this was replaced with a “Club Paradise” or “Dreams Money Can Buy.” Something with a little more substance. Just gets a little boring to me, and too repetitive. Don’t skip it yet, but probably will end up skipping this one later on.
18. The Ride (Feat. The Weeknd)
Just going to start by saying the third verse in this song might be my favorite rapping verse he has on this album. Between this and “Lord Knows.” Just straight boss shit. Now that’s out of the way, overall solid track. Love how he has The Weeknd doing the vocals in the background and the hook. Would really love if they put out a project together. With somebody else covering for the vocals and the hook, Drake got to focus on just writing the rhymes. Well done sir. One of my favorite lines is, “Bitches smiling at ya, it must be happy hour.” Ha! One of the truer lines I’ve heard by a rapper.
19. The Motto (Feat. Lil Wayne)
You only live once: that’s the motto nigga YOLO
I listened to this live the night Drizzy was in LA on Power 105 FM to leak this track. I live in Massachusetts, needless to say the three hour difference and the fact that he dropped it at 11 PM Pacific time showed some dedication. It was worth the wait though. This song just makes me want to party. That first drum hits and instantly Drake comes in with “I’m the fuckin man.” I was hooked right away. In the words of Hov himself, “this got that bounce right here.” Another thing about this track, is that for the first time in a while, I feel that Weezy had a sufficient enough verse to keep up with Drake. Usually, it’s Drake that outshines Wayne, but he definitely kept up with him on this track. So, whether you’re at the club, or just pregaming before it, “The Motto” should be in rotation.
This is an album that you really need to sit down and soak in at least one time. That way you’ll have a whole different appreciation for it every time you hear it after that. The people that say “Drake’s gone soft” and all this shit must not have been paying attention to his career much. This is who he is. He’s always been a deep person in tune with his sensitive side. That’s when he makes his best music. “Take Care” is a prime example of it. If this isn’t your cup of tea, then no need to hate on it. But as far as content and how relatable this album is to my life, Drake did not disappoint my extremely high expectations. I’ve read in previous comments from our readers that maybe we shouldn’t label Drake a “rapper” because of how much he sings. It seems to piss the underground, lyrical hip hop fans off. Well, why can’t someone have the best of both worlds? Hip-Hop genre doesn’t have to be one-dimensional. All I know is that hip-hop is at it’s peak right now for this generation, and rising. So let’s have less hate, and more love. I’ve said enough though, thank you for reading, buy the album, and Take Care.
Written by Mike Da Silva. Follow me on Twitter: @TheMikeDaSilva
Let me know what you think of Drake’s Take Care album?