9) Make Me Proud Feat. Nicki Minaj
Drake brings in his friend, big sister, lover (who knows what they are these days) in what’s sure to be another radio hit. The song is a bit of an ode to a woman who Drake is mesmerized with – maybe Nicki herself? The two have a relationship that tabloid mags dream of. The song itself at its core is a bit cheesy -a bit weird to be singing about how proud of your girl you are. but I guess, when you’re Aubrey Graham, you can get away with these things. Nicki Minaj comes in and channels her inner crazy doing the standard voice changing and screaming that we’ve become accustomed to. She shows her versatility late in the track switching from rapping to a more melodic tone then to the Supa Dupa flow. Nicki is essentially the female version of Drake. In fact, I’m now convinced she should add this to her growing list of Alter Egos.
10) Lord Knows Feat. Rick Ross
The kid from Degrassi and the drug dealer from Florida – what were the odds of this duo happening five years ago? The two actually have a collaborative mixtape in the works and if that sounds anything remotely close to this, I’m sold. They bring in Just Blaze for the production and he delivers a gospel-esque choir band background that oozes of majesty, royalty, and alludes to the album’s theme of Drake’s rise to the top of the Hip Hop throne. Just Blaze brings that ‘mafia’ style presence to the beat that we’ve seen him do many times on his past work with Jay-Z. Lyrically, we see Drake at one of his finest – addressing essentially most of the issues he’s faced with his newfound fame. If you’re a fan of Drake’s rapping over his singing, this is the track for you. He head-on confronts his critics biggest complaints: his emotional insecurity.
I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryin’ to push me//I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a p—y
11)Cameras/Good Ones Go
Sampling Jon B’s Calling On You, the beat is an emotional lull, dragging you along with Drake’s groggy delivery. In fact it almost sounds like one of Wayne’s tracks after he’s demolished a cup of sizzurp. The song is basically about Drake denying gossip and rumors about some girl he’s been seen with. He unconvincingly tries to tell her that all his relationships with different women are all fueled by the media and he’s only doing it for the press or as he says ‘It looks like we’re in love but only on camera‘. Most logical guess would be about Nicki Minaj? After about 5 minutes, the track changes into an even more somber mode with Drake lamenting that he’s lost her. He tries to convince her that his lifestyle isn’t good for her, but she shouldn’t get married because once he’s done being famous, he’s all hers. Seriously…That works?
I’ve been chillin in the city where the money’s thrown high and the girls get down//In case you’re starting to wonder why my new s-t sounding so H-Town//But once it’s all done, I’m yours if you’re still around
12) Doing It Wrong Feat. Stevie Wonder
So everything Drake said about not caring about singing and being emotional…he was being really serious. Like really really serious. The song is about Drake going through a harsh break-up and opens up with one of those lines I’d expect my mother to tell me in 7th grade after (insert middle school love name here) breaks my heart: When a good thing goes bad, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just the end of a world that you had with one girl. Seriously, Drake channeling his inner Adele? (Sidenote: could you imagine what a collab like that would look like? Who would break down and cry first?) Drake sings his way throughout the verses and the chorus of telling us to ‘Cry If You Need To’, telling his lover that they both know they need something different. Stevie Wonder comes in with a harmonica solo at the end to finish the track. Drake’s critics will ruthlessly rip him for this track, but from an ‘artist’ and not a ‘rapper’ standpoint, it’s actually not a bad result.
We live in a generation of not being in love and not being together//But we sure make it feel like we’re together//Because we’re scared to see each other with somebody else
13) The Real Her Feat. Lil’ Wayne, Andre 3000
At this point in the CD, you might be starting to think you mistakenly put in your pops Marvin Gaye collection. Drake teams up with Weezy for another slow-groove piano ballad that is really only saved by Andre 3000’s masterful verse. From a lyrical viewpoint, you might even argue that Andre 3K’s verse is the best of the entire album. He gives a depiction of the strip club that deciphers not the curves and looks of the women, but rather the inner thoughts of the women and men around him. If you really want to admire his verse, take a look at Toure’s breakdown of the lyrics – you’ll be in awe. Weezy’s verse is a bit of a downer as he didn’t really add much to the track. Overall, Andre 3000’s verse takes this song from just dull and lethargic to pretty impressive.
Now the both of us are colorblind cause the other side looks greener//Which leaves your turf in a Boise State, can’t see her play or the team cuz
14) HYFR Feat. Lil’ Wayne
Any hip hop song that starts with a George Strait line is automatically a winner. Drake teams up with Weezy again and the duo each unleash a verse that tackles their fast paced life and the women that generally want to be a part of it. Drake probably spits his best verse of the album – skip to :18 and try to rap from :18-:41 in one breath – nicely done Drizzy. Again showing us his versatility – people that say he has no lyrical skills are clueless. The fact that he chooses to do more love ballads than Lionel Richie is irrelevant and not correlated to his MC-ing ability.
What have I learned since getting richer//I learned working with the negatives could make for better pictures//I learned Hennessy and enemies is one hell of a mixture
15) Look What You’ve Done
One of Drake’s main appeals to fans is that he’s not afraid to take you inside his life and share his inner-most thoughts. In this track, Drake gives a very revealing look into his upbringing and pays tribute to the men and women who made him who he is today. He’s often talked about his mother before – especially in So Far Gone – but he devotes the entire verse touching upon their highs and lows, even a bit about the struggles growing up without a father (Drake’s parents are divorced). The second verse pays tribute to his uncle who was essentially his father figure and helped raised him. The song’s a bit emotional as Drake revels in being able to finally Take Care of the people that took care of him. It ends with a voicemail of his grand mother telling him how thankful she is for being there for her. All in all, not something you’d see on a typical hip-hop album but again, Drake comes off as more ‘humanly’ than most artists. More so than most, people are able to relate to the things he talks about.
You took me places, you spent that, they said no, we went back//Checks bounced but we bounce back I put all the money in your accounts back
Drake sticks to family roots and samples Juvenile’s classic dance floor anthem, creating a more mellow slow-groove Drake-esque sound. Only Drake could hear the original version of this song and think “How can I make it slower and change the lyrics to make it about love?”I’m sure there’s a whole slew of songs he thinks that about…Drake, Baby Got Back – I challenge you. In essence, Practice seems to be about a stripper that he’s smitten for and Practice is practically a more classical version of Juvenile’s old hit. Most will have completely polarizing views on this track: some seeing it as a cheap and horrible rip of a classic, while others will marvel at the creativity in how he transformed the song.
Girl I know it’s real cause I’ve been around it, You only want what’s real you just never found it
17) The Ride Feat. The Weeknd
Drake called this his favorite song of Take Care and it serves as the perfect closer to an album that really give us a glimpse into the psyche and life of Aubrey Graham. The track is in the same mood and tone as So Far Gone’s, The Calm and Thank Me Later’s, The Resistance. Listening to all three, you can sense the growth of Drake, not just as an artist but as a person. In The Calm, he is anything but – his life’s problems seem to be coming a million at a time while’s he’s trying to achieve stardom- Feelin’ so distant from everyone I’ve known. To make everybody happy I think I would need a clone. In The Resistance, his new-found fame seems to have gotten the best of him: The other day, Lisa told that she missed the old me. Which made me question when I went missing. And when I start treating my friends different. In The Ride, he seems devoid of any of these issues- it seems he’s perfectly content with where his life is now: They say more money more problems, don’t believe it//I mean sure there’s some bills and taxes I’m still evading//But I blew 6 million on my self and I feel amazing
Overall: One phrase that I feel is constantly overused in entertainment is “It will grow on you”. Sorry, no matter how many times I watch hockey, it will NEVER grow on me. With Take Care, my initial thoughts were that is was bland, dull, long and not as explosive as I expected. After having a few listens, the idea that a mainstream rapper spent over 3/4 of his album not ‘rapping’ was fine with me. The feature track Headline may have given the impression that there would be more explosive tunes on Take Care, but the album is really a therapeutic session for Drake as he gives us a front row seat to his life, thoughts and feelings. Sigmund Freud proposed the theory of Psychoanalysis in the 19th century – the basic premise was that human behavior was driven by unconscious forces working in our minds. The way to liberate one self is to bring those unconscious thoughts to the forefront – in essence Drake goes through his psychoanalysis session on Take Care. He gets very personal, exposing his demons in a way most artists are unable to do. His versatility is unmatched, as he can show his vocal capabilities in a track like Doing It Wrong then flex his lyrical muscles with Rick Ross on Lord Knows. Having an open mind before listening may allow you to really enjoy one of the best albums of the year. It’s not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a stellar sophomore effort and one that fully exerts Drake’s foot in the door.