“I get to wake up every day and be myself.” This is a thing Drake said during his CRWN interview on Sunday (September 22).
Drake is confident. Three studio albums in, he has embraced and capitalized on what’s made him a likable rapper and stand out from the rest: emotion. The rapper, who also sings at a comfortable pitch (at least, and most importantly, for him), is at a place where he’s most comfortable, with insatiability pumping through his veins for the sole purpose of self-improvement.
The progression is palpable. His third studio album, “Nothing Was the Same,” features a self-aware artist, sure of himself and of the talent of his right-hand man, producer Noah “40” Shebib. 40, who co-produced the majority of the album, has mastered his dark, lush sound, easing the fluidity of the album while mixing inspiration like Houston rap and 90s R&B. Each song is a lucid story of its own, in which Drake reveals more of himself, from who he was once to who he’s becoming. The storytelling is filled with flashbacks, acceptance of wrongdoing and unshakeable pride.
While Drake does spit-sing of love lost and loneliness — compelling listeners to attend to their own emotions — he also delivers his confidence through braggadocio rhymes, in which he puffs out his chest to competition. He makes up for the lack of addictive anthems and playfulness with his impressionable stream of sentiments — our kryptonite, his superpower.
Check out our track-by-track review of the standard edition of Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” album.
1. “Tuscan Leather” – Drake is aware of his greatness, and makes sure listeners are just as aware from the jump. “This is nothing for the radio/ But they’ll still play it though/ Cuz it’s the new Drizzy Drake, that’s just the way it go… I reached a point where don’t shit matter to me ni–a,” Drake raps on the six-minute, chorus-less “Nothing Was the Same” introduction.
2. “Furthest Thing” – The Jake One co-produced track features Drake examining the duality imposed by fame, only to close on a celebratory note for fame’s silver lining: success.
3. “Started From the Bottom”
The album’s first official single and one of the few obvious anthems, “Started From The Bottom” is Drake’s own rag to riches anthem and sets the precedent for the album’s underlying theme of fame.
4. “Wu-Tang Forever” & 5. “Own It” – Drake flips Wu-Tang Clan’s grimy “It’s Yourz” into lust and jealousy, lead by a tinkling piano. “Wu-Tang Forever” blends seamlessly into “Own It,” which contains rattling on the latter end courtesy of Detail and background crooning by PartyNextDoor.
6. “Worst Behaviour” – Drake capitalizes on the bounce built from “Own It” to segue into this boastful, DJ Dahi-produced track. “Always hated the boy but now the boy is the man, mother fucker I’d grown up,” Drake raps, with a rougher tone than usual.
7. “From Time” feat. Jhene Aiko – It’s no surprise that the women in Drake’s life had a huge impact on him. On “From Time,” kicked off by the soft voice of Jhene Aiko, Drake reminisces of past loves that never flourished, name-calling to emphasis the regret.
8. “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
Though hesitant at first to share, Drake breaks up the stream of dark outlined loneliness with the smooth, wedding reception-worthy, “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
9. “Connect” – Drake gives in to the bad girl on the slinky Hudson Mohawke co-produced track. Listen closely and you’ll hear Trae tha Truth’s “Swang”– not much of a surprise, considering how much Houston has influenced Drake’s music and upbringing.
10.”The Language” – “I don’t know why they been lying but your shit is not that inspiring/ Fuck any ni–a that’s talking that shit to get a reaction/ Fuck going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum/I am the kid with the motor mouth,” Drake kicks off “The Language,” while thumping his chest. The boy arrogantly reinstates his spot in the game in the Boi-1da, Ritter and Vinylz-produced track.
11. “305 to My City” – Drake proceeds to adjust his hometown crown, highlighting the hustle of a stripper over the slow tempo and scratching beat.
12. “Too Much” – Drake follows up “Take Care’s” “Look What You’ve Done” with this album’s most emotional song. “Too Much,” featuring the abrasive yet calming voice of Sampha on the hook, finds Drake frustrated by the negative effects that fame has brought upon his connection with his family.
13. “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music” feat. Jay Z – “You know it’s real when you are who you think you are,” Drake raps with conviction, before Jay Z, the album’s only rap feature, comes in to boast and brush his shoulders. But Drake doesn’t let Jay close his album. Oh, no. Drake drops the mic after bars filled with growth, and emphasize he’s “the greatest of my generation.”