Words About Music
Drake “Nothing Was The Same”
What a comeback. I don’t mean to say that Drake’s last studio effort “Take Care” was a horrible album. I mean what a way to comeback from being called out by Kendrick Lamar on his infamous and supposedly game-changing verse on Big Sean’s non-album track “Control.” Kendrick name-dropped a ton of fairly well known rappers, saying he wants them to step their game up to make the rap game more of a rap competition. One of the most well known of the called-out MCs is Canadian rapper/singer Aubrey Drake Graham. Drake first became known for his role as Wheelchair Jimmy on the program Degrassi: The Next Generation. He then started writing songs and releasing mixtapes before he exploded in 2009, which coincided with him signing to Lil Wayne’s Young Money label. Since then it’s been a steady upward quality slope for Drake, as he releases more experimental and more fascinating hip hop/R&B releases. He is incredibly versatile; he can spit bars on bars and sing about heartbreak one track after another and it still sounds great. Two years after releasing his Grammy winning album “Take Care,” he is back with his third and arguably his best release, “Nothing Was The Same.”
While Drake usually collaborates with the likes of Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj, he decided to tone it down on the guest stars for this album, by bringing in a bunch of virtually unknown guest vocalists and MCs (apart from Jay-Z of course) including Jhené Aiko and Sampha. The songs don’t really go very hard, but the production is still excellent, the lyrics are memorable and fun (as well as revealing), and it’s just a consistently great album that I enjoy listening to. Plus it comes with a cute album cover which one Redditor has called “Rap Game Infinite Jest.”
One thing that must be said about “Nothing Was The Same” is the amazing way a lot of the songs flow. “Wu-Tang Forever” and “Own It” flow so seamlessly that it seems like a beat switch in the middle of a long song. And beat switches are fairly commonplace on this album. Even the first song “Tuscan Leather” goes through a beat switch, which prompts Drake to quip “How much time is this nigga spendin’ on the intro?” While Drake and his producer 40 spend a lot of time experimenting and chopping and screwing different songs, they also like to put together a classic Drake hip hop anthem, the best example being “Started From the Bottom.” The chorus is a little annoying and gets stuck in my head all the time, but it’s a truly great pop rap song from the best rapper on the YMCMB label, which basically specializes in pop rap. And then you get to a track like “Worst Behaviour” which exemplifies the transition from “the bottom” to “here” in a more serious manner.
And don’t worry, people who like Drake’s heartbreak songs. Tracks like “From Time” and “Hold On We’re Going Home” should definitely shed some light on Drake’s continued romantic failures. “Nothing Was The Same” is a personal, beautiful, dreamy album from one of the best artists in hip hop’s mainstream. While I didn’t really connect at first, it was one that grew on me. Partly because it’s only an hour long and also because it doesn’t really feel like that. And terrible Jay Z verses aside (“cake cake cake cake cake”), it’s a true testament to Drake’s ability to top himself every time he releases an album. Your move, Kendrick.
SCORE – 8.8
FAVORITE TRACKS – Tuscan Leather, Furthest Thing, Started From The Bottom, Wu-Tang Forever, Worst Behaviour, Hold On We’re Going Home, 305 to My City, Too Much (feat. Sampha)