#2 Drake- Nothing Was the Same
Released: September 24th
By: Dequan Huggins
Every young man awaits the day when he is able to showcase to his peers that he has become the man that he has set out be; however, not too many men have had the opportunity to show their growth to the public like Canadian rap star Drake. Nothing Was the Same, the third album from the Young Money/Octobers Very Own rapper, is the tale of a boy from Toronto who has surpassed his expectations of how he could contribute to the rap game. With his previous effort Take Care, Drake is in a position where he is finally starting to accept who he is for what he is, a rapper/singer who is able to draw from moments in his life displaying his emotions for the world to relate and/or criticize. NWTS is also maturation and realization that Drake is a vessel for the younger generation desperately reaching for a grasp on their feelings.
The aggressiveness is noticeable from the intro with the six minutes long “Tuscan Leather”; which flips the famous Whitney Houston ballad “I Have Nothing” in three different ways leaving listeners entertained from beginning to end. “Just give it time, we’ll see who’s still around a decade from now”, Drake boasts realizing that he’s the apex rapper of the universally accepted “new legends.” While Drake has always been confident in his rapping abilities, the effort on NWTS is more potent and believable than that of his previous work and even that off his Hip-Hop peers.
By the album being titled Nothing Was the Same, Drake discovers new ways to blur the lines of what the world has come to love him for, rapping and singing. On NWTS Drake does so unapologetically, finding the right songs to incorporate melodies garnished with abrasive rhymes. On “Wu Tang Forever” the rap superstar pays homage to the legendary Staten Island crew sampling the classic track “Its Yourz.” Drake takes an interesting approach to the song, which can be about a woman, or can be interpreted as him stating the rap game is in fact “his” and ultimately delivers one of Drakes best hooks in his short but impactful career. As you become mesmerized by the melody, you suddenly realize that Drake has penned together a serious verse that touches on being fortunate enough to not come from a rough environment; while still having hood associates making him aware of both ends of the poverty spectrum.
Attempting to separate himself from other new generation artist, “Worst Behavior” is the OVO rapper, well; on his worst behavior throwing his success within the rap world in the face on his competition and critics. Also showcasing his competitive side, Drake subliminally takes shots at the ever so popular Compton champion Kendrick Lamar on the track “The Language.” Rehashing the infectious “Versace” flow, Drake jokingly takes stabs at Kendrick’s recently found success with the lyrics “Fuck any nigga that’s talkin’ that shit just to get a reaction, Fuck going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum.” Continuing to fire shots, Drake squeals the “Paris Morton Music” series, toying with the idea of him being far superior than his competitors “Like I should fall in line, like I should alert niggas When I’m ‘bout to drop something crazy and not say I’m the greatest Of my generation.”
Unfairly known for being overly emotional, Drake delivers two of his more personal records on NWTS, “From Time” and “Too Much.” While both the former and latter tracks touch on relationships with women, Drake attempts to talk about issues with his family whether its his fathers emotional disconnection due to alcohol, or his mother and uncle making excuses for staying in the house not pursuing any of their dreams they once possessed. Drake’s story is unique due to his fame; however, the records still find a way to be extremely empathetic resonating with those who’ve been through family or relationship issues. What makes Drake so interesting when telling these tales is the fact that he is able to captivate the listener with imagery (“Shit got me feeling pinned down, pick the pen up or put the pen down, writing to you from a distance like a pen pal, but we’ve been down’”), without drenching a song in sorrow like some of his contemporaries.
Nothing Was the Same ultimately is Drake’s best body of work showing the evolution from a boy (The Boy) to man who is trotting on his victory lap with no signs of slowing down. The Toronto superstar continues to find a way to tell empathetic stories to kids who’re ultimately facing the same situations within their lives (love, family, success). Urban music has changed and Drake is at the forefront redefining what we know as “real” in Hip-Hop. Connecting with a younger generation who is on the upswing of their careers, Drake is able to blend the right amount of confidence and self-reflection to stand triumphant in the rap game for the remainder of the year, undoubtedly leaving nothing the same as it was.
Favorite Songs: Worst Behavior, Wu-Tang Forever, Connect
Weakest Song: Own It