Slang Editorial: Thank Me Later: The 2010 The College Dropout?

I’ve seen something similar to this before, a good six years ago when I was in college myself. In the midst of Jay-Z’s first (and eventually aborted) retirement, many folks wondered if Roc-A-Fella could fully sustain ground with the loss of its number-one numbers runner (I guess not), as he and DJ Clue (I know, right?) were the only acts to have gone platinum, with everybody from Beanie Sigel to the Young Gunz only going gold or worse.

Enter Kanye West, a brash and cocky producer-on-the-mic and his debut long player, The College Dropout. A complete left turn from the normal style of music that came from Roc artists, it was critically acclaimed, widely hailed, sold a lot of records, launched his career into the stratosphere, etcetera, etcetera.

The reason I bring this up is because over the past week or so critics have essentially done the same thing with Drake and his now-leaked Thank Me Later album, citing everything from the lack of murderous, misogynistic bravado usually found on Cash Money releases to his apparent willingness to show the same sensitivity not seen since Ralph Tresvant sang a song about women needing a man like him 20 years ago. So the question remains: is Drake’s debut, Thank Me Later, the 2010 version of Kanye’s debut, The College Dropout?

In a way it’s set up to be. Similar to Roc-A-Fella when they went on that fire sale and grabbed everybody from Ol’ Dirty Bastard to Posh Spice (I mean really? Posh Spice? What, was Scary Spice too busy juggling off Donkey from Shrek to be reached?) Cash Money started signing up everything within eyesight, from Boo & Gotti to Mack 10, to remain relevant after Mannie Fresh and Juvenile bounced over money issues, Turk went to prison and BG had a teenage love affair with sour diesel, and ended up missing out on Curren$y during his short stay there. Aubrey’s presence give Young Money its best chance at proving that it’s not a glorified tax write-off when Wayne created it a few years ago.

As such, the content on TML is nothing like any other Cash Money release, eschewing the traditional swag raps and gun talk for something that’s at the very least quasi-humane and relatable, if not too sherbet-soft. I mean, at the very least I can relate to some of the stuff Drake says, which is more than I could say for the entire Baller Blockin’ movie.

However, it could be that it won’t be embraced in the same manner Kanye’s debut album was six years ago. With Wayne taking a federally-sponsored vacation, and virtually no other artist with a smidgen of noticeable buzz these days, Drake’s album could be perhaps receiving this kind of attention because quite frankly there’s really nothing else going on in music that’s even moderately intriguing these days.

Perhaps my tin foil hat is on a little too tight and I’m just looking too deep into this matter, but I swear I’ve seen the very same thing happen six years ago. Except this time I actually didn’t drive in the rain to my nearest Best Buy to buy the album. Hell, I can’t even tell you the last album I purchased. But that tale is for another time.

  • http://nosleepgetmoney.blogspot.com NO$LEEPgetmoney

    Mark my words…Show Tufli out of HARLEM will be th enext big thing in Hip Hop….Listen to the songs Mek

  • ri067953

    I don’t know why all these people are buying into the hype. Drake really doesn’t impress me because he seems to just be a combo of Wayne and Kanye with the whole autotune/emo/singing schtick. He seems to use the same monotone voice and candence on every song. It sounded cool at first, but now its just old to me.

    Drake and all these guys on the radio have it sounding like robots took over the airwaves because nothing is done without autotune. I really can’t stand it.

    • Victoria

      i feel the same, his older mixtapes go harde to me

  • Fredd

    @ri067953 name one song on TML which includes auto-tune.

    SMH. Just go collect vinyls and get a clue about music

    • ri067953

      @Fredd Yeah, you right. Got The JB’s on blast right now. That’s music, not this Drake shit. By the way, havent heard TML but the most of the singles have autotune somewhere on the track…thinking of “Find Your Love” where the adlibs have a mix of compression and auto-tune. Hell, even the vocals have a hint of auto-tune on them. They are just not used to the extreme like how Wayne does it.

  • ReyTheHussein

    My God, Meka… The title alone has me seeing spots I’m so mad…

  • LOL

    “quite frankly there’s really nothing else going on in music that’s even moderately intriguing these days.”

  • epinz

    the difference between drakes album and kanyes is the quality. drakes album is str8,but kanyes was and is a classic. u have people that really love drakes shit, but its gotten mixed reviews at most. everyone loved kanyes shit when it came out. nobody, or at least the general ublic, will talk about tml 6 ears from now the way we talk about college drop out now.

    • yoprince

      pfft. revisionist history.

      i knew plenty of people who did not like college dropout. i knew hood niggas who called it soft. i knew purists who criticized ye’s suspect rhyming ability. i knew ppl who hated the skits. i knew college students who hated the title.

      over time it became clear that most of those people didn’t like kanye himself, not college dropout, myself included. i didn’t like the fact that his non-gangsta image made people think he was a suitable replacement for the mos defs and talib kwelis.

      same thing is happening to drake. individuals who don’t like drake will criticize the album. it will, however, receive good ratings from critics who write for reputable publications, and it will sell, like the proverbial hotcake.

  • epinz

    also, college drop out set trends, imo, tml is following them.

  • these posts are racist

    Drake aka Wheel Chair Aubrey is overrated and manufactured (peep “Manufactured Consent). Kanye’s Dropout album is a classic and nothing about Drake or his material touches Ye’s work.

    That said, due to Manufactured Consent, Drake will sell a million records in his first week.

  • http://ajcrew.com A.J. Crew

    Meka,

    Are you ultimately going to buy the album, though? I think “TML” transcends the apparent more than we all realize. I mean, if Drake is the biggest artist right now with the most anticipated album of 2010, and he underperforms commercially (even slightly) it’s gonna be virtually IMPOSSIBLE for ANY artist, etc. to get ON with enough backing from these labels and such. It’ll devastate the industry. Period.

    Just a thought.
    A.J. Crew

    PS: @Fredd, are you serious? Go look up a live version of “Find Your Love” and tell me that Drake can sing without Auto-Tune. Auto-Tune isn’t just “that one T-Pain sounding thing”. Smhhh.

  • Worley

    “TML is nothing like any other Cash Money release.”

    That’s because Drake is not really a member of Cash Money or Young Money. Universal realized it would be much easier to “brand” Drake via Lil’ Wayne. Otherwise, they would have been competing against each other.

    You and Bol both have posts on Drake today. Those Universal payola checks must be nice (I’m talking about the one Universal sent Harris; we know the portion you got isn’t quite as nice).

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    * repost from yesterday *

    Thank Me Later > Supreme Clientele

    TML > Illmatic

    TML > Thriller (THIS SHOULD WARRANT A DRIVE-BY)

    ^ this is how you know cats are followers. Media told cats Wheelchair Aubrey is the king, and cats believe it to the point they can’t even recognize blasphemy anymore.

    TRUST ME, they will make sure it sells close to a mil plus out the gate.

    • epinz

      @SYk

      drake wouldnt say that about his own shit!!!! and as soon as lime wire dies, somethin new will blow up and do the same.

    • yoprince

      did someone actually post this?

      • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

        Yep. The stans were over on nahright yesterday.

        ReyTheHussein is a nahki…even he was gtfoh with these comparisons.

        @ epinz

        FrostWire is next…

    • El Tico Loco

      $yk

      I bet they were just fuckin around that’s dumb reckless talk right there.

      • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

        I thought so too, but after reading, them cats were serious, that’s why I pasted it here to show cats the deal.

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

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    ^

    • swype-matic

      Haha, wow, even tho i still go out and acutally buy albums, I’m glad I stopped using limewire months ago

  • http://www.emcdl.com EmCDL

    I don’t plan on buying his album; maybe listen to the leaked version just to see what its all about but thats it. Like I said before, although he says clever things here and there, his flow is just too basic for me to stomach. To me, he’s always had that ‘ladies-appeal’ to him and I don’t know many dudes that vouch for him. If anything, dudes will buy it for their ladies…

  • http://www.youlovesomethingexplosive.com Timmythedude

    only thing is… drake and Kanye are/were coming from two completely different situations.

    Kanye was the underdog who no one’s heard of, and the people who had heard of him told him he’d never make it. So when he dropped something nobody expected and it caught on, it was special. (I just realized the underdogs won everything that year. see 04 Pistons)

    Drake has been a star whole life. He was an actor when he was a kid, he’s had mixtapes that would’ve went platinum if he treated them like albums, kids figure out who Drake is 12 hours after they’re born. 90 year old farmers in Harrison, Michigan know who drake is. Nobody knew anything about Kanye, just that he was ill after College Dropout dropped.

  • http://youlovesomethingexplosive.com Timmythedude

    plus College Dropout is just a better album… TML is 8.5/10, College Dropout is a 10/10.

  • Just another hip-hop fan

    Neither are classics, I mean some of the songs on The College Dropout were good but it’s not something you will listen to like once every few months (or even a few times a year), The great adventures of slick rick, capital punishment, illmatic, paid in full, The Chronic, it takes a nation of millions to hold us back, they’re all classics, kanye’s material never has and never will be on the same level as them, and why would people wanna listen to TML? light up- is that about smoking? if it is then drake isnt what you should listen to, try cypress hill or devin the dude, find your love- drake isnt ideal to listen to if you’re in the loving mood either, try some marvin gaye, luther vandross, if you want someone more modern how about trey songz he can actually sing, miss me- thats about a girl missing him or something while he’s at work? doesnt compare to the emotion r-kelly put into ‘i wish’ about how he misses someone from his past who passed away, everything drake is doing has already been done or is already being done but 100 times better

    • yoprince

      ^LMAO

  • Just another hip-hop fan

    Timmythedude- yeah a lot of people have heard of drake but when it comes to music it’s not about the fame and shit like that, it’s about the content of the music, including production, lyrics, message/story behind the music, the production on drake songs aren’t original, the lyrics are weak and i’m not exagerating i honestly think they sound like young teenagers wrote them, ad the messages behind the tracks aren’t original or anything special

  • George Clooney

    Interesting piece, Meka. But apart from the obvious HUGE difference in quality between the two eventual products from both artists(Even Kanye can’t seem to make a better album), you left out the fact that nobody expected Kanye to deliver an actual classic.

    I mean, people obviously dug his beats, and the general consensus was he could rap somewhat, but no one was thinking he was about to shit on every single recent release not called The Black Album. Even though Through The Wire and Slow Jamz were getting a little club and radio love, he still managed to catch the entire industry off guard.

    Drake, meanwhile, has been riding a steady 2 year wave of both mainstream and internet nerd hype. And again, he kinda blew it.

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    I understand your point, but I disagree. I just don’t think it is a sound-changing of an album as College Dropout was. I realize ‘Ye had brought that sound to Jay already, but with him on it, it was completely different.

    I’ve read people (not critics) saying that Thank Me Later is either (a) the same as So Far Gone or (b) not even as good, so Drake is already a victim of his own success.

    Personally, I also believe he is a victim of hype, much like many new artists of the past few years…….

  • HUH

    Kanye changed the game and his success from that gave Drake and other niggaz thats not in the streets hope that they could become rappers and rap about whatever without the fear of not being accepted
    And isnt there plenty of albums that dropped that are not about killing and shit also so how exactly is Drake doing somethin new?
    Like Cudder, B.O.B,the Black Eye Peas and Asher Roth etc

    Kanye shocked folks
    Everyone is expected Drake to succeed so Meka your point is mute

    And Kevin Rudolf or whatever his name is is signed to CM and that other white cat is too so how is Drake the only release off their roster without gun talk?
    Im starting to think you getting paid to dick ride Drake

  • swype-matic

    Is TML the 2010 College Dropout? Simple answer: NO

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  • t-pained

    I think we, as fans of good music, often overlook the difficulty of making a “classic” album. Just because an artist is talented doesn’t mean they can pull off a classic album, not to mention multiple. There are so many examples they don’t need to be enumerated. But looking at it from another angle, there are only a handful of authors who have produced multiple classic novels.

    We set ourselves up for disappointment, in a sense. Instead let’s appreciate the special, classic, memorable albums that we do receive instead of being too greedy for more. For me, So Far Gone is a classic and I’m going to appreciate it for what it is instead of tearing Aubrey down for not being able to pull off something that even some of the greatest artists of all time have not been able to do.

  • Skilful

    Why are people always looking for replacements, just enjoy the music…

  • Mark Waldo Ward

    Just Another Hip-Hop Fan hit the nail on the head,that’s exactly how it is.BTW are we agreeing that College Dropout is the best Kanye album? I personally still listen to Graduation every 6 mos or so.
    Where’s G-Unot Killer?

  • http://www.cassavaleaf.com/ CassavaLeaf

    Cam’ron went platinum with Come Home With Me

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    Let the music breathe people.

    Regardless if you like drake or not he is putting out hits. Drake could go to making music for underground “real” hip hop fans or he can make music for women (who buy albums) the raido or to better himself.

    As for the comparison, ya u can compare and it is a great analaysis. In some ways this album maybe better in others it won’t. similarly graduation is better than college dropout BUT the time when college drop out came out makes it a better album perhaps. People forget about the signficance of the moment when they listen to an album. For example, the wire.

    On that note, Drake does make good music but he does lack the experience factor. experince as a rapper and life lessons. regardless he handles the hype and is making the music.

  • Brooklyn

    “college dropout” was alright, but i didn’t really like it. there were a few songs on there that i thought were nice, but overall i didn’t think that it was a classic. classics are subjective anyway so that album probably spoke to some people more than it did me. but i don’t think that “tml” is a classic. to me, “tml” is the same as “so far gone” there’s no growth or change. they both sound exactly alike, basically most of his songs sound the same to me. i’ll admit that drake does have some lines that have me like, “damn…” but i think he’s got a little more work to put in before he can craft a classic.

  • Canada Eh

    Thank Me Later is a classic. It’s the same vibe and quality as So Far Gone but it has ALL original material instead of him rapping over other people’s beats which occurs a lot on So Far Gone ie: “Ignant Sh*t”, “Say What’s Real”, “Little Bit”, etc.

    The College Dropout got a lot of hate when it dropped. Excuses included:
    1. Kanye can’t rap
    2. That song with Ludacris and “Workout Plan” are garbage
    3. Too many skits
    4. Kanye is gay and soft

    Over time we saw that College Dropout was a classic and Thank Me Later is too.