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Drake, Take Care

Call Drake emotional. Say he sings too much. Characterize him as cocky. None of that has halted his ascent to the top of the charts. In fact, his ability to disarm any slights against him and internalize them has resulted in the 25-year-old’s becoming a leading voice across mainstream music. Now, with his sophomore effort, Take Care, a little more than a year removed from grappling with newfound fame on Thank Me Later, Drake has fully embraced his current position, insistent that he deserves it and confident that he won’t let it go.

Drizzy lays out that perspective on the album’s first two lines, via the piano-driven “Over My Dead Body,” where he raps, “I think I killed everybody in the game last year, man/Fuck it, I was on, though/And I thought I found the girl of my dreams at a strip club/Fuck it, I was wrong, though.” The uncompromising lyricism continues on “Underground Kings,” “HYFR (Hell Ya Fuckin Right),” “Headlines” and the Just Blaze–produced “Lord Knows.” The last number includes Rick Ross, one of the six rap features on the album—Lil Wayne (twice), Andre 3000, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar—each fittingly placed and complementary in their appeal. (Rihanna, The Weeknd and Stevie Wonder’s harmonica also appear.) Some of Drake’s vulnerabilities also seem to have withered away, and the unfiltered honesty that connected with many is more sporadic than in the past, although “Look What You’ve Done” tugs on the heartstrings, as Drake delves deep into his relationships with his mother and his uncle, both of whom raised him.

Not surprisingly, females are the topic du jour on Take Care, with tales about past lovers (“Marvin’s Room”) and potential lovers (“The Real Her”), about honoring women (“Make Me Proud”) and commodifying them (“We’ll Be Fine”). The Toronto native expertly juggles his singing and rapping, confirming his growing songwriting abilities. Still, things become too R&B-centric toward the end, when Drake’s crooning carries three straight cuts, without a single bar spit.

The album’s strongest suit is its sonic cohesion. Led by T.dot all-stars 40 and T-Minus, who, combined, produced 12 of the 17 tracks, Take Care is somber and mellow, cold but not unwelcoming. Its ethereal chords, delicate strings and subtle percussion provide a steady mood and tone that is both dense and structured. Coupled with Drake’s voice, cadence and multiple flows, the sound bed creates a captivating and enveloping listening experience.

Overall, Take Care’s sum is greater than its parts. This isn’t a drawback—especially in hip-hop’s current climate, where new material comes and goes. As Drake continues to find his voice and stay true to himself, he’s put his team in place to take care of the rap game for the near future.

’Til next time. —Adam Fleischer

  • Hube

    Drake is terrible and has no message. mainstream hip hop is dead

    • FairladyMax

      lol He is an R&b SINGER He doesn’t need a message he just needs to help me get panties off (excuse the vulgarity ladies) If you want Hip Hop Don’t even look at the mainstream look underground. lol

      • mike4282

        You don’t need to completely look to underground, but you are right about drake for the most part. He’s too much of a singer too be a core rapper. A Hip hop artist yes, care rapper no. Also he sounds like wayne–but he’s singing.

    • Fuck You

      Maybe it is just you that is so stupid that you don’t any message at all! Fuck you nigga, you don’t get a damn thing! You just can’t relate to being on top! Lowlife nigga!

    • jeff

      your ugly

  • T

    Well that rating was expected. Personally I give it a L. Too many sing-songs and two little bangers.

    • Loukesan

      I agree, theyre all lyrically deep songs but most aren’t really songs you’d play rollin in your car or at a club

  • nujerz

    not surprised… XXL stay riding popular artist… while an artist say REKS dropped an album that shits on drake lyrically, message wise and beats only gets an L.

  • CecilRhodez

    @Hube: I feel like thats an ignorant statement, but I see where you are coming from. Pretty good album for the most part a few of the R&B laced tracks could have been replaced with some of the joints he released this Summer. I find him message and flows to be on point, but it gets old that someone with so much wealth, women, and power can be so damn distressed and unsatisfied. If feel as a whole Take Care is one of the best sophomore albums I’ve heard in the past year, yea Ambition was on there along with others but you cant hate on this guys success as well as his ability to deliver what he sets out to do. In terms of mainstream hip hop, Im so tired of reading grumpy old men or little kids who just picked up a copy of All Eyez on Me saying that any form of hip hop is dead. Hip Hop is an evolution, it is dynamic not static. In my book Drake may not be the best representative of the Hip Hop world, as half the things he talks about currently dont relate to me, but the kids still selling cds, killing flows, and he along with dude like Lamar, Cole, and Wale are delivering a form of Hip Hop that fits with their day and time. Sure Drake drops a half hearted meaningless song every once in a while but “Look What You’ve Done” is probably the most heart felt thing anyone could put out, reminds me of dear mama only coated in rainbows and butterflies. Hip Hop aint dead, its alive in these dudes work, if you cant deal with that stop listening to mainstream shit, change your genre up a bit, and stop bitching.

    • wisco715

      AMEN!!!

    • Malik

      YES!!!!!

  • Jake

    shitty review this was a large at most…

  • Ramiro

    why does every fucking album get an xl!!??

  • Southside

    I throw this on when a chick is talkin too much in the whip.

  • D90

    u gotta be fuckin kidding me… how much is young money payin XXL for these reviews, and why dont we get any reviews for shit like the new Tech N9ne album or Banks last mixtape?

  • hiphopguru

    drake successfully pieced together a nice collection of music with a solid, consistent sound and well portrayed themes. however, tracks such as “HYFR” , “take care” , and the single “make me proud” all bring the album down. the album was noticably too long and its clear that some of the material could be taken out such as the features (including waynes horrific 2 verses). there is alot of good material, drakes insightful, emotion-packed lyrics prove hes come a long way from the overly-melodramatic “thank me later” debut. he paints good pictures, though some of his lyrics are a bit corny, his maturation has shown and makes for an enjoyable listen. i say L

  • Azhar

    Way too many XL being given out on these reviews.. Think they should have like 5 people review the cd and go with the majority vote. Joint is like a L at best

    • D

      sounds like a real good idea to do that cus they need to do something about these reviews

  • D

    first off this is barely a rap album its mostly R&B..as a rap album its w.e hes not horrible but he is by no means one of the best spittin right now not even close…it shouldve got a L if they still doing theses reviews about RAP and not singing

    • AC

      FOR THE ALL THE PEOPLE SAYING THAT THIS ISNT A RAP ALBUM: The definition of rap base on wikipedia is “spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics”…im not sure if youre deaf, but im pretty sure that he rhymes his lyrics in this album, eventhoug is not spitting his rhymes is doing it by singing…so its not rap??…

      i know that this album cant compare with old school albums, and thats the reason, this is a different type of rap album, even original, i agree that doesnt have the most intelligent lyrics, but definetly has some amazing songs like Look What Youve Done, i didnt hear a song like this in a while, even in old school mc’s.

      And eventhoug i like other rappers rhyming (like 9th wonder, phonte, j cole nowadayz) more than drake, this album has maybe the best production, beats and sound i hear this year. So that XL review is well deserved

  • Stylistic

    What unnerves me is, how come when critics mention how great of an album this is that they fail to mention that this is an r&b album? R&B album yeah I guess it’s hot, Hip Hop wise the shit’s wack as fuck! All he does is whine on one set of tracks and spit with his annoying ass voice on others. Successful and Free Spirit with Rick Ross are the only 2 good songs he’s ever made (commercially),….other than that the rest of his shit sucks!

  • nquestion

    I’m just waiting on the new shit from esco trying to see what it takes for a cd to get a XXl review !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • white rap fan

    yeah… this album sucks cuz as “rap” fans we need “nigga my streets did this” and “nigga my weed is this good”… come on people…appreciate originality and growth. This album has shown huge maturity from TML and shows an artist that has some true artistic vision. Artists like Drake, MBDTF ‘Ye, and Cudi are constantly gettin hated on by you “hip hop fans” because you’re too dump to appreciate when something new happens to music…grow up

    • Lex

      Thats kind of an ignorant comment. Some of the most respected rappers out don’t rap about what they do in the streets. Hip hop can evolve but honestly this cd was barely hip hop. He sang on the majority of the cd. Since he mostly makes pop rap now anyways, I was hoping to finally hear him rap again but that didn’t happen. If you support young Money as a whole then you probably don’t get what I mean by the difference in pop rap and actual hip hop.

    • _TREmula

      YO!!!! THANK YOU FOR THAT!! NIGGAS NOW A DAYS JUST RIDING ON LIL WAYNE’S DICK *PAUSE &WANT EVERYTHING TO SOUND LIKE HIS MUSIC BUT HELL YEAH DRAKE TAKE CARE ALBUM IS LETTING YOU KNOW HE HAS MORE TO SHOW THAN HIM BEING A RAPPER. Y’ALL CANT ACT LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE FEELINGS FOR SOME CHICK, DRAKE IS THE PERFECT NIGGA TO RAP/SING ABOUT THAT SHIT I BET IF YOU PLAY THIS ALBUM WITH YO GIRL YOU’LL BE THANKING DRAKE FOR TAKE CARE SO STFU!

      follow me on twitter @_TREmula
      hahaha!

  • desmund

    why is everyone hating on this review i think its a great album n a good look on why drake is a top artist in music today

  • tumi

    And the YOUNG MONEY dick-ridding continues. seriously xxl reviews just keep getting worse & worse. how could you give a XL to an album where he raps in only 4 & half songs? I mean really even to give originality XL when Thank Me Later he was doing the same thing. you are seriously losing credibility with these stupid ratings damn!

  • Lex

    I agree with most of the other comments. This was basically an r n b album. Drake’s ok. He use to be much better before Young Money but then again everybody was. I just can’t keep listening to him because he literally talks about 2 topics 98% of the time. How hard fame is and a stripper that broke his heart.

  • Mac.Oner

    this album is nothing but slow melody craig david soundin’ shit. when did baby start doin ya’ll reviews? pffft.

  • Dre G.

    That album should get nothing more than an L.Drake sings way too much!! I don’t like how he releases hot radio rap songs but when you buy his album it’s full of singing.lmao This is hip hop not rnb but it’s expected because hip hop is dead as far as the mainstream goes.There’s only a few rappers that’s putting out good hip hop music which is crazy.

  • Trill

    good review. IMO i think it shoulda been an XXL. fuck the haters. drake is an incredible lyricist and songwriter. no doubt in my mind album of the year.

  • A.O.N

    Bad rating. L at best

  • hip-hopper

    XXL definetly overrated this albulm..Though this is a good albulm, it’s more like an L and here’s why:
    Positives: lyricism(underground kingz, headlines,Lord Knows etc.) Storytelling(most songs Drakes speaking about past relationships but it feels like it’s happening now)
    Some singing:(I don’t think the r&B on this albulm isnt that bad so that’s a positive)

    Negatives:Features(probably the biggest problem with this albulm. The Weeknd is ok but to me, they sound like Drake.Wayne’s verses arent really good and he should’ve been on Lord Knows instead of Officer Ricky. Stevie Wonder and the Harmonica is ok but why couldn’t he sing a verse? There really is no standout feature)
    Production:(alot of beats create that moody feel and are similar to each other. Ofcourse, Lord Knows is a great beat though.)
    Songs: The Real Her(Wayne’s feature doesnt help the song and it’s honesly not worth listening to multiple times), hyfr(the hook ruins it), Practice(i get that it was a Juvenile song but this albulm really didnt need something this agressive if other songs were soft and mellow)

    Overall: Take Care is good but is Drake’s sophmore slump. The soft-lady oriented records are more for female fans instead male. The balance is just tipping more in the pop favor instead of rap. I think Drake’s future albulms will be much better than this.

  • YMCMBIZNESS

    Shoulda been XXL…..Hate it or Love it you gotta respect that Drake has talent….Production is on-point and features are legit….Drakes style is untochable…..stop riding the “Hater Bandwagon”…..Wayne, Drake, Nicki Baby and YMCMB know what their doing…..I cant say eveyone on the roster has talent (i.e. Gudda Gudda, T-Streets….LOL) but you gotta admit they the strongest label in the game and with Big names like Wayne, Drake, and Nicki you gotta know what they touch is fire……Nuff said……Quit Hating….

  • swype-matic

    I’m surprised this didn’t get XXL’s across the board, the way XXL has YM dicks in their mouths all the time.

    Outside of maybe 4-5 songs, this shouldn’t even be classed as a hip hop album. It should be sitting beside an Estelle and Marsha Ambrosius album. The album is pretty good until right after “cameras”, when Drake pretty much takes this album on a soft as marshmellow ride.

    First of all, he is so monotone on every single song, whether he’s rapping or “singing”, and truly never says much, similar to any Wayne album. He does have some nice production on here, but I feel like it was mostly wasted on this album. “Lord Knows” is such an epic anthem track from Just Blaze, but Drake doesn’t do a damn thing on it.

    The track is way too strong for him, which doesn’t surprise me anyway. “Under Ground Legends”, “Headlines”, and “We’ll be Fine” are all dope tracks, but still Drake is wasted on there with his empty flows. I’m sure it bumps in your car when u turn it up loud.

    Oh, “Buried Alive Interlude” should have been it’s own song instead of tacked on the end of that horrible Marvin’s Room song.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    I don’t care if Drake Sings. I don’t care if he is emotional. Hell he can be on the radio 80% of the time. The album flatout ain’t no XL. Its a L. Its average. It wasn’t better than his last.

    In fact, its damn near the same album but dude is whinning about having too much money and too much honey.

    I can’t deny that dude is talented. He has great flow lyrics can sing etc and is consitent. BUT, to be honest this album is not in sync its not a complete album it doesn’t ride together with a message like his first joint like any classic album. The album is part of his depressed theme and other half YOLO his future album.

    *****************XXL*******************

    you guys are clearly getting wacker by the review. I use to subscribe and buy magazines just to support because yall kept it so real. Now these ratings are like, i’m not F’n up my sponsor or advertisment check. Nah, be respected. Be real. Its clear if an artist is a big name with connection he or she will get a XL. Not cool.

  • fuckYM

    Garbage. I recommend to not buy this album. pure hype and does not deliver the way i thought it would do. Young money fucked up drake.

  • Nate

    I like how XXL dressed up that he just raps about being famous on the CD. Drake sucks and is too cocky for his own good, Big Sean didnt create your flow and you didnt do it the best, you both suck, been around as long as hip hop has….so sick of hearing him rap in that wanna be new south accent too, if i hear any more drake my head might explode

  • the1987kid

    Nobody is hating on Drake, so what if he doesent rap about the streets thats not the point, the point is his album is trash. When he was independent he was a diverse artistic mc with a mainstream edge, they (Universal) can play off his half black/half jewish background to sell his product to the masses. His music is simplistic, narrow, the production is the same 808 simple crap with campy sound effects & Dry non personality hooks that are very pop, This is a pop album to he max. The Young Money influence over his subject matter is also troubling cause their material is young money/cash money, hoes, pussy, more money & status, He is blindly following along with the trend. This Take Care album has 6 or 7 good quality records out of 19 no classics on this album, It very flat in quality & generic in the approch of the album. Record sales dont make u great or raw just look at what happen to 50 Cent! If u like records that make u feel good then u would like it but if u are looknig from an artistic standpoint? It is a big major letdown from a talented artist who is getting lost in the tidal wave of his own hype & unoriginal artistiry…

  • You know

    After reading a few BS reviews from this site I see now that I can’t take this place seriously. Anyone who comes here for reviews will be incredibly milsead. Bitch.

  • D-Lloyd

    REVIEW LLOYD BANKS COLD CORNER 2!!!!!!

  • Mz Epiphany

    Drake DEFINITELY has a message in all his songs on “Take Care”. Ya’ll probably don’t hear any messages because as soon as you play it and don’t hear a hard hitting beat with “bitch this” “fuck that” and gun sounds, you turn it off. Yea, this album didn’t sound like Hip Hop but that doesn’t mean Drake is terrible and has no message. I think it takes a great deal of talent to sing lyrics and rap lyrics from time to time like he does. Wayne did something like this when he decided he wanted to take a shot at Rock music. You can catch me playing “Take Care” album anyday! Wonderful job, Drake! Keep doing you!

  • SmokeyRebelz

    interestingly, the best verse is delivered by Drake’s Grandma… real isht, rightthere!!! The album is somewhat an improvement from TML… Just my thoughts.

  • roytoy

    I think Drake is really holding back and it’s a shame. Call it industry politics or a skewed view of what he thinks people want to buy, but the fact is that Drake is a lyricist (Not a singer), and yet neither of his mainstream albums truly showcase that. This one was a lot better than the last one (more lyrical rap verses), but still not where I think it should be. He needs to put down the autotune and stick to what he’s good at.

  • MarloW.

    The Amount Of Comments This One Post Recieved Is The Reason Why It Got This Rating, You Guys Play Right Into What You Preach Against Eventually Makin These Artists As Popular As They Should Be, Not One Other Recent Post Got This Many Comments, You Can Deny That Drake Is An Elite Artist Today, But You All Actions Prove Otherwise, You All Obviously Listened To The Album And Cared To Voice Your Opinion Most Of You Claimed To Not Like TML And Still Listened To This You Might Be A Fan And Not Even Know It..

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  • ricky c

    yeah xxl’s reviews are wack.they do ride mainstream artists boners.u give blue slide park a large rating and yelawolf didnt get rated a double xxl in originality? i dont understand? these people who are makin these reviews must be listenin to these cd’s from an shitty quality ipod dock cuz sometimes you should even question yourselves.AND why on earth would you guys ever review a lil b mixtape?NOBODY should EVER speak of that dude,the less attention we give hime the faster he will be forgotton.change it up xxl

  • teakie

    This album was R&b… 95% of it… hardly rap. The best part was Andre 3000′s verse. Drake has gotten LAZY figuring he can “sing” and someone will listen so he doesn’t have to put in the effort to rap like the old days. B.S. His 1 radio Hit “headlines” is NOT a fair representation of this record.. it was tooo lonngg he sang tooo much with just showed he is far from a R&B superstar and when you chalk that many “drake singing tracks” onto a 17 track album it just shows hes not as skilled as those top R&B cats. Save your $..and download his free mixtapes youll be happier.

  • DatDamnSiboe

    as far as rap goes…I would give Take Care a L but ooverall…XXL…because it is not a rap album, its and R&B rap album or whatever you wanna call it…it only had a few “rap” songs in it but still a great album though…it’s good music so LISTEN to it, the lyrics are good if not great…if you want a full-fledged rap album, go listen to Sideline Story, Ambition, or Tha Carter IV…Take Care is an entirely different kind of sound from those albums, duh

  • heartherevolution?

    this guy is an R&B artist not a rapper. right?

  • gwalk

    Listening to an online stream of the album. It’s alright, there really is no banging track. It’s mostly all mellow, and I think that was a mistake because music needs to play with emotions. There is not enough upbeat music.

    Lately, I’ve been listening to straight Christian rap/hip hop. Check out Lecrae, Dwayne Tryumf, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Da Truth, Guvna B, and Shai Linne for some dope hip hop music.

  • hata_proof

    let the haters hate! if u dont like this album, then dont listen to it…that said, it is a spectacular album…def not a sophomore slump…drake is one of the most talented artists in the game and is surrounded by a solid team of producers…he is definitely a refreshing break from all the wanna be gangsters that are too insecure to make music that is actually a reflection of who they are…and def a positive for the music industry

  • theas

    XXL is a popularity contest, work your whole life to put your opinion on a magazine or a website, Yet you reviewers have bad fucking ears. You people give weak shit XXL’s and you probably get paid too and hate on the actual talented people

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  • Lucy

    Definitely not what I was expecting, but the more I listen, the more I like! I was expecting more up-tempo stuff, but the majority is pretty mellow and haunting. I love ‘Doing It Wrong’ – I just went through a break up and can kinda relate!

  • shawn

    LIKE HE CARE WHAT YOU SAY Adam Fleischer

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