Take Care


Drake's sophomore album, "Take Care," which dropped this week, might have been the most anticipated album 2011 had to offer the hip hop world, and maybe pop music in general. So, does it live up to its hyped-up expectations?

Drake has said that he named the album "Take Care" because he took his time with this record, more so than with his debut album ("Thank Me Later"). IMHO "Take Care" was aptly named. With this album, Drake continues to hone his craft to create an ambitious, melancholy headphone masterpiece.

In the opening lines of the album's first single, "Headlines," Drake speculates about whether he "might be too strung out on compliments/overdosed on compliments/started not to give a fuck/and stop fearing the consequence." For sure, a lot of artists who made it big with their first album have let fame go to their head and released a disappointingly shitty second album. Well, this ain't the case with "Take Care." The album is everything that we loved about his breakout album, and then some.

"Take Care" evidences Drake's evolution and near-perfection of his special brand of introspective rhymes paired with experimental beats that shift, sometimes in the course of the same song, from minimalistic to in-your-face. The thoughtful lyrics explore a lot of the same themes as "Thank Me Later," namely, love and fame. But compared to his debut album, "Take Care" is a lot darker, both lyrically and sonically.

Drake seems to have taken a cue from the restrained, moody R&B stylings of James Blake, Frank Ocean and The Weeknd -- The Weeknd actually guest stars on two tracks of "Take Care." Then again, you could argue that Drake paved the way for these artists in the first place. Either way, the songs on this record are even more atmospheric and downtempo than his previous stuff, drawing a lot of comparisons to Kanye West's, "808s and Heartbreaks." Also like Kanye on "808s," Drake walks the line between singing and rapping on "Take Care," and he walks it well. He arguably does it better than Kanye -- unlike Kanye, Drake can actually sing. And while Drake raps less on this album than on his first one, his rhymes are tighter this time as his rapping skills have clearly improved.

In addition to his evolved sound, Drake's lyrics have also matured and are more believable this time around. Even when he rhymes about being on top of the game, his tone is more confident and less cocky than before. (e.g., "I know I exaggerated things but now I got it like that.") His matured attitude about his fame and his skills was evident from his reaction to the album's premature online leak. Drake simply tweeted in response: "Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it."

The stand-out song on the album is its title track, "Take Care," featuring Rihanna. With its minimalistic house beat and steel drum accompaniment, the song bears the indelible footprints of its producer, Jamie xx. But the song also captures the mood of the whole album and the new Drake, with its dark play on Lesley Gore's "It's My Party" lyrics: ìIt's my party/I'll get high if I want to/Can't deny that I want you/But I'll lie if I have to." This is Drake's party for sure, but the great thing is that he invites us all in by letting us see his vulnerability.

Besides The Weeknd, Rihanna and Jamie xx, other guest stars on "Take Care" include the recently departed rap pioneer Rick Ross, as well as Lil Wayne, Stevie Wonder, Andre 3000, and Nicki Minaj.

Stream the album 2011 best-of lists are sure to include (courtesy of Fist in the Air), and "buy it if you like it."

Stream "Take Care" here: http://fistintheair.com/tcp/testing/draketakecarestream.php



Drake - "Headlines"


Lyrics to "Take Care":


Know you've been hurt by someone else

I can tell by the way you carry yourself

If you let me, here's what I'll do

I'll take care of you

I've loved and I've lost

[Drake: Verse 1]

I've asked about you and they've told me things

But my mind didn't change

I still the feel the same

A life with no fun, please don't be so ashamed

I've had mine, you've had yours we both know

We know, they don't get you like I will

My only wish is I die real

Cause that truth hurts, and those lies heal

And you can't sleep thinking that he lies still

So you cry still, tears all in the pillow case

Big girls all get a little taste

Pushing me away so I give her space

Feeling with a heart that I didn't break

I'll be there for you, I will care for you

I keep thanking you, just don't know

Try to run from that, say you're done with that

On your face girl, it just don't show

When you're ready, just say you're ready

When all the baggage just ain't as heavy

And the party's over, just don't forget me

We'll change the pace and just go slow

Won't ever have to worry

You won't ever have to hide

If you seen all my mistakes

So look me in the eyes


Cause if you let me, here's what I'll do

I'll take care of you
I've loved and I've lost

[Drake: Verse 2]

It's my birthday, I'll get high if I want to

Can't deny that I want you, but I'll lie if have to

Cause you don't say you love me

To your friend when they ask you

Even though we both know that you do (you do)

One time, been in love one time

You and all your girls in the club one time

All so convinced that you're following your heart

Cause your mind don't control what it does sometimes

We all have our nights though, don't be so ashamed

I've had mine, you've had yours, we both know

We know you hate being alone

You ain't the only one

You hate the fact that you bought the dream

And they sold you one

You love your friends but somebody shoulda told you somethin' to save you


Know you've been hurt by someone else

I can tell by the way you carry yourself
If you let me, here's what I'll do

I'll take care of you

I've loved and I've lost