Arguably one of, if not the, most anticipated albums of the year, the Hip-Hop rookie with the most buzz out of anyone else in the game right now is back with his debut album on Young Money. After three amazing mixtapes, touring with Weezy, and a couple top ten singles later, Drizzy was able to put the whole “Wheerchair Jimmy” thing behind him and become one of the most talked about rappers out. Who else do you know could put out a mixtape that sounds like an album and get two Grammy award nominations that same year? The question on everyone’s mind is whether or Drake can transition that talent to an album, or if he’s already leaked his good material. Let’s find out.
Featuring Alicia Keys; Produced by 40, Boi-1da, & Crada
What a way to start an album. It’s starts out slow, with the sound of fireworks in the background, but Drake quickly commands the track with some good lyrics: “I’m just such a gentleman, you should give it up for me/Look at how I’m placing all my napkins and my cutlery.”. Alicia Keys definitely did her thing on the hook here; her and Drake just work on this song.
Produced by Francis & The Lights
Still don’t know how I feel about this song. Overall, I’m really leaning towards a skip; Drake sings pretty badly on this song and it’s not very catchy at all. I want to like this song, I really do, but I just can’t. Drake’s verse on this song isn’t memorable enough to make up for the singing on this one. Some people will probably love this one, but it just wasn’t for me.
Produced by 40
This album is already feeling amazingly cohesive. Despite the fact that I wasn’t really feeling the last song, it flowed right into this one. The hook on this one is a little suspect, but Drake spits some good verses on this one overall:
“I’m 23, with a money tree/Growing more too, I just planted a hundred seeds/It’s ironic, ’cause my mother was a florist,/and that’s how she met my pops and now my garden is enormous/It’s happening Penny Lane, just like you said/I avoided the Coke game, and went with Sprite instead.”
I really liked this song after my first listen, but I’ve started to like other songs much more with repeat listens and this one doesn’t stand out as much. Still a good track.
Produced by Boi-1da & Al-Khaaliq
The first single off the album. I think is the song that everyone wanted to hear from Drake; he needed to prove that he was going for Hip-Hop on this record and that’s what he does with this song. The beat on this one is crazy and the hook itself started it’s own catch-phrase: “What am I doing? What am I doing? Oh, yeah, that’s right, I’m doing me!” Drake killed this song in every sense of the word. Even though I played this song to death, the flow of the album makes it so when you listen to tracks 1-3, (or even just “The Resistance”), you HAVE to listen to “Over”, which is something I have to credit Drake for.
Show Me A Good Time
Produced by Kanye West, No ID, & Jeff Bhasker
The first of Kanye’s contributions to the album. When I first heard this song, I knew it was filler, but it was GOOD filler. I absolutely love this song; this is one of those guilty pleasures. You want to hate this song, but then the chorus comes in like: “How did I end up, right here, with you?”, and you’re sold on it again. Drake does show up with a few lines, though:
“I ain’t tryin’ look like I lie to these niggas that I came up with that’s my team/Never would I let a woman come between/What we doing right now, this our dream/ Wu Tang Clan, niggas want that cream.”
Still, because he only shows up for about 10 lines in both of the verses, this has to be classified as filler. But good filler.
Up All Night
Featuring Nicki Minaj; Produced by Boi-1da & Matthew Burnett
Not gonna lie, I wasn’t really feeling this one too much either. I feel like they tried to mix a really lyrical song with a street type anthem/banger, and it comes off sounding weird and awkward, especially when Drake sings: “I would die for this niggas!” Nah, we don’t believe you. Nicki murdered this track though: “Wait…fixtate/What other bitch you know made a million off a mixtape?” Damn. Still up in the air on this one; sometimes I love it, other times I skip it.
Featuring Swizz Beatz & T.I.; Produced by Swizz Beatz & 40
Damn, are all of Swizz Beatz beats starting to sound the same or is that just me? Still, Drizzy, & T.I. both came correct on this one. T.I. out shined Drake on this one though; Drake didn’t really even sound like he was trying until a few bars into his first verse: “And you don’t do it for the man, men never notice/You just do it for yourself, you’re the fucking coldest.” I really liked the way the song switched up halfway through; Drake’s singing made the song until he launched into his second verse:
“I just knew that she was fine like a ticket on the dash/Yeah, but shout out to the homeowners/The girls that got diplomas and enough money to loan us/A little something extra should we ever need it/If it sounds like you then let me hear you repeat it.”
Overall, a really good song that I’m surprised wasn’t picked for radio.
Shut It Down
Featuring The-Dream; Produced by 40 & Omen
This song is almost completely R&B and is 7 minutes long. I enjoy the song, but it’s nothing that stands out and it’s too long for me to think: “Hey, why don’t I listen to “Shut It Down” right now?” This song is almost a SKIP for me, mainly because this isn’t what I came for. Drake, where’s the Hip-Hop?
Featuring Young Jeezy; Produced by 40 & Boi-1da
Yeah, that’s much better. Drake said in an interview that this was his favorite cut off the album and it’s indeed one of the better songs off the album. The beat is really nice; it shows why Boi-1da is quickly becoming one of the premier producers in the game (His production on this and Em’s new album is Producer of the Year worthy). Both Drake and Jeezy showed up plus the hook is infectious. Just a complaint: this song is too damn short! The Aaliyah sample takes up about 30 seconds of a 3:30 song. I just had to listen to a 7 minute R&B song, but this was kept to under 4 minutes?? What!
Featuring Jay-Z; Produced by 40 & Tone Mason
This was the song (I think) that everyone was looking forward to the most of all on this album; Young Angel and Young Hov go verse for verse on this song on what is without a doubt one of the best beats on this album. Hov mercilessly bodies Drake on this track, but I’d argue it wasn’t one of his best verses of all time (it was a damn good verse, though). The hook on this song is quite good; I’d argue that it would’ve better to put it in for more than twice each listen, but the song is long enough. Great song.
Featuring Lil’ Wayne; Produced by Boi-1da & 40
Damn. Drake and Weezy go IN on this one. It was close, but I think that Drake got Weezy on this one: “Bills everywhere, trill everything/And Drake just stand for (D)o (R)ight (A)nd (K)ill (E)verything.” Wow. 40 and Boi-1da on the beat make this worthwhile song while Drake sings again for the hook but makes it fresh. I still scratch my head at why this song was made the 3rd single, but apparently it’s making the biggest splash on the charts.
Produced by 40
This one is just an interlude, but Drake takes the whole song to sing in Auto-Tune. This is not the album that I was promised…but to be honest, the song does belong on the album because it fits the other tracks and the overall feel of the album. Plus, as far as R&B songs go, it’s serviceable and just as good as anything out right now. Drake can actually sing; Auto-Tune or not.
Find Your Love
Produced by Kanye West
I had this on repeat for a long time after it came out, and I’m surprised this didn’t make a larger splash on the charts. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album despite the fact that Drake doesn’t rap at all on it. The song is, and I know you’ve heard this many times before, very 808’s & Heartbreak like, but Drake doesn’t (blatantly) use Auto-Tune on this one as far as I can tell and the results are very satisfying. I feel like this one should’ve been a little longer, but overall it’s a solid jam.
Thank Me Now
Produced by Timbaland
Timbo produced a hell of a beat here, and Drake jumps on this one with some of his hottest lines: “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/’Cause we wanna be them, and they wanna be us.” He even gave a shout-out to the ATF, something he hadn’t done since Comeback Season. In fact, I’d go even farther to say that while most of the album has been the So Far Gone-Drake, Drake went back to Comeback Season with this song, which is what I had been waiting for for most of the album, so it was appealing to hear this song at the end. Great way to finish off the album.
I must’ve listened to this album again and again about 20+ times before coming to this final conclusion. As I said in my last column, hype’s a bitch. On my first listen, I was so utterly disappointed with the album that I couldn’t believe that Drake had even bothered to release it. Initially I was like most of the people I saw on our forums giving this album 2’s and even 1’s out of 5. However, with each listen, I’ve let the album grow on me more and more, and I really like it now. While it’s not completely the Drake I wanted, my standards were set WAY too high and in reality there are only 2, maybe 3 slips ups on the whole album. That being said, this album should’ve been a contender for Album of Year, and in my opinion it’s not, so you could say Drake failed in that aspect. But c’mon; the man is gonna sell a ridiculous number of copies when it comes out. So whether or not the album was good or bad never really mattered on that front. All in all, I think Drake was smart when he titled this album. While a lot people aren’t gonna think this album lived up to their expectations, it’ll grow on them and they’ll see this was actually a good album. Then, you can thank him later. But, it’s OK if you thank him now.
nappyPicks: The whole album is worth it, there’s something for every listener.
Saule Wright: “I’m torn. I like the more lyrical, rapping more with singing reserved for the hooks Drake, a’la Comeback Season. However, I understand that after the monster of mixtape that was So Far Gone, he found the right formula for the masses. Thank Me Later is the album that the majority of fans wanted from Drake. It’s well done, even if I personally don’t care for the majority of the album…and my disinterest is in the product, not the quality of the product. I’d be shocked if this release doesn’t go Platinum.”
King Jerm: “I don’t think one rapper has ever had the build up before their first release like Drake. Maybe Nas, but that’s a whole different era. I really don’t think Drake could meet all the expectations, but somehow he did. Did he release a classic…No, but he did drop a solid debut. I compare Drake and rookie pitcher Steven Strausburg from the Nationals. Both had incredible hype before they ever hit the field. Both dominated in the minors, and now that both are in the majors…they delivered!”
B-Easy: “Let’s be honest here, we haven’t seen hype for a Hip-Hop debut like this since Doggystyle or Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. And even with all the pressure on Drizzy, I think he still delivered a great album. Yes, it’s not the Hip-Hop album he promised but did y’all listen to So Far Gone? That’s what got him on so that’s what he stuck with. Thank Me Later probably won’t be ranked with the aforementioned debut albums, but it’s name will be mention during Album of the Year talks.