Drake – Thank Me Later [Review]

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.

Fireworks
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.

Karaoke
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.

The Resistance
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.

Over
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.

Fancy
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?

Unforgettable
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!

Light Up
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.

Miss Me
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.

Cece’s Interlude
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.

Bottom Line:
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.

========================Second Opinons========================

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.

  • ts

    i think you will find people will rate this album similarly to how they feel about 808 & heartbreaks? i love them both, and enjoy it more with each listen.

  • Raza

    still worth a buy then??

  • Rickjamesbitch

    Idk why people like over so much, he said almost nuthin worth repeating. But the rest of the album seems good aside from the songs u wanted to skip

  • @C

    ppl’s expectations were way too high. i enjoyed the album and i agree w/ the score but how do you say show me a good time is filler and not say cece’s inter. is filler idk maybe its just me but track 5 is a banger.other than that i think the review was on point.oh, weezy got drake on that miss me but drake’s verse was good
    Top 5:(No Order)
    *Show Me A Good Time
    *Unforgettable
    *Light Up
    *Thank Me Now
    *The Resistance

  • Spektah

    The album just sounded a little redundant with some of the tracks, well, at least to me it did.

  • C.J-Gibbs

    i really like this review and i agree with it, album definately grows on you after some listens, i think he will do 750-800k first week, but honestly, a million copies first week (cuz he will definitely be hitting a million second week) isnt an unrealistic number at this point

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    Even though I’d probably suplex Drake off the top rope if I saw him walking the streets, the Macho Man can give this album the thumbs up brother. This is tunes for the Madness to play in the drop with Elizabeth riding shot.

    Oh yea. Dig it.

  • I would agree not clasic but a solid 4 stars.

    Young Blaze
    Detroit, MI
    http://www.myspace.com/YoungBlaze
    Twitter.com/itsYoungBlaze @itsYoungBlaze

  • Kev

    Bought it yesterday, its still on repeat. Shut it down is a crazy track, but I guess it isnt for everyone. TML!

  • P

    All I got 2 say is this better not win album of the year

  • Spyzyda!

    ok now. i been listenin to this for a bit now. and its alright. i gotta compare it to so far gone. and to be honest it wont get nowhere close in replays. sometimes i listen to over because i didnt even give it a listen until the album leaked so it wasnt ruined for me. i dont mind the singing and r n b feel its just that i didnt feel drake put in his best. i love miss me that shits hot. oh and ems recovery album blows this shit away in every aspect.

  • Q

    I think the leak actually helped the album.

  • Chip

    I don’t get what you keep talking about being ‘promised’ H. The singing never surprised me, the first 3 tracks alone are straight So Far Gone. The blend is what you get with Drake. With that being said I agree with the rating pretty much. Except Up All Night and karaoke bang.

    • Rickjamesbitch

      Drake promised a solid “Hip Hop” album, though I think we all knew he would sing at least a little bit.

      • Chip

        He flip-flopped. I remember him saying that to Complex. Then I’m pretty sure after So Far Gone did 500 G he didn’t rhyme like Common since lol. Nah but I def read another quote where he said So Far Gone seemed to “work” so the album was gonna be that formula.

        • H2O

          Drake had said multiple times that this was gonna be a straight-up hip-hop album. He even said in a recent interview: “Everything I’ve done is hip-hop, Find Your Love is the only mainstream thing I’ve done.”

          When you say things like that, but you have songs like Shut it Down, Karaoke and Cece’s Interlude, you’re just contradicting yourself. I mean, I knew he was gonna sing on the album, but EVERY song?? Damn!

          • DJ LP

            He even said Best I Ever Had was a Hip-Hop track with gritty drums and I forgot what else he said…common now…make up your mind

  • Look like Thank Me Later will grab the #1 spot and sell in the 450-475k range.

    http://www.hitsdailydouble.com/news/newsPage.cgi?news08104m01

  • Mr. Jones

    Bleh i’m listening to it again, I’m still not feeling this above a 2. Too many tracks just stay stuck in boredingness. And honestly, I don’t get any of the acclaim on Jay-Z’s newer verses, they’ve all been TERRIBLE compared to what the man has been able to do in past years. I don’t get it. Some great songs here though.

    • The.Watcher

      I know man, BP3 was a huge letdown and Jay dumbed down so much it’s painful to listen to.
      But that’s what the kids like now-a-days, heaven forbid a rap record actually makes you think!

  • C

    Offtopic: Dr Dre-Under Pressure leaked,unfinished but it sucks only good thing is Jay’s verse.

  • Ree Up

    The Bias throughout this review is so apparent…

    WTF is good filler? if its filler, it cant be good, or else it wouldnt be called filler. If you like the song, you like the song.

    Someone tell me which recent swizz beat sounds like this one?

    How could Find your love be one of your favorite tracks, but then for shut it down, ask where’s the hip hop at? contradicting yourself if you ask me. If you dont like it, then you dont like it. but dont say something like wheres the hip hop at, then say how you had Find Your Love on repeat.

    On that note…great album. I have a feeling people will call it classic down the line. and Mr Jones, thanks for pointing out that Jays verse wasnt anything that special. He had better presence, but lyrically drake was better.

    • H2O

      Uh…how can I be bias against the album but still give it a 4??

      Shut it Down is a 7 minute R&B song, Find Your Love is a 3 minute catchy song. Find Your Love is the better song, and if Drake was going to make this a hip-hop album with some R&B cuts, he should’ve kept more songs like that and Cece’s Interlude on; short, sweet R&B.

      It was just an observation on the Swizz Beats. A lot of his songs have sounded very similar in my opinion. I don’t need to put down examples, just something I noticed.

      Filler-Usually short cuts in a musical composition that are not serious songs; used to “fill” the playing time.
      Therefore, Good Filler is a song that isn’t serious and meant to fill up time, but is still a good song. Show Me A Good Time…it’s good, but if you look at the overall meaning, what is Drake saying?? At the same time, it’s a great cut.

      Jay bodied Drake: I can’t believe you don’t see it: “I’m as cool with niggas as I once was/I once was, cool as the Fonz was/But these bright lights’ll turn me to a monster.” Nothing Drake spat was better than that.

      AND NO. THIS IS NOT A CLASSIC ALBUM, NOR IS IT ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

      • I’m happy somebody else besides me said that Jay verse was better than Drake’s. He STILL got it!

        • Nah…Drake got Jay in that one. Let’s not even go to the Weezy remix..Jay came in 3rd.

          • Arkitekt

            Both Drake and Jay-Z came with nice verses, but i’d give it to jay. so many things behind his lyrics compared to drakes.

    • H2O

      But thank you; I know you love to criticize my work.

  • Ree Up

    Just because your bias, doesn’t mean you have to rate it high.

    I never said that if shut it down was better or not. It is an r&b song, just like find your love is. If you didn’t like shut it down for whatever reason, fine. Just don’t say where’s the hip hop at, then praise find your love, wtf hyprocrisy.

    I find it funny that you say that his beats are similar, but can’t or “shouldn’t have to state them”. All I wanna is what swizz beat sounds like fancy?

    And I’m not gonna argue about who verse is better, you have ur opinion everybody else has theirs.

    Nowadays nobody has their own mind smh

  • Ree Up

    And dawg, the album just came out, stop tryna put a stamp on what It will or will not be.

    • Q

      Yea, it “officially” just came out but everybody has had it for a couple weeks.

    • H2O

      this album ain’t classic, it’s not even album of the year so how could it be classic. smdh, that word is overused.

      I don’t even get your critiquing of my review…you throw out all you say I got wrong and then say “great album”. Yeah, it is; I rated it as such…so why are you complaining…?

  • Pitbull

    H20 EXCELLENT REVIEW. You said EVERYTHING I preached about the album on the forums and dudes were lookin at me like I was crazy. I’m glad you agree, I was starting to think I was the only one who thought this was solid.

  • Ree Up

    So what? A couple days or a couple weeks since it came out, people already kno where it will stand for years to come and its annoying. Just listen to the music.

    You act as if I said anything bad about the album. I’m just pointing out things I don’t agree with from your review. Why be a critic if you can’t take critism?

  • DJ LP

    Ok so not going to lie. This album is NOT for me. I have to give Drake a big ups on how the album flowed together. But it was just boring for me. Too much singing!! I was promised a Hip-Hop album and this is far from it! This album needs to be considered a R&B/Pop album. If thats the case then it would be considered a good album…but the truth is we are a Hip Hop site. In Hip Hop terms this is not a 4 star album. Its a 3 star album. Least thats how I feel about it.

    The only songs I’ll be pulling out of this album is Over, Up All Night, Fancy and MAYBE Light Up. Light Up was a great song(By the way Jay-Z killed Drake although I feel Jay-Z is holding back/being lazy) up until I got up to the chorus and found Drake singing AGAIN. However this is Drake’s formula that works for him, just not for me.

    All in all I expected more from Drake, not lyrically just more effort. It feels that singing cheapens the album/lets him take the easier way out. I expected more stunting tracks, flossin tracks. Drake considers himself a “backpack rapper”(see HipHopDX where he says this) but when does a backpack rapper tells broke people how rich they are. I’m sorry but I just feel Drake is the modern day version of Ja Rule.

    Great review though. I didn’t agree with it at all but course we all have different styles. I just question the whole filler matter. I just don’t see how a debut album can have filler? Anyways. Its obvious this album is for the masses not a Hip-Hop head like me.

    • Verbose the Thought Criminal

      “Drake is the modern day version of Ja Rule”

      c’mon man, I’m pretty sure Drake is over 5 foot tall

      • Arkitekt

        Ja Rule’s debut was much better

        • P-Body

          I admit and co-sign with Arkitekt. Ja Rule bit off DMX on that album though but it was fresh and I can’t lie.

  • Ree Up

    So what? It doesn’t matter if it came out a couple days ago, or a couple weeks ago. People act like they can see the future and knowing what will be and what won’t, and its annoying. Just listen to the music.

    And never anywhere did I disagree with your rating. I’m just disagreeing with parts of your review. Why be a critic if you can’t take critism?

  • The.Watcher

    Really don’t feel this album. Pop music ain’t for me.

  • Verbose the Thought Criminal

    the real question to anyone that really likes it is….are you going to waltz up inta Target and grab one off the shelf for $9.99? (oh, and avoid the chick at the counter. thats my ex and her bruvva still wants his 360 controller back and shit…)

  • This Album Wasn’t Bad At All…As it Was Stated in The Review..This Was Simply “A Good Debut”.

    For Those Of You Out There Who Ain’t Really Feelin The Album, Your Opinion Might Change After You Listen To Don Cannon & Cookin Soul’s Remix Album “Thank Us Later”

    MUCH MUCH MUCH BETTER!!!

    http://www.cookinsoul.com/CSDRAKECANNON.zip

  • Arkitekt

    Let’s be real for a minute. This album came nowhere close to meeting it’s expectations. The album is not bad at all, but there is not much on it to make it stand out (especially when it’s your debut). I also felt that some of the best cuts were thanks to the guest appearances… Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, even Lil Wayne. I would like to see Drake take it easy on the singing…eventually it’s going to catch up to him b/c his sound is popular now, but what about a few years from now?

    Top 5: Fireworks, Over, Fancy, Light Up, Miss Me

    Grade: (3.25/5) B-

    …hope he gave a shout out to dead prez for biting their shit

    • DJ LP

      He also needs to thank Big Sean. Sounds like he stole his flow

    • Verbose the Thought Criminal

      props for hearin that DP in there

  • Suprise bitches! This is the same as So Far Gone. Yall can’t see it though cause you wanted it to be better. But this is literally the same. You can put the tracks side by side to see it.

    • Chew

      Somewhat, but not everything is similar.

      I can see parallels between “The Resistance” becoming the part 2 of “The Calm,” and “Say What’s Real.” Although “Best I’ve Ever Had,” is the primary single, “Find Your Love,” is probably the closest that Drake can go with it, or “Miss Me,” only because Miss Me has done the best so far on the charts. “Up All Night” is basically “Uptown,” and “Fancy” is basically “A Night Off,” and elements of other songs from So Far Gone.

      Fireworks is pretty much “Lust For Life,” because of it’s similar subject matter, but the time placement is different. “Let’s Call It Off” is “Karaoke,” “Over” would probably be fitting of “Unstoppable,” “Light Up” is “Ignant Shit,” “Cece’s Interlude” is obviously “Bria’s Interlude” and “Shut It Down” is the mainstream “Houstalantavegas.”

      Just some of the parallels.
      Just because there’s so many comments, I might put up a review myself.

      • Kinda sorta where I was going with it. A Night Off is Shut It Down in my book among other minor differences, but yea that’s what I’m saying

  • P-Body

    Man 4 stars is kinda pushing it… Its not even a hip hop album. The track selection really throwed me off, I’m just not feeling all the tracks. I like about 5 songs on this album. Overrated album to me… If I was lovey dovey then maybe I’ll like it. I like pop and etc as well as hip hop but I just don’t feel this album too much.

  • jay-g

    3.5 Strong debut for the Maple Leafer. He got out-shinned by Jay and Wayne, but he held his own better than Asher and Wale did on their debuts. “Unforgettable” easily the top track and look forward to the future for Drizzy. .This album almost makes up for the trash that Kardi put out last time, almost.

  • This ablum only made 4 stars for me because of the beat selection. I fuck with the production on this the long way. Lyrically, it was a 3

  • “Unforgettable” is probably my favorite song of the year (So far).

  • Anonymous

    HOW CAN YOU LISTEN TO THIS BULLSHIT? Show Me A Good Time is an absolute failure.

  • Crazy88

    I find it humorous that this record has hip hop critics like many of you listening to Drake’s debut over and over again until you like it. I believe first and second impressions are important but listening to 20 times is overkill. I bet if i listen to Ke$ha’s album that many times i would start feeling her wack songs. Just my two cents. Drake is a future figure of hip hop no doubt about it but this hype/Sprite commercials is a bit much. I can’t turn anywhere without seeing the dude. At least he is making that paper.

    • I gotta take issue with what you said there bruh. I understand if Drake or this album isnt your thing, but to say only first impressions are important is short-sighted and downright childish

      you telling me you liked the way beer/wine/sushi/good cheese tasted the first time? so you only eat food you know you’ll like and never try new ones and learn to appreciate em? or every friend youve ever had you liked right away? you walk out of movies if you dont like the first 15mins? c’mon man, some things just take time to open yourself up to

      to me, if you listen you Ke$ha and EVER like it, it just means you like her, you cant brainwash yourself into liking something thru repetition. I’ve listened to TML quite a few times, and I like it alot more than at first-listen, but theres still songs I cant stand. No ammount of repetiton is ever going to make me like Swizz asking “oh you fancy huh!?”

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