Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Take Care: A Review

It seems like so long ago when Drake put out “Dreams Money Can Buy” to the masses. Though there wasn’t anything particularly outstanding about the track, it did give me a different vibe and I went on record saying that “Take Care” was going to be the album that “Thank Me Later” should’ve been. I hate to toot my own horn (Who am I kidding?) but from the very first lines on the album, “I think I killed everybody in the game last year man F*ck it I was on though” all the way to the last line on the final song ”My sophomore, I was all for it, they all saw it. My junior and senior will only get meaner,” Drake brought his A-game and really created a versatile piece of work this time. Despite being pushed back due to clearance issues and then being leaked a week early, Drizzy greeted it all with a smile because he knew what was coming.

 "He’s Just So Emotional..."

I think the funniest reaction tweet I read was “I just heard Take Care. I think my boobs grew a cup size. Sincerely, A Man.” Hilarious? Yes. Do they have a valid point? ….Not really. Drake has never been a “hard” rapper, so when people have reactions like this, or expectations that he’s going to drop “Life After Death Part 2,” I assume that they were put onto Drake after he blew up, because this album is essentially the evolution of his career changing mixtape, “So Far Gone.” Yeah, he can keep up bar for bar with “tough guys” like Lil Wayne on “Ransom” or Young Jeezy the “Lose My Mind” remix, but he is far from a “gansta” and he’ll tell you that. Why would this album be driven by cheap synths, loud 808’s, and hardcore lyrics when his past efforts haven’t been? They have NEVER been. That’s not who he is. Take Care is “So Far Gone” on steroids. He still talks about stippers, love, falling in love with strippers, money, and his problems…the only difference is the fact that the Phatom that was mentioned in “Successful” doesn’t have to be leased anymore.

Features, Features, and More Features

I didn’t even get a chance to think about how many guest appearances were on this album until I started writing this review.  From multiple appearances from R&B’s up and comer,The Weekend, all the way to a musical LEGEND, Stevie Wonder, the rotating list of names keeps things fresh without overshadowing or drowning out Aubrey. Also, a lot of unique samples from artists like UGK, Jon-B, and even former Cash Money Millionaire, Juvenile made it in to the final mix. (I believe there’s even an SWV sample heard at the end of the ironically sobering “Shot For Me.”) Hats go off to 40, T-minus, Lex Luger, Boi-1da (who didn’t make much of an appearance besides “Headlines”; It was definitely noticed) and the rest of his production team for a job well done.

A real surprise was the Kendrick Lamar Guest appearance on the “Buried Alive Interlude” which was conveniently tucked after the Youtube cover sensation, “Marvin’s Room.” Admittedly, it flew over my head the first couple of times, but so does most of Kendrick’s stuff—that’s why I like him. One of the better features on the album, it shows the downside of fame for a person who hasn’t quite gotten there yet.  Kendrick is in the process of coming to grips with the sacrifices associated with being successful in the rap game, describing his new found popularity as “the reason why my best friend tell me that she loves me more than life, but I live a double life and have to let her go.”  It is a great change in pace for the album and it’s a perfect set-up for another standout track, “Underground Kings” produced by T-minus.

A cool highlight for me would be the title track “Take Care’ featuring Pop’s finest, Rihanna. On this contagious too- perfect-to-not-be-a-single track, Drake boasts that in spite of “dealing with a heart that [he] didn’t break,” he’ll do what he can to take care of his girl. Regardless of what may (or may not) be going on between the two behind the scenes, they have the perfect chemistry on tracks, which we have seen before on Rihanna’s smash, “What’s my name?”


WHATEVER it is that they are doing, it’s working. Could it be reflective of the relationship between the two? Who knows? Lord Knows.

Wait for it, wait for it…

Ok, ok… that was a corny attempt at leading up to what may have made it into the ranks of my Favorite Drake Records of all time. On “Lord Knows” produced by the infamous Just Blaze, Drake delivers what may have been some of his hardest spitting on a rap record since his 9AM in Dallas freestyle that dropped prior to the release of 2008’s “Thank Me Later.” Drake’s newest partner in crime, Ricky Rozay makes a guest appearance on the track and based on his ability to hang with the rapper without loosing any momentum, you can’t help but to feel optimistic about the rumored mixtape effort that may be in the works between the two.

Ok Jonel, what don’t you like?
I know Drizzy Drake repeatedly swears his allegiance to his beloved YMCMB team, but honestly, the Young Money appearances on the album took away a few points for me.  While Wayne’s appearance on HYFR hit me as a pleasant surprise, I winced at his verse on “The Real Her;” a song that would have been just fine with Andre 3000’s verse. I have a special place deep deep…deep down in my heart for Nicki Minaj, but it seems like she always goes hard on other rappers’ tracks and gives Drake her throwaway verses. “Im a star…sheriff Badge” C’mon Nicki.

My CURRENT Top 5, because its really changing on a day-to-day basis.

5. Crew Love
4. Over My Dead Body
3. The Ride
2. Underground Kings
1. Lord Knows

I’m not going to lie; I picked on the title for the longest. After seeing Drake’s smiling face in his GQ spread and hearing that the follow-up to his platinum selling debut, “Thank Me Later” was going to be titled “Take Care,” I laughed for about 47 seconds straight, and agreed with my best friend when she branded him the first rapper with manners. Almost a year later, and it all makes sense. He didn’t rush through it like he did the first time around and it shows. He took his time with it. I’ve heard plenty of opinions about it, but here is one thing that’ll I’ll say. This time, a Grammy isn’t far fetched.

Yeah, I said it.

Take Care.

Follow drake on Twitter @Drake
Follow Missez Turner @MissezTurner

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