Drake - Take Care
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Record Label: Cash Money/Young Money Entertainment/Universal
Context ruined Drake’s sophomore effort Take Care, but it’s only fair that it did. When an artist’s music demands to be taken into context the way Drake’s does (especially Take Care), then damn it I’m going to do so. Since the release of his single “Headlines”, Drake has strayed far beyond his lane. The song boasts possibly the most pathetic and fraudulent excuse for a threat ever made by a hip-hop artist with his pop culture clout. Drake can’t be lauded endlessly for the putting his emotions on wax for everyone to see then go and warn his peers not to “hype [him] up and make [him] catch a body like that.” Even as I’m typing this I’m hearing the argument in the back of my head that says “it’s just music, it’s just a line, everyone over exaggerates” but too many of my sister's friends are gushing all over what he has to say as fact for me to take care. Lame pun aside, Take Care should be remembered as Drake overstepping his boundaries, and doing so in embarrassing fashion. I don’t know who gave him the idea that he could simultaneously make threats reserved for thugs, cause females worldwide to weep at the beauty of his complicated soul, and grab hold of the hip-hop crown, but it can’t be done. Not the way he does it, not on Take Care. Drake needs to listen to So Far Gone again and fully appreciate what made it a classic mixtape. It was fresh, it was fun, and it wasn’t too deep.
Subject matter aside, the project is pretty solid, “Marvin’s Room” is a certified anthem for someone mulling over an ex, as morally devoid as it may be. The bonus track “The Motto” sounds like something Drake jacked from Travis Porter and made it 10 times better. The Rick Ross feature seems forced, but “Lord Knows” features one of the best beats of the year. “Crew Love” and “Take Care” have definite radio appeal and are the gems that Drake is capable of with the rap-sing dynamic, but for every exceptional song, there’s a “Make Me Proud” and “Practice” that have no real purpose other than serving as filler. The lack of Drake’s other go-to producer Boi-1da on the album leaves the album’s lesser tracks feeling way too interchangeable and forgettable. Songs like “Best I Ever Had,” “Miss Me”, and “Uptown” helped balance out the mellowness of his last two releases with their more straightforward rap approach. Part of Drake’s appeal to me was his rapping-singing ratio, but the perfect balance he had struck before on So Far Gone is now noticeably out of sync.
Take Care was supposedly intended to be something that would help us better understand Drake, to provide us with a more authentic and raw view of his reality. Instead it comes off as a full forced ploy to take advantage of the female audience he has amassed. Or at least I hope so. It would speak more to Drake’s intelligence if he at least knowingly watered down this project. Otherwise it would just go to show that Drake isn’t as deep as his image attests, which would be a major issue for him moving forward.