The Score: Drake, "Take Care"

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011 12:10PM

Written by J. Bachelor

Buy Now
  • Take Care
  • Drake
  • November 15, 2011
Chicago Tribune 3/4
Rolling Stone 4/5
Pop Crush 4/5
Slant Magazine 4.5/5
Soul Culture 4/5

Hip-hop's moodiest MC is back and ready to serve his fans another heaping helping of sorrow as Drake's highly anticipated album, Take Care, officially goes on sale today.

Despite leaking nearly a full week before its release, Take Care is expected to be another commercial success for the Canadian artist, whose debut, 2010's Thank Me Later, achieved platinum certification.

Hip-hop has never produced anything quite like Drake - a guy with a Jay-Z ego and a Charlie Brown soul. The Canadian singer-rapper introduced his melancholy-player persona on 2010's platinum Thank Me Later, spooling out alarmingly mellow confessional brags over synth-streaked tracks that suggested someone had spiked his Cristal with NyQuil and truth serum. "Famous like a drug that I've taken too much of," he rapped, and somehow made you sympathetic to all his stardom-is-hard meditations.(Rolling Stone)

For Take Care, Drake called on Young Money familia Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne as well as songstress Rihanna to help complete the sophomore project.

Drake helped build up buzz for the album by personally releasing a handful of tracks over the past few months. Take Care features guest appearances from a number of other stars, including Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. (Pop Crush)

Drake was careful to employ many of the producers that helped craft his debut for his sophomore release.

While the production on Take Care's other hard-hitting numbers, most of which come courtesy of T-Minus, don't live up to Just Blaze's high standard, they do give Drake a pretext for showing off his immeasurably improved flow. "Underground Kings" and "HYFR" find Drake experimenting with new cadences while spitting faster than he did on Thank Me Later, while Boi-1da and 40's "Headlines" is both harder and hookier than any of the other singles on the album. Still, Take Care is frequently at its best when it dodges the soft/hard dichotomy altogether. 40 has come as far as a producer as Drake has as a rapper, and his knack for mixing melodic synth tracks with menacing low-end rumble is what ultimately gives the album its distinctive point of view. (Slant Magazine)

Following the release of the album's lead single, "Marvin's Room", Drake contemplated the impact his sophomore release might have upon his career and personal life.

"The album might bring me a world of problems because I think I finally have a grasp on who I am and who I want to be," Drake explained in an interview. "I'm just really talking that sh*t. I'm really saying what I feel. I think the goal for me this album was to dig even deeper. Somebody told me, 'Ah, I love your lyrics -- but I know there's more. It's almost like I feel you're giving circus raps and people are taking them as the deepest thoughts ever.' So what I did for this album is try and really capture this moment in time at the most honest place I can. So however it ends up, I'm ready for the world right now. I'm about whatever." (Headkrack TV)

While some critics feel Take Care is a solidifies the 25-year-old's spot as one of the most creative rapper's in the game, others say Drake's frequent instances of self-pity and depression make it a difficult album to love.

Take Care submerges listeners into the familiar claustrophobic world of Drake which is made up of paranoia, women, regrets and superstardom. Those who dislike the concepts, the familiar settings or his whiny voice will be quick to depart. But everyone else will remain in awe of the 25 year old who is still some years away from taking on the burden of being the number one in the game. (Soul Culture)
Take Care is a weird album. The good tracks are good, and the horrible ones are really horrible. If Drake really wants to keep our attention as a rapper, he's gonna have to expand his subject matter. First, he needs to stop singing and rapping about the women. How many songs can you really want to even make about some girls? Why can't he see he's played that out to the max? Second, he needs to stop talking about his career, where he's at now, and what his life was like growing up. I thought that ended with "Thank Me Later", but on this album it sounds like he has a lot more to talk about. It's cool to see people like Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd on the album but, he needs start branching out and featuring more artist outside of his own group.(Real Hip Hop Head)

To purchase Take Care click here.

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