Column by Abbey Maynard
Needless to say, I’ve never really been a fan. But his new record “Nothing Was The Same” has changed my mind. (Also, this whole going to Drake University thing just makes it a bit awkward not liking Drake.)
“Nothing Was The Same” almost makes up for YOLO. Almost.
But back to the album review.
This is a surprising record for countless reasons. He opens with “Tuscan Leather,” a track with no chorus. Yes, no chorus.
Quite the interesting choice for an artist whose first record brought him to the Top-40 circuit.
In fact, there only seems to be one song tailored for radio play — “Started From the Bottom.”
Maybe the hip-hop industry’s obsession with “radio songs” is coming to an end, and I could not be more thankful.
Drake has cultivated a new sound on “Nothing Was The Same,” too.
There are plenty of alt-wave/chill-wave intros, interludes and fade-outs.
Compared to his other records, there’s also a lot more of Drake on this record.
The first six tracks are nothing but Drake. He seems to be cutting back on collaborations.
He also seems to recognize that nostalgia is something his tracks are usually missing, and he makes a gracious attempt to incorporate hip-hop royalty Wu Tang Clan into at least three of his tracks. One is even titled, “Wu Tang Forever.”
Besides making phenomenal artistic progress and becoming more confident in his ability to rap without collaborators, Drake is tackling more serious themes, too.
Perhaps it is because of the rise of “conscious rap.” Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Odd Future speak of the reality of life as young men growing up in urban areas — often under tremendous difficulty.
The hustler persona is dying. And I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing, either. The hip-hop industry is in need of authentic rappers who write their own material that actually pertains to their lives.
Drizzy is maturing. He is now able to question his place in the game of rap. And what is most refreshing about his questioning is that he doesn’t have an answer. He’s simply exploring what it could be.
“Nothing Was The Same” asks his listeners to realize that he is just an average guy. Which obviously isn’t true.
An average guy is not a rap mogul. But Drake feels pretty average. He expresses the need to keep his life hidden, he has problems with women, he has idols — the kind to worship and the kind that consumes.
His lyrics feel like the diary of a teenage girl who probably should have stopped keeping a diary a long time ago. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. His verses are rambling and endearing.
It feels authentic, yet, aggressive. Because he’s still young. He’s still confused. He just happens to be famous, too.
Maynard is a sophomore English and study of culture and society double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org