When Drake picks up the mic you know what you’re going to get, a redundant reflection on women, money and privilege. That much has remained consistent throughout his career. To think he would stray from that formula would be expecting far too much. He is and always has been the archetype for safe, accessible rap. Something suburban mothers can listen to in an attempt to show their kids just how up to date they are on current trends.
For his third effort Nothing Was The Same, Drake tries to break free of those constraints to stake claim as the hottest rapper of his generation. He bookends the album with solid narratives, but unfortunately for him everything in between is standard fair. He’s just as bipolar and shallow as he was on Take Care. And the only creative difference between this project and that is the exterior package in which it’s delivered – surface value changes for one of rap’s biggest blowhards.
In attempt to shed his image as a doughboy on the mic, Drake opens his new album with what he thinks is a scathing declaration of lyrical supremacy. It’s anything but. Instead of fire, it’s baby’s breathe, an innocuous breeze on an otherwise normal day. And as a result his attempt to leverage street cred falls upon deaf ears: [LISTEN]
All it takes is two songs for Drake to resort back to his oblivious ways. This time he’s trying to be incognito with what’s considered pretty standard behavior for celebrity rappers of his ilk. But leave it to Drake to take the average subject and try and inflate it with as much hot air as possible: [LISTEN]
At best Wu-Tang Forever was an average album. So it only makes sense that an average lyricist like Drake would use it as a cornerstone for a song. At least he’s being honest in terms of his upbringing, which at the end of the day does nothing for his status as the softest rapper since Grandmaster B: [LISTEN]
The album hits a crossroads here, a point of no return based on merit alone. Not for anything outside the ordinary realm of typical Drake shoddiness, but because he dares drag Maury Povich’s name into his world of mediocre raps. Maury always came hard, and he definitely wouldn’t approve: [LISTEN]
Quick, name any other MC in the game who thinks rapping about Bar Mitzvah money is slick. None. And not only is Drake poorly satirizing his life of privilege but he’s making sure to use as little brain power as possible to make it happen. Maybe that’s a normal thing when you’re considered the Darius Rucker of rap: [LISTEN]
When Drake cries he begins with that silent anguished face, which is then followed shortly by the long ominous bellow. It’s the same here where he laments over minor life experiences like it were the end of the world. Small wonder as to why his work has always been considered a running punchline: [LISTEN]
Drake’s the type of guy that needs a hug everyday or a warm bottle of milk to help him go to sleep. Seriously how much can Drake play one card before he begins to corner himself. The irony is that his criticisms land much closer to home than he thinks: [LISTEN]
Every once in a while Drake emerges from his mother’s lap to deliver what he considers a man’s verse. He’s trying desperately to defend himself and his work by claiming that he spent a whole summer on the album, which if is true is a tell tale sign that he needs to work harder: [LISTEN].
Drake is better at being Judy Garland than he is at being a seasoned rapper. He’s dedicating this one to yet another lady, and in the end further forties his role as a one note rapper. At the very least he’s shouting out the LIV, which will likely buy him cover for the rest of his rap life: [LISTEN]
Drake finally decides to lose the alter ego, and come with the real. He’s offering a glimpse of the type of drama that comes with a life of privilege, and it’s surprisingly intriguing. But by this point in the album it’s too little too late. He’s already doused it with artificial sugar, which makes all other flavors obsolete: [LISTEN]
Bookending his album with another lyrical odyssey, Drake barely passes for a lyricist here. He’s trying to match Kendrick Lamar’s knack for dual narratives, but where Kendrick succeeds with authentic tales of real life, Drake fails with shallow interpretations of overused tropes: [LISTEN].