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Drake’s “Take Care”: A Review


I could start this review by writing about a number of different things.

I could write about Drake’s posse, the OVOXO “clique,” which now includes the mysterious R&B crooner known as The Weeknd (no, that is not a typo). I could write about Drake’s rumored relationship with tennis superstar Serena Williams. I could even write about Drake’s subtle drifting apart from the loud and arrogant ensemble of musicians that is known as Young Money.

However, I’m not going to do any of the above. This is a review of an album called Take Care by a Canadian rapper named Drake. Let’s begin.

Take Care is, without a doubt, one of the best albums that I have ever listened to. I know that I throw that superlative around quite a bit, but this album truly deserves the praise. About two years ago, I thought that Drake’s first album, Thank Me Later, was a masterpiece. Take Care is an ethereal album that cannot be compared to much else.

Lyrically, Take Care centers around money, fame, and love. Yet the album mostly touches upon the darker sides of such things: loneliness, failed relationships, pornography, addictions to cough syrup, family issues, and the lives of strippers, to name just a few.

Drake sticks close to home throughout much of Take Care, opening songs with artists like Canadian singer Chantal Kreviazuk and interspersing breathless bars with serenaders such as Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd. That being said, Drake still finds ample space on the album for close (and wildly famous) musicians like past-crush Rihanna, mentor Lil Wayne, and best friend Nicki Minaj.

There are certainly some bizarre moments in Take Care. These include, but are not limited to: Stevie Wonder playing a harmonica outro on “Doing It Wrong,” Drake’s ode to a stripper on his remake of Juvenile’s 1999 hit “Back Dat Azz Up” via the song “Practice,” and the fact that Drake does not even appear on an interlude called “Buried Alive,” which is instead performed by Kendrick Lamar.

It cannot be denied that none of the music on Take Care is wildly experimental. Drake went for the mandatory Just Blaze-produced gospel beat on “Lord Knows,” one of the album’s standout songs. Rick Ross drops by to make deep noises in his throat and says “Boss!” every so often. Lil Wayne talks about women in a sickly-sweet, syrup-laden voice on at least three songs. Nicki Minaj, as usual, slays the competition on “Make Me Proud.” There are tons of beats made by Drake’s producer, Noah Shebib (also known as 40), as simultaneously muted and gorgeous as ever.

One of my favorite aspects of Take Care is the seamless way that Drake and 40 transport the listener from song to song. Towards the end of “Shot for Me,” the listener can hear the muffled beat of the next song, “Headlines” building in the background. Suddenly, “Shot for Me” ends and “Headlines” begins, taking the suppressed beat and bringing it to a far higher volume level. The transition is smooth, clever, and altogether exhilarating.

“Marvin’s Room,” perhaps the most revealing of all of the songs on Take Care, opens with a one-sided phone conversation. The listener hears the distorted voice of a woman answering questions about the clubs she went to earlier that evening and reluctantly inviting the caller over for a drink. Suddenly, Drake drops in, singing about the quantity of alcohol that he has consumed over the course of the night and the fact that he can’t seem to find the right woman. The right woman at the bar in which Drake has posted himself for the night? Perhaps, but it seems more likely that Drake’s loneliness is slightly more broad.

Our mysterious female friend returns for the chorus of the song, countering Drake’s claims that her boyfriend is not right for her by repeatedly asking the rapper, “Are you drunk right now?” Drake responds: “I’m just saying, you could do better/Tell me, have you heard that lately?” It’s obviously rude of him to do such a thing, yet the listener can do nothing but sympathize with Drake as his tears fall into a glass of whiskey.

Take Care is pleasantly confusing. The listener wants Drake to find someone “real” to love, yet Drake is constantly asking, “What’s wrong with strippers?” and then the listener feels ashamed and runs off to wallow in self-pity with Drake himself. It’s agonizing and delightful and illuminating, all at the same time.

Drake’s first album, Thank Me Later, dealt with a subject matter largely revolving around Drake lamenting his sudden wealth and fame. On Take Care, however, Drake appears to be content with where he is. He’s wealthy, he’s famous, and people love him — but none of it is a shock to Drake anymore. Take Care is boastful yet refined, extravagant yet modest. It is an album that should not work, yet somehow does: a paradoxical masterpiece.

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About the Contributor
Ned Hardy
Ned Hardy, Editor-In-Chief
Ned Hardy is a man of many passions. His latest endeavor? Bringing his expertise and vision to Inklings as Editor in Chief. Hardy joined the Inklings staff his junior year after being impressed by the awesome issues being put out. Having started out as Web A&E Editor, Hardy has the knowledge and experience to help take both the paper and the web to greater heights. He enjoys writing in- depth investigative news pieces. Although he never sets out to stir up controversy, Hardy likes taking difficult, thought provoking subject to write his articles about. But Hardy is more than just the typical investigative reporter; he is also a music enthusiast and enjoys writing album reviews that reflect his interest. Hardy says he is a big fan of rap music, especially Kanye West. When he isn’t writing for Inklings or jamming out to Kanye, Hardy, a self proclaimed foodie, might be found cookie up something delicious. Hardy’s varied passions foster an appreciation for each writer as an individual. As Editor in Chief, Hardy hopes to influence the paper by personally interacting with everyone on the staff. “This could easily become a situation where only the loudest voices are heard’, Hardy Said.  “I want everyone to have a chance to write the article they want to write or to take the picture they want to take.”

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  • Q

    Q-MoneyJan 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    This a joke? Drake is the softest rapper in the game. Young Money is god-awful, and The Weeknd is not a member of Drakes “Posse”. The Weeknd is a completely different musical project, yea they happend to be featured in a drake song, but that doesnt mean a thing.

    One of the best albums ever? Thats like saying Nicholas Cage should win best actor for his wonderful role in “The Wicker Man”
    There is a totally under-rated era of hip/hop many ignorant people brainwashed by the mainstream are completely un-aware of.

    If you took the time to expand your musical tastes from the same old sounds of Drake, Kanye, Lil Wayne, etc. you would discover some of musics highest quality artists.
    .Kendrick Lamar
    .Schoolboy Q
    .Childish Gambino
    .A$AP Rocky
    .Theophilus London
    The list goes on

    Drake is utter garbage compared to the realistic musicians of our era, and if people like you didnt write reviews like this across the world, we would be living an a much more artistically advanced nation. Instead we have ignorance