Drake – Nothing Was The Same

drake-nothing-was-the-same-artwork-2

Released: September 20, 2013

Label: OVO Sound, Young Money, Cash Money, Republic

Producer:  Aubrey “Drake” Graham, Brian “Baby Birdman” Williams(exec.)Noah “40” Shebib (also exec.)Ronald “Slim” Williams, Allen Ritter, Boi-1daChilly GonzalesDetail, DJ Dahi, Hudson MohawkeJake OneJordan EvansKey WaneMajid Jordan, Mike Zombie, Nineteen85, Sampha, Vinylz

Genre: Hip Hop, Rap

Tracklist:

01 Tuscan Leather
02 Furthest Thing
03 Started from the Bottom
04 Wu-Tang Forever
05 Own It
06 Worst Behavior
07 From Time (feat. Jhené Aiko)
08 Hold On We’re Going Home (feat. Majid Jordan)
09 Connect
10 The Language
11 305 to My City (feat. Detail)
12 Too Much (feat. Sampha)
13 Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2 (feat. Jay Z)

On Take Care Drake stated “I really like who I’m becoming”, sounding confident enough to know where he’s actually going. On Nothing Was The Samehe’s still confident, but he’s given it some more thought. “I could go an hour on this beat, nigga!” The song, “Tuscan Leather”, which opens the record, is six full minutes long with no chorus, a point Drake is eager for us to absorb: “This is nothing for the radio/ But they’ll still play it though/ Cuz it’s the new Drizzy Drake, that’s just the way it go.”

Drake is all over the place. This is not only just a high point in his entire career. This whole generation of new age rappers started with him. We are living in the Drake Era. He went from the most unlikely rapper out there to the most accepted one. One of the few pop crossover stars; and since Kanye West decided to step out of the pop-radio wars, Drake has no meaningful competition whatsoever. Like he clearly states in the album’s track “Own It”, he does. “I’m on my worst behavior,” he leers, over a glowering low-end synth and an insectile battery of defaced-sounding percussion, courtesy of DJ Dahi. It’s the meanest-sounding thing Drake has rapped over, and he matches it with some of his angriest lyrics, a series of sputtered “muhfuckas never loved us”.

This is the darkest territory Drake has ever stepped on. Mostly because Nothing Was The Same, is mostly a solo affair, allowing him to fully go on his rants. Up to old habits again, Drake keeps sniping of at non-famous girlfriend. It’s just two weeks since the album has been on the internet, and already his line “The one that I needed was Courtney from Hooters on Peachtree/ I’ve always been feeling like she was the piece to complete me” from “From Time” is infamous, a reference so specific that the actual Courtney has had to put a padlock on her social-media life. Drake has been known to talk about old flames all the time. As these rants and raps progress throughout his career, they tend to grow more and more malicious and emotional.

On songs like “Party Morton Music” and “Too Much”, he keeps quoting old friends, reunions and his family on the latter one: “Money got my family going backwards/ No dinners, no holidays, no nothing,” he laments, before going in on his uncle, his cousins, and even his mother: “I hate the fact that my mom cooped up in the apartment, telling herself that she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do shit like that’s true shit.” The album’s title fits perfectly on here, unveiling itself as a fulfilled prophecy. He might like who he’s becoming but, he doesn’t need others to accept that. Nothing will ever be the same.

To say something both selfish and correct: That’s okay because loneliness, self-afflicted or otherwise, has always been Drake’s most reliable fuel (and what make his album so appealing to me). While other mainstream rappers kept pilling stuff again and again on their songs, Drake’s sound defined themselves by what wasn’t there– snare claps, hi-hats– then what was. His album always drew strength from insularity didn’t they?

Complicated and both uncomplicated; the album has polar opposites. On one hand we have Drake’s both simple and brilliant production demands that sometimes isn’t something louder than a click or a dimming pulse, and on the other have something that never seems to stop progressing: Drake’s words, one emerging breathlessly after the other. Tangled thoughts everywhere thrown in every direction coming at you in a torrent of raps. “I wanna take it deeper than money, pussy, vacation/ And influence a generation that’s lacking in patience/ I’ve been dealin’ with my dad, speaking of lack of patience/ Just me and my old man, getting back to basics/ We been talking about the future and time that we wasted/ When he put that bottle down, girl, that nigga’s amazing,” he raps on “From Time”. Well i’ll tell you it’s pretty hard not to feel exhausted, slightly, after an album’s worth of this emotion. And I almost feel that Drake is also exhausted. It almost feels like the song’s weight is too much to handle but he still does. He’s “somewhere between psychotic and iconic” on “Furthest Thing”, promising to “break everyone off before I break down.”

This is Drake’s both most morose but also triumphant album. I can’t think of anything more depressing than “My life’s a completed checklist,” he boasts on “Tuscan Leather”. For Drake, of course, it’s another reason to feel superior. But it’s also something someone might say right before he dies. And I can’t think of an admission more depressing than that.

“Hold On We’re Coming Home”


“Started from the Bottom”

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