Toronto's most famous rapping son is ready to "catch a body like that."
There are two major problems with Take Care, the second official studio album from Torontonian rap mega-star Drake.
First, and most prominently, is Drake’s weird tendency for sitting on the fence between pop star and MC. On one hand, Drizzy loves making pop music. The sad, forlorn, puppy-dog eyed version of Aubrey Graham that appears on songs like “Marvin’s Room,” “Cameras-Good Ones Do,” and “Doing it Wrong” is second only to Justin Bieber when it comes to making songs that stir adolescent hormones and cause young girls to swoon.
On the other hand, after spending roughly four years hanging out with the likes of Lil Wayne and Birdman, Drake is hungry for some street cred of his own. On “Headlines,” he claims to be “mobbin’ like that” and implies that he may even be down to “catch a body like that,” which, given his background as a teen soap star from Forest Hill, seems rather unlikely. Drake isn’t doing anything really exceptional here. Almost every rapper makes sure to include something “for the ladies” and “for the hood” on every album, but Drake’s two personae are so vastly different that it’s jarring, and his attempts at being “hard,” are sort of laughable, like a Yorkie baring its teeth.
The second problem on Take Care is Drake’s tendency to brag by complaining. For some reason, things that seem desirable to most of the world—wealth, fame, being invited to fancy parties, getting laid a lot—are all tremendous burdens for Aubrey Graham. He actually has the audacity to moan about the amount of income tax he pays on “Over My Dead Body.” On “Marvin’s Room,” he seems remarkably upset about the fact he’s had sex four times in the last week, presumably with different women. That would be fine if the entire song wasn’t about him drunk-dialling his ex-girlfriend, presumably to make her number five. There’s nothing wrong with a good brag rap. Drizzy’s mentor, Lil Wayne, is a master at finding creative ways to tell you exactly how well he’s doing, and Kanye West has made an entire career out of talking about his own awesomeness, but Drake’s whine-boasting verges on stomach-turning.
All of that said, Take Care isn’t completely without its charms. The production, most of which comes courtesy of fellow Torontonian Noah “40” Shebib, is rock solid. “Crew Love,” a duet with Drake’s new homie The Weeknd, is particularly impressive, with its mix of hard electronics and soft keys. “Make Me Proud” is a straight dancefloor banger, and the bouncy “Headlines” is a tonne of fun.
It’s also worth mentioning that, content aside, Drake has an interesting flow. He’s not a “good” rapper in the traditional sense, but his nasal sing-song is oddly likeable. It’s too bad that he can’t seem to use it for much other than complaining.