Drake’s “Thank Me Later” Leaks, Young Money Needs a Plumber

2 Jun

As most of you must have heard by now, Drake’s much-delayed official debut album, Thank Me Later, has leaked.  While this kind of post isn’t really my thing, I am YeahDevelop’s most ethnic contributor and I happened to get my hands on this pretty early.  Now YeahD has been a big fan of Drake since the unprecedented success of his mixtape, So Far Gone.  I, on the other hand, have always been kind of skeptical of the former Degrassi cripple.  Though his star has quickly risen to the top of the hip-hop world, I was never really blown away by Drake’s flow–songs like “Congratulations” made Drake sound like nothing more than a Weezy clone.  The mixtape star still had much to prove.

Any questions I had about Drake’s ability as a legitimate rapper were answered with Thank Me Later.  Breaking from the usual hip-hop trend of rapping only about money, clothes, and hoes, Thank Me Later is a refreshingly candid glimpse at the man behind the swagger and the struggles that come with becoming one of rap’s youngest and most successful artists.  Drake provides the perfect mix of hard rap hooks and head-bumping beats with soulful R&B flair that proves to be the heart of the album’s emotional theme—an ambitious theme for hip-hop that we’ve seen rappers like Kanye West swing and miss at.  The album isn’t perfect, but it is definitely one of the better rap albums to emerge in recent memory.

The album plays pretty well from start to finish, beginning with “Fireworks,” a slower, dreamlike beat accentuated with resounding bass thumps and drums on the hook with a sultry Alicia Keys.  The trend of softer tracks continues with “Karaoke” and “The Resistance,” two of the album’s weaker songs.  The lyrical content of the two tracks is okay, but the constant shifting between breathy singing and rapping is bound to annoy some listeners, as is the awkwardly placed mechanical crashing noise in “Karaoke” that sounds like a sound bite from Street Fighter II.  The single “Over” also plays pretty strangely, with the first verse not starting until almost a minute into the song.  However, the change to a faster tempo and a stronger focus on rap verses is the song’s saving grace in the context of the album.

The strength of the album comes right in the middle.  “Show Me A Good Time” is a great summertime song, and “Up All Night” could have been this summer’s “On to the Next One” if it wasn’t for Nicki Minaj botching her verse at the beginning (I flinched while listening to her trying to regain her footing after a strong Drake verse).  Thankfully, her verse is still pretty good, even though the annoying voiceover afterward shows that even though she’s a good rapper, she’s not very convincing at acting rich.  “Fancy” has a smooth beat that’s reminiscent of early 2000s rap—the kind of song people bump out of their car windows on 125th when it comes on Hot 97.  The latter half of the album shows off Drake’s prowess as a rapper in collaborations with rap heavyweights Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne.  Each of the collaborators live up to their reputations on the tracks, but more surprisingly, Drake counters with verses that make you think he’s been in the game as long as they have.

The album does have a couple of obvious misses, though.  “Shut It Down” throws a wedge in the pace of the album right as it speeds up.  Drake was trying to make a sexy R&B anthem for all the ladies, which was alright for the first three minutes or so.  But at about 7 minutes, the track just wound up being irritating and self-serving.  Surely, ghetto chicks around the world will love to bump and grind to this one, but when listening to the album from start to finish, you might want to skip this one.  “Cece’s Interlude,” coming after a powerhouse trio of songs, is unwelcomingly slow-paced and kind of pointless.  Even for an album with a significant R&B feel to it, this track just doesn’t fit.

All in all, Drake debuts strong with Thank Me Later.  There is obviously some room for growth in lyrical content, but there is no doubt Drake has made the jump from rap’s Rookie of the Year to the face of Young Money and a mainstay in modern hip-hop.  If he was able to improve this much from his mixtape days, expect his sophomore album to blow us all away.

UPDATE: The link now works.

Unforgettable (Feat. Young Jeezy) – Drake

Show Me A Good Time – Drake

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One Response to “Drake’s “Thank Me Later” Leaks, Young Money Needs a Plumber”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Never Late Is Better « yeah….Develop - 06/21/2010

    […] Cookin’ Soul and Don Cannon from rolling out the first full-album mix of Drake’s Thank Me Later. the mixes here stick close to the originals (understandably), adding frills to some of the […]

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