Drake is a 35 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, producer & entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada who skyrocketed to fame in 2009 off his 3rd mixtape So Far Gone. The success of this groundbreaking project resulted in a contract with both Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records & they helped put out the man’s full-length debut Thank Me Later the next summer. His sophomore effort Take Care the year after would be even better & I enjoyed Nothing Was the Same too but after If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late & then What a Time to Be Alive with Future (both of which came out in 2015), that’s when the quality in Drake’s music really began to take a nosedive. VIEWS was a terrible foray into dancehall, More Life was mediocre despite being stylistically eclectic, his YM/CM swan song Scorpion was a disappointingly failed attempt at making a double disc album showcasing his hip hop/R&B sides of his music respectively, Care Package is decent collection of 17 loosies from 2010-2016 that we’ve all heard before, Dark Lane Demo Tapes tried to experiment with new sounds only to miss the landing & Certified Lover Boy just felt like the same old shit we’ve heard from him before. However to celebrate his new SiriusXM radio show, Drizzy is surprise-dropping his 7th album.
After the intro, “Falling Back” opens up the album by going full-blown afrobeats with Drake singing about giving his all into a relationship whereas “Texts Go Green” is a more mellower cut produced by the album’s executive producer Black Coffee as he details him moving on from an ex. “Currents” pulls from Jersey club music with a distracting squeaking sound throughout talking about how he feels like he’s tumbling & doing a shitty Abel impression on the hook, but then “A Keeper” asks his old muse why he’d have her stick around over an airy instrumental.
Meanwhile on “Calling My Name”, we have Drizzy returning to dance-pop turf thanks to Carnage asking why it’s hard for him to give this bitch up just before “Sticky” comes through as the best track off the album with the lyrics about knowing tough situations can be & how the drums just hit you in the chest. “Massive” embraces a housier sound singing to his lover about finding them again, but then “Flight’s Booked” incorporates some synths to singing for his chick not to make him wait.
“Overdrive” has a funky ass groove to it with a fresh guitar solo at the end that I both really like admitting that his heart’s racing while “Down Hill” tells his bitch that they’re done & the 40 instrumental has an intriguingly wavy flare of the beat as well as the finger-snaps. The song “Tie That Blinds” throws a nylon guitar in with some prominent drums confessing that he never wants to see his lover leave while the penultimate track “Liability” slathers his vocals in chopped & screwed effects singing about changing for this woman with the hi-hats being mixed louder than the synths. “Jimmy Cooks” with 21 Savage ends the album with a fun 2-parter produced by Vinylz, Tay Keith & Cubeatz describing them throwing a party for their Day 1s.
I’ve noticed the reception for this has been very polarizing but for it to be a homage to the late Off-White founder Virgil Abloh, I’m honestly on the fence with it. I respect that Drake put his signature pop rap sound in the back-burner in comparison to Certified Lover Boy not elevating it any further so he can mix house & alternative R&B with afrobeats, but the results are extremely hit or miss.