Aubrey Drake Graham, or as I like to call him: Jimmy Brooks, burst on the scene last year with his incredible mixtape "So Far Gone." Ever since then we've been waiting for his career to officially start with his debut studio album. After much delay "Thank Me Later" dropped 2 weeks ago (although it was leaked a week before that). So I've been listening to the album for 3 weeks or so and I'm finally ready to write something.
I like the album, its solid from top to bottom. There really isn't a bad song on the album, I can listen to it straight through without skipping a track. On the flip side there really aren't a lot of great songs that I hit repeat for. Only two songs stands out as great ("The Resistance" and "Light Up"). The track layout is good. He spaces the "R&B" tracks out well, not really letting them accumulate together. The transitions of tracks is nice too. At the end of "The Resistance" he says "I'm in it til its over" and then "Over" comes on. Smooth. I think I would have liked an intro, simply because I love intros, (future post) but I do like "Fireworks," it let us know he's "going off."
There are a lot of features on the album. This is the path that hip-hop has taken though so it doesn't bother me. It does bother me that almost ever featured rapper had a better verse than the host lol. Really, Drake forces the artists to bring their A game, his verses were so good that they had to be better. Examples of this are on "Light Up" and "Up All Night." No ones got a Jay feature like that before, but Drakes verse was so tough, Jay had to step it up. Same with Nicki. Speaking of Jay, it also bothers me that he claimed to create a "Triple Entendre" and told us not to ask him how. What Jay? I'm going to ask you. Sorry I digress lol.
The most important thing about the album is the lyrical content. This is something that can be easily overlooked because Drake sings as well as raps which makes him "commercial". In addition the album can be confused to be more R&B than rap because of the smooth beats and singing (I made this mistake). In actually the album is fairly balanced and the lyrical content is very realistic and easy to relate to and his lyrics are deeper than they appear to be.
A common motif of Drake's recent songs (and this album) has been how his success has created more negatives than positives in his life. I joke with my friends that all he does is complain about how hard it is being famous and rich and how he hates it. After all, he's only getting what he asked for. His complaining can indeed be annoying but its refreshing to hear his concerns. Very few rappers (people) are secure with themselves to speak about their worries and fears. Drake does this throughout the album. He fears losing his friends, losing the women he loves, not fulfilling his promises, not meeting expectations, his poor priorities, being forgotten, partying too much, not working hard enough, wasting money and much more.
All of these things are easy to relate to for most of us even though we aren't nearly as famous or rich as he is. For most of us we are starting our professional lives and have reached a certain point of success (College degrees, new jobs). We are at crossroads with our friends, deciding who to keep and who to let go. We are missing the woman we love, thinking about how we messed it up with her and/or worried about losing her because of our new found success. We wonder if we will be able to live up to the expectations of us, if we are working hard enough, being appreciated for the work we do, if we have our priorities in order, if we're blowing our money, and so on. Of course another thing that we can relate to is the way he copes with all his fears/worries: partying, partying and more partying.
Thank Me Later is a very good album. Drake goes to a place that is unheard of for a debut album. His honesty is amazing. In many ways he is speaking to (and for) many of us with this album. He shares his problems with the world which lets us know that it is okay to open up and speak about our fears and worries. This is something that we could all use.
If you need any lyrical references or want to talk about the complexities of the lyrics/album hit me up.