Artist of the Week: Drake
Toronto MC Drake, real name Aubrey Graham, is one of the highest profile figures in contemporary hip hop music. His soft voice and brooding, self-absorbed lyrics give him a much-needed identity in an oversaturated rap scene. Drake’s early efforts, Thank Me Later and Take Care, were fine. They weren’t really outstanding, as Drake doesn’t necessarily have the rapping ability to set himself apart from other rappers. He is, however, an excellent producer and constantly finds himself at the center of pop culture conversations, whether it’s dating Rihanna or becoming the “social ambassador” for the Toronto Raptors.
Drake’s third LP, Nothing Was The Same, is where it all came together. He found the right mix of braggadocio (“Worst Behavior” and the hilarious “Started From The Bottom”) and vulnerable, sweet pop/R&B music (“Hold On, We’re Going Home”, “Girls Love Beyoncé”). “Hold On” is my favorite Drake song. The soft, relaxing chords provided along with Drake’s soothing voice (no rapping here) just haven’t gotten old.
Last October, Drake released three singles that many assumed would appear on his next album, Views From The 6. Of those, “How About Now” was my favorite. It’s a petty ode to the people who wouldn’t give him the time of day before his fame (“I’m up right now, and you suck right now”). However, last Thursday, Drake surprisingly dropped a 17-track mixtape, titled If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, to much fanfare and excitement.
Unfortunately, If You’re Reading This seems more like a track dump than a cohesive effort, and therefore appears to be a step back from Nothing Was The Same. The mixtape has some excellent tracks. “6 Man” and “Energy” are fine pieces of car rap, and “6 God” sees Drake enter into the fraternity of rap veterans (“I’m not new to this”). But many of the tracks seem to be filler. Songs lke “10 Bands” and “Know Yourself” are boring.
I’m really excited to listen to Views From The 6 when it releases, and hopefully we’ll get some of Drake’s lighter side which doesn’t appear on If You’re Reading This.
What I’m excited for:
This week, Passion Pit (one of my very favorite bands) released the album cover for their upcoming LP, Kindred, along with two promotional singles, “Lifted Up (1985)” and “Where The Sky Hangs”. “Lifted Up” was somewhat of a disappointment, as it didn’t seem to build on the excellence that was their sophomore album, Gossamer. However, “Where The Sky Hangs” is a major chord midtempo jam that elicits memories of “Constant Conversations”. All in all, I can’t wait for Kindred, which will be released April 25.
What I’m listening to this week:
Drake | “6 Man”
Passion Pit | “Where The Sky Hangs”
Speedy Ortiz | “Raising The Skate”
Hot Chip | “Ready For The Floor”
Dizzee Rascal | “Fix Up, Look Sharp”