Dr. Beardhussein Examines Drake’s Debut Project [||]
(you know, if you don’t count the 2 mixtapes and the 13 songs he’s been featured on in the last 16 months)
Check your watches…
First off, let me just say that I can’t stand Drake.
I hate him. I hate him a lot. I hate his goofy smile, I hate his “Aw shucks” demeanor. I hate his whining about fame in one line of a song before bragging about how my Mom, Grandma, Sisters, Aunts, Girl Cousins, Girlfriends, Exgirlfriends, and every other female will go completely insane and mount him on the dinner table because of said fame.
I hate his stupid inflections, I hate his southern accent (this jackass is fucking CANADIAN but he raps in Lil’ Wayne’s voice), I hate his “Two Thumbs Up/Ebert and Roper”-esque “punchlines”.
I hate his stupid fade, and his nonthreatening Backstreet-Boys-in-1999-Girl-
I hate his stupid twitter name, which I will not post here because I don’t want anyone to think I’m remotely in league with this shithead.
I hate how he acts like he did all this work on his own when he only had rap’s biggest star (at the time) cosign him.
I hate how, the only time I bothered to even look up a live performance of him, he didn’t sing the singy parts of his stupid debut single, “You The You The You The Best”.
I hate how he steals KanYe’s mannerisms.
I hate virtually everything about Drake. He is a focus group’s wet dream. KanYe West without the arrogance (or passion). Lil’ Wayne without the tattoo’s or the dreadlocks (or talent). Will Smith without paying his dues. Ja Rule without ever having to do any of the work.
Drake is the worst possible thing to happen to hip-hop since 50 Cent came along and said that album sales fueled by hooks’n’beats were more important than lyrics.
Because Drake’s corny raps and studio magic sangin’ are faux-talent. They’re the Orange Drink to a real artist’s freshly-squeezed, not from concentrate, Orange Juice. It’s almost refreshing…until the High Fructose Corn Syrup gives you a headache.
So, that being said, why am I about to listen to Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later? I’ll tell you:
Because I want to get it.
The same way I hated Marshall Mathers and grew to enjoy his music, the same way I hated Shaun Carter and grew to enjoy his music, the same way I heard “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down” for the first time and wondered who would actually like it. I’ve been wrong before. I want to see if I’ll be wrong now.
I want to see what other people see in this hack. I want to have that moment of “OHHH! I get it! French Class!”
I want to see if I can, at some point, forgive this man’s existence and get used to the fact that he’s gonna be around for at least the next 3 years. (my personal opinion? he drops this album, a follow-up, then goes off into acting. he’s destined for a Mason Betha-esque career, only instead of the Church he’s gonna go right into acting)
I want to see if I can find something to like about his music, something that will make me refrain from driving my car into a brick wall when Hot-97 plays the 4th Drake song in 2 hours.
So what I’m gonna do is tap into the part of my brain that enjoyed Drake’s “9am in Dallas” freestyle and “Find Your Love” and his verses on “Fed Up” and “Forever.”
I’m going to tap into those places and see if I can give Drake’s album a good review…
…or if I’m going to hate the apparently talentless fucker until the day he goes back to DeGrassi.
(before we get started, 2 things: I’m only listening with 1 headphone as I’m at work and I can’t have both headphones in, so I’ll be gentle as far as the beats’n’mix goes, as one headphone is gonna hinder that. Second, the picture, production credits, and track list are stolen from http://nahright.com/news/2010/05/20/drake-thank-me-later-track-list/)
Here we go:
1. Fireworks (feat. Alicia Keys) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib)
The beat sounds like an “808’s & Graduation” attempt. Drake seems to be introspective on here, which I appreciate, as well as him rapping in his own voice without the KanYe-Weezy biting. Chorus is good, and I prefer Drake’s singing to his rapping by a trillion-to-one margin. Alicia Keys’ vocals are just okay. The second verse was dope. Sounds heartbroken. Might not be a gimmick because I haven’t heard Aubrey talk about the alleged Rihanna relationship much, and most of the time artists love giving dirty details about that. Overall, track is better than I expected. *shrug* I dig the emo, soul-baring stuff. I just wish Drake could express that in his raps. His insincere delivery sounds detached, and that’s boring. Oh, also, points for having the first rack be an actual song. Nowadays it’s a skit or a shorter song.
2. Karaoke (Produced by Francis and the Lights)
Wow. I hate the beat for this song about 10 seconds into it. One headphone or not, this beat is so bad that I’m wondering if it was on purpose. The singing was good enough. The rapping is average. I honestly don’t know what the fuck this song is about. Is this girl upset that he’s famous? I think so. Okay, it is. I kinda hate this song.
3. The Resistance (Produced by 40)
This sounds like the last song. The beat sounds like “Say You Will.” Okay, credit is due: “Tryin’ to blow myself up, I’m on some Martyr shit” was a cool line, works on a couple levels. “I avoided the coke game and ran with sprite”, kudos. The “Good Enough” line sounded awesome…when Joe Budden had a whole fucking song called “Good Enough” almost a year ago. Ugh. Lyrically this is a solid track, but again, the blah delivery coupled with his baffling “YOU’RE NOT FROM THE SOUTH!” delivery is really, really annoying. Tell you what, this is definitely a nice change of pace from the radio shit he’s on. Not great, and the whining is annoying considering dude hasn’t paid any dues, but it’s infinitely better than the radio shit. Aaaannndd we’re segueing into…
4. Over (Produced by Boi-1da & Al-Khaaliq)
Ah, the underwhelming lead single. I’ll hit the highlights: The beat does all the heavy lifting (it’s really good), the chorus is stupid, he’s in full-on Weezy Impression Mode, the “2 thumbs up/ebert & roper” Young Money “punchline” gimmick is running rampant, and the only good line on the song is the Thriller reference, “All I need is a fuckin’ red jacket with some zippers.” Needless to say, I’m only listening to this one to properly frame the track what follows it. Too much everything-I-hate-about-Drake on one song. Next!
5. Show Me A Good Time (Produced by Kanye West)
I’m gonna try to do my best to not go easy on this song just because KanYe West did the beat. *takes off Stan hat*, *puts on serious music journalist hat* Whoa… This is busy. Sounded like “Haters” for a second. Weezy Impression Mode! Drink! The double-time flow, combined with the southern rap voice affectation, is making me angry. Okay, Wheelchair Jimmy just referred to himself as “The Osiris of this shit.” I might throw something. I…understand this song. I do not like this song. Take off Drake’s verses, give it to KanYe or Jay (or both) and keep the hook, and you have something. This tho’? This was terrible. Just terrible.
6. Up All Night (feat. Nicki Minaj) (Produced by Boi-1da)
Oh no. Minaj. Ugh. Oh, good. It’s the Weezy impression over a bad beat, with the same flow Drake uses on his awful radio features. “Made enough for two ni**as, Stunt Double” was clever. This one and the last one were just awful and have stopped the album cold. Nicki Minaj is in full-on Lil’ Kim Impression Mode. Wow. Nicki Minaj just renegaded Drake. Bra. Va. Anyway, this is also a lousy song, some generic Crew Love track. Oh no… Nicki Minaj is talking trash. Shut up, Nicki. You’re making me regret giving you props. So, to recap, this beat is kinda okay, and it’s Lil’ Wayne & Lil’ Kim rapping over it. Gotcha. Before I go to the next song I think I’m gonna sniff some glue. It might help. Or it might make me pass out, which would also be a win.
7. Fancy (feat. T.I. & Swizz Beatz) (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
Oh thank God, East Coast production. I never thought I’d be happy to hear a Swizz Beatz track, never mind one with Swizz doing his “One Man Band Man”-era hook thing. This beat is pretty dope. This is straight 1994 East Coast rap. Drake sounds inspired. I’m thoroughly enjoying this song. Only took 7 tracks! “Only had a little class like half days” is another feather in Aubrey’s cap. Welcome home, Clifford! T.I.’s flow is tight on this one, if his lyrics are just okay. I’m nodding my head. This is BEGGING for a NaS or Raekwon guest spot.
Okay, bridge is up. Let’s see if they end on a high note. FUCK! They went back to the 808s’n’Ron Browz sound from the first few songs. Son of a bitch. They couldn’t just end this at 3 minutes? Or just after the bridge? He had to break this down to a Generic “Girl, Yamo take you shoppin’!” song? This better payoff HUGE into the next track. (spoiler alert: the next song features The “All My Songs Sound The Same” Dream, so my early guess is “No.”) “New that she was fine like a ticket on the dash.” Seriously? Seriously!?
8. Shut It Down (feat. The Dream) (Produced by 40 & Omen)
This track is almost 7 minutes long? Okay, singing Drake. This is some straight Boy Band shit. This is, flat out, Boy Band shit. Droppin’ the “F” bomb and kicking some soft-core Nas-tay lyrics doesn’t change that. This is also terrible. I mean, I’m okay with The Dream. “Rockin’ That Shit” is an all-time guilty pleasure song of mine, but all his songs sound the same now. He can sing, but it sounds like he’s got too many effects on his voice once they’re layered.
As for the rest of it, I guess teenagers need music to knock someone else’s girlfriend up to, but my goodness. It’s like Drake & The Dream sat down and said, “What if we did a song like Janet Jackson’s ‘Anytime, Anyplace’, only made it shitty and from a dickhead’s perspective?” The only saving grace: Trey Songz isn’t on this. *shudders* Oh Good, Drake rapping. Hey… I know those drums! Can we give this beat to someone else? Okay, I’m done. I’ll sit here and listen. Fuck. Wouldn’t you know it? During the rap the beat carried the song into awesome mode. Touche. This is the exact opposite of what happened with “Fancy.”
That last minute or so was great, but what’s up with the last 2 minutes? *listens* I hate that I enjoyed the 4:00-5:00 as much as I did. That was great. I’m gonna have to listen to this whole song again. This might make a good edition to the next booty CD I make. This is me standing (sitting) corrected. Kudos, Aubrey & Terius.
Okay, so 8 tracks in, here are my impressions:
~Drake is awful as a rapper.
~Drake can be tiresome as a singer.
~”Fancy” is easily the best song on the album so far, fucked up ending and all.
~”Shut It Down” has it’s moments of silliness, but is a quality track.
~When the production strays from doing an 808’s & Heartbreak impression, it’s good.
~Nicki Minaj Renegade’d Drake.
(this is just a superfluous set of parentheses to separate the bold stuff)
(so is this)
(and this one too. also, it just came to my attention that the hot girl with the great rack that’s leaving the office for good today had her mom make lunch. this is a bonus.)
(okay, let’s get back to it)
9. Unforgettable (feat. Young Jeezy) (Produced by 40 & Boi-1da)
It must be said: I think Jeezy is awesome. I can’t listen to his generic coke songs over boring southern 808 production, but over more bombastic or “real sounding” beats, he’s great. I’m also convinced that Jeezy is a certified genius that just raps about coke to keep himself busy. Okay, let’s listen to this. I’m getting tired of the meandering synth waves in almost all of these songs. It’s like they know Drake makes soul-less music so they try to create moods with these tones.
Drake’s first verse was generic Drake: “I’m famous, my girl doesn’t understand it, blah blah blah.” The chorus is fucking INCREDIBLE. Jeezy sounds great over this. I’d like to hear Jeezy & The Game on this, keep Drake on the hook and bridge. This is another good one. Top to bottom, my new pick for best song on the album.
But… If you’re keeping score, so far the best raps on this have come from Nicki Minaj & Young Jeezy. Aubrey, buddy…
10. Light Up (feat. Jay-Z) (Produced by 40 & Tone Mason)
The Hova Collabova. I hated this the first time I heard it. Maybe I’ll hate it less the first time around. Drake’s rappin’ like Drake for the 2nd or 3rd time on this album. Altho’ I’m pretty tired of him complaining about how old a young man he is, or how young an old man he is. Whatever. Anyway, the drums are KanYe West-esque. Gotta love Aubrey trying to kick knowledge when his career is 16 months old with, again, zero dues paid.
I like the hook. Aubrey’s verse was average Drake fare. Onto Jay’s verse! Yep, Jay kills this dead. Can’t believe I missed this the first time. Wow. Dope track. Hov > Jeezy > Minaj > Aubrey > Tip so far.
11. Miss Me (feat. Lil Wayne) (Produced by Boi-1da & 40)
I remember hating this one too. Ahh, he’s rapping WITH Lil’ Wayne, so that’d explain why Drake…sounds like Wayne. Zuh? I might be off comparing dude’s delivery to KanYe. I mean, the influence is there, but the sounds might be coincidence. Anyway, the verse isn’t bad.
Hook is blah.
and Finally, an appearance by the real Lil’ Wayne. Wayne’s verse is average. Wow. When are people going to talk about how drastic Wayne’s fall-off has been? I’ve never been that impressed by him, but he had his stellar moments, but his recent output has been really average, not just for him, but in general. Next!
12. Cece’s Interlude (Produced by 40)
More singing. This track sounds like something The Dream would do. More meandering synth waves. Who’s “Cece”, anyway? Is there a story I’m missing? Oh God. MORE bitching about being famous. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Cece, run. Just run. I just googled Drake’s birthday. 10/24/86. No wonder he’s awful. Nothing good came from someone born after ’85 except for Lady Gaga. Anyway, this is useless, and dumb. Bah.
13. Find Your Love (Produced by Kanye West)
I like this song. I like the beat. It’s catchy. Drake’s singing works. I wouldn’t have put it this far down in the order, but that’s just me. Drake has a decent R’n’B story in this album, but every song about girls are the same, and the sequencing is off. He should’ve done what Diddy did with Press Play and loaded the front of the CD with the rapping and bitching about being famous whilst simultaneously reveling in the fame, and then put the stupid interlude, and then done the emo r’n’b love songs. That’d have been good. In fact, I might reorder the track list and see if I enjoy the album more that way.
Anyway, this song is awesome. KanYe gave Drake a good one, and Drake nailed it. However, the singing Drake does is good enough, but I’m kinda tired of it. Maybe some singing over more upbeat production? He’d have something there. Anyway, I’ll let this ride out and we’ll go on to “Thank Me Now.”
14. Thank Me Now (Produced by Timbaland)
Fair warning: I hate Timbaland. Always have. Always will. I think he’s completely overrated. “You got resolutions, we just got reservations.”–Point for Drake. The folks on Nah Right said this song sounds like Jay-Z. He does. Well, he sounds like The Game rapping like Jay-Z. This is very Hova-esque. I like the beat. Why? Because it doesn’t sound anything like Timbaland.
I was done with this song about 15 seconds ago and I just saw that there’s still 2 minutes to go. *sigh* Well, another point for Drake is that he doesn’t sound like Lil’ Wayne. Fair question tho’: Did Drake spend a ton of time in the south prior to So Far Gone? If he does, I might hate him less. This is a good ender but maybe it should’ve been an introduction? Hmm. Yes, an Intro, with “Fireworks” starting off the R’n’B Emo Love Story. *ponders*
And, of course, 20 seconds of more meandering synth waves. Alrighty then.
Okay, that’s enough. Let’s rate this sumbitch.
Let’s do this in Q’n’A format, shall we?
Q: What’d I think of the album?
A: I thought it was good. Not great, but good. Enjoyable enough. Not a lot of Go Timey bangers on it, but decent ride-out music. The stuff I hated will either fade away with repeat listens (of which I plan on having: zero), or will magnify and cause me to run over pedestrians.
Q: What’d I think of the concepts?
A: Startlingly weak. Very, very weak. Surprising considering how good Lil’ Wayne and KanYe West are at concept songs. The concepts were: I’m famous, I’m sad cuz I’m famous, I’m sad cuz my girl can’t handle me being famous, I’m happy cuz haters can’t handle me being famous. That’s it. That’s the list. I enjoyed the introspection on “Fireworks”, but that’s all we got. *shrug*
Q: What’d I think of the production?
A: I said it a billion times. It was like his take on 808’s and Heartbreak‘s production. Just not good. There were a few good beats, “Over”, “Fancy”, “Thank Me Now”, but for the most part it was soft drums, meandering synth waves that went on and on and on and on and on, and half-hearted bits of static’n’distortion. Nothing against 40 & Boi-1da, as I imagine they were told to do that. Both them boys have major talent. KanYe, Swizz, and (allegedly) Timbo all laced Drake.
Q: What’d I think of the lyrics?
A: Um… Yeah. Lyrically this wasn’t good at all. I gave credit where it was due, but it had virtually no rewind factor. That’s really it.
Q: Okay, wrap it up.
A: 7.5/10, the singing got tiresome after a while and the raps were what we’ve been hearing for the last year and a half on the radio. There’s a good album in here, just not the way they presented it. It’ll sell, but it won’t set the world on fire. That’s the problem with overexposure: There was literally nothing present on this that we haven’t seen from Drake before. You could buy it, or you could download it, or you could turn on the radio and get the entire experience. Shallow, disposable, average, and not nearly worth the amount of time I’ve spent ranting and raving.
Drake’s ceiling: Mason Betha, and if he’s a viable commodity in music in 2 years, I’ll print out this post and eat it.
Call Reynolds, Cuz it’s a Wrap
Okay folks, that’s it. As always, comments, critiques, questions, and “U A HATER ASS NI**A DRAKE IS HOT FOH!!!!!”-type statements can be left below in the Comments Section.
Thanks for tuning in,