Vox Beats: Drake’s Thank Me Later

While the Voice is slumbering, Vox is going to handle this summer’s album releases. Here’s Nico Dodd on Drake’s Thank Me Later.

The last hip-hop record that has been hyped as much as Drake’s Thank Me Later was Kanye West’s Late Registration. Think about that. The hype surrounding Drake’s follow-up to the well-received 2009 mixtape So Far Gone magnified after Drake signed to Lil Wayne’s Cash Money Records last June, and crescendoed this Tuesday when he canceled last Wednesday’s NYC concert due to rioting. Now think about this—Thank Me Later will both hit number one and be certified gold (sell 500,000 copies) one week after its release.

However, the album is not without its flaws. By the end of track three, it’s apparent there are songs on this album that will always be skipped. “Karaoke” and “The Resistance” are prime examples of Drake’s boring rants about some girl at some club. Drake’s biggest weakness—dude can’t rap—cripples more than a handful of So Far Gone’s tracks. Drake’s flow is almost always off beat, and his rhymes are fair at best, often repeating the same word at the end of a line. Additionally, his voice is more nasal and he is often rapping faster on this album, which makes him sound like a 14 year old. (But if you remember Drake as a teen, maybe that’s not a bad thing.) Auto-crooned hooks remain the catchiest parts of songs, and hold up the better songs between awkward verses.

Luckily, Thank Me Later’s predictability won’t disappoint anyone who liked So Far Gone. The best tracks on this album rely on a downplayed, contemporary production style. There are no sampled beats and no amateurish horn blasts like those in “Forever.” Drake’s verses are also not over-riddled with overplayed metaphors. Not to mention the featured rappers, whose top shelf performances sound comfortable even next to Drake’s inexperienced verses; the usual suspects include Jeezy, Weezy, and Jay-Z.

Get comfortable with Thank Me Later—this album is going to stick around through the fall and into the winter. Skills or not, Drake’s has an undeniable presence in mainstream rap that can’t be challenged.

Vox‘s Choices: “Fireworks,” “Over,” “Light Up”

10 Comments on “Vox Beats: Drake’s Thank Me Later

  1. Please learn about hip-hop music before you come and write something ridiculous like this. And ranting about a girl at a club? Did you listen to those songs at all? I think you just wanted to write a counter piece to all of the great reviews the album has received. This is hip-hop album and one of the best that has come out in a minute. Your review is almost funny….go back to listening to rock or alternative and leave these type of reviews to someone with a better ear.

  2. This is a dumb-ass review. You don’t know hip-hop music..and clearly didn’t even listen to the album.

  3. Drake is lyrically uninteresting and vocally unimpressive.

    He’s nothing more than a versatile marketing tool made by young money’s promo team to sell music. Have you seen the features on this tape? Believe it or not… there used to be a point when a rapper would release an album with no guests, because a rapper could carry an entire album on his own. Doesn’t seem to be the case here. He’s flavor of the month, and the fact that this is the “best hip-hop album to come out in a minute” reflects how much mainstream rap has flatlined.

  4. “There are no sampled beats and no amateurish horn blasts like those in ‘Forever.'”

    Did I miss the horn blasts or did you listen to a different song?

  5. I mean, you must be listening to the wrong one. Because they’re literally the first sound of the entire song.

  6. it might have to do with what we mean by ‘horn.’ Most music crits would use ‘horn’ to mean ‘brass horn’ (ie I always smile when the horns drop right before the chorus in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwQbuAGLj4 and then kick back), but a klaxon (which we hear throughout ‘Forever’) is more or less an airhorn, so calling it a horn isn’t technically wrong. Just a little unusual.

  7. Pingback: Vox Populi » H8r @$$ reviews: Wolf Parade’s Expo 86

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