Vox Beats: 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”