After collecting a buzz second to none, Toronto-born rapper Drake has finally released his wildly anticipated debut album, Thank Me Later. From being an actor on Degrassi, a television show aimed at teenagers, to nearing the apex of hip-hop, it’s been a lightning-fast, riveting trip for this rap rookie.
Since February 2009, when he released the mixtape So Far Gone, Drake has went into a sprint of fame, releasing music and becoming the talk of hip-hop fans around the world. After nearly a year and a half of gathering hype, Thank Me Later is the Young Money Entertainment artists’ formal introduction to the mainstream.
The first track, “Fireworks,” featuring Alicia Keys, sets the tempo for the multi-faceted album. In between repetitions of Keys’ beautiful choruses, Drake speaks on everything from his rise to fame to the affect his parents’ divorce has had on his outlook of love.
The lead single, “Over,” is led by a powerful chorus of strings, seamlessly transitioning into a fast-paced instrumental backed by bells.
Drake seems to summarize his fame with the first words of the song: “I know way too many people here right now that I didn’t know last year, who are y’all?”
Drake teamed up with Young Money boss Lil Wayne to create “Miss Me,” a massacre of punch lines and outlandish comparisons. The artists contribute one long verse each, viciously attacking the beat.
Wayne is far from the only guest on Thank Me Later. Swizz Beatz and T.I. lend their services on the song “Fancy,” an anthem to the well-kept, independent women around the world.
While the soft-singing version of Drake makes appearances on most of the album’s tracks, he releases in full form for “Shut It Down,” a collaboration with R&B sensation The Dream. This song, along with “Find Your Love” return to Drake’s roots: making pseudo-romantic songs geared more towards the female audience.
Perhaps the best guest performance on the CD comes from the legendary Jay-Z on “Light Up.” The beat features deep drums and a lonely, low synthesizer. Lyrically, the pair discuss the necessary but painful changes fame brings upon stars. Jay exemplifies the subject perfectly with the line “Sorry momma I promised it wouldn’t change me/ But I would’ve went insane had I remained the same me.”
Drake bravely takes deep introspective glances into his personality, diving into his flaws with no fear. He illustrates these trips with rhymes like “I heard they just moved my grandmother to a nursing home/ And I be acting like I don’t know how to work a phone.”
Both lines mentioned above come from what is quite possibly the album’s best song, “The Resistance.” Drake spills his thoughts and feelings of regret over a slow, mellow beat, creating a masterpiece of self-exploration.
Overall, Thank Me Later is a superior album with something for everyone. Whether you’ve been following Drake since Degrassi or you didn’t know Canada had any rappers, you’ll like at least one of the 14 songs featured on this more-than-solid debut.
Final Score- 8.5 out of 10
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