Dustin takes a look at Drake’s new album, “Nothing Was the Same” and how it stacks up with the other landmark releases so far this year.
Back with his first new album since 2011’s “Take Care,” Drake’s newest “Nothing Was the Same” finds the rapper/singer waxing poetic on familiar themes; love, life, success and a seemingly crippling loneliness.
“NWTS” seems a lot like Drake calling back and apologizing to all the people mentioned on “Take Care” and presents probably the best look we’ve had thus far at how he struggles with a private life as one of the biggest people in music today.
“Tuscan Leather” sets the album up nicely with a pulsing uptempo beat as Drake embraces the flash. The opening line of the song, and thus the album is, “Comin’ off the last record, I’m gettin’ 20 million off the record, Just to off these records, ***** that’s a record.”
From there though, the album bounces from topics and moods that unfortunately end up hit and miss.
“Furthest Thing” is the very next track and has Drake isolated from everyone around him. Lines like “Promise to break everybody off before I break down” and “I can’t help it I was young and I was selfish, I made every woman feel like she was mine and no one else’s, and now you hate me” highlight a self-imposed pressure, not only to have enough success to help everyone close to him, but to also right past relationship wrongs.
The album would be better served if Drake had chosen one of these directions rather than try to blend both the “larger than life rapper that shouts YOLO” (“Worst Behaviour”) and the “quiet romantic who wants to just take a girl out” (“Hold On, We’re Going Home”) and even the “I can never truly be happy despite my massive success because I have all these demons” (“Too Much,” “From Time”) persona charges to the front at times.
Because of all the instances of Drake trying to open up and expose his faults, songs like “Worst Behaviour” where Drake raps “My momma probably hear that and be mortified, This ain’t the son you raised who used to take the Acura, 5 a.m. going shoot Degrassi up on Morningside, For all the stunting I’ll forever be immortalized” just can’t help but feel fake.
Drake is a gifted rapper, there’s no denying that and the album features some of the best beats I’ve heard so far this year (“Wu Tang Forever,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home”) but he needs to make up his mind about who he wants to be known as.
To spend one song putting girls on blast for trying to extort money from him only to turn around one track later and spill his heart out apologizing for wronging women with his behavior and decisions diminishes the overall impact the album has.
There’s no doubt Drake will one day find the perfect balance between personas and when he does, the music will benefit greatly from it. But until then, if you want an album full of expelling regrets, “Yeezus” and even “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” were albums full of Kanye West showing the public his demons while staying within the persona he’s become known for throughout the years. Jay-Z adjusted to fatherhood and released “Magna Carta Holy Grail” an album that’s vintage Hov and finds Jay-Z just as flashy as ever, yet also dealing with fatherhood and knowing how important raising Blue Ivy the right way was.
“Nothing Was the Same” is not a bad album, solid beats and memorable songs highlight where Drake could potentially go, but familiar topics and an unwillingness to go in one direction unfortunately means the album is more of the “Same.”