Home > Album Reviews, Hip-Hop, Music > Album Review: Drake – “Thank Me Later”

Album Review: Drake – “Thank Me Later”

Rating Scale is as follows:

βββββ – Classic (i.e. “Forever” Music)

ββββ – Superior (i.e. “Good” Music)

βββ – Average (i.e. “Typical” Music)

ββ – Needs Work (i.e. “Save Your Money” Music)

β – Garbage (i.e. Hot Garbage)

Review after the jump…

Rating: βββ

Album Average: 3.2/5

Logic: In the book “Born To Use Mics” by Michael Eric Dyson & Sohail Daulatzai, there is an interview with Robert “Bobbito” Garcia, a legendary DJ, writer, and entrepreneur . In the interview he discusses Nas’s debut album Illmatic, and the atmosphere in hip-hop before it’s release. Garcia explained that “Illmatic was hands down, unequivocally, the most sought-after and anticipated release of the 1990s. No one can argue that.”

Almost 20 years after the release of Illmatic, it has become difficult to generate a buzz of that magnitude in today’s culture of ringtone rappers and one-hit wonders. There has been a lot of changes in hip-hop, particularly in the way music is distributed and consumed by the masses. Last year, Drake released his mixtape So Far Gone and perfected a marketing scheme used by 50 Cent in 2002 – turning mixtape success into a deal with a major label – propelling himself to an unprecedented level of stardom.

Thank Me Later opens with the Alicia Keys accompanied “Fireworks”, produced by Noah “40” Shebib. Drake is at his best on this record delivering rhymes about the struggle of becoming an overnight success and juggling love, family, and fame. The album then transitions into “Karaoke”, a synth filled melodic record that showcases Drake’s songwriting ability and lyrical prowess . He rhymes, “I know they say the first love is the sweetest/but that first cut is the deepest/I tried to keep us together, you were busy keeping secrets/secrets you were telling everybody but me/don’t be fooled by the money, I’m still young and unlucky.” “Karaoke” serves as a testament to the difficulties a relationship faces on one’s path to prominence.

The first few tracks on Thank Me Later are filled with personal accounts of the struggles any artist would encounter when fame and success bring you into the limelight. For the most part, those accounts are catered toward love and relationships. “The Resistance”, another recored produced by 40, is no different. Drake sings, “What am I afraid of/this is supposed to be what dreams are made of/the people I don’t have time to hang with/always look at me and say the same shit/You promised me you would never change.”

From here, the album shifts into the uptempo lead single “Over”, a track on which Drake delivers punch line filled lyrics over soft horns and strings. Although a bulk of the production on the album goes to 40, Drake does enlists some of hip-hop’s heavy hitters to get behind the boards. The Kanye West produced “Show Me A Good Time” & “Find Your Love” are both decent tracks that don’t disappoint.

The commercial success of hip-hop has created a blueprint that most artists seem to follow when making an album, which overtime has served as a detriment. As the album progresses, Drake seems to slip into this mold. He has guest appearances that aren’t needed, touches on the typical subject matter, and disconnects from the personal aspect that made the beginning of the album great. “Fancy” featuring T.I., produced by Swizz Beatz, is a ladies anthem that is less than memorable. As are “Up All Night” featuring Nicki Minaj & “Unforgettable” featuring Young Jeezy, which samples Aaliyah’s “At Your Best” (should have left that one alone). The longest track on the album, “Shut It Down” featuring The Dream is a throw away track. As is “Miss Me” which sounds like a leftover from a Lil’ Wayne mixtape. Even the Jay-z assisted “Light Up” doesn’t live up to expectations. The album concludes with “Thank Me Now” produced by Timberland, which saves the end of the album.

We left the golden era of hip-hop a long time ago. I don’t think hip-hop ever died, but if it did, it has life after death.  Some great artists have emerged to carry the torch (see my Leaders of the New School post), and Drake falls into that category. However, Thank Me Later leaves room for improvement. Once Drake leaves the typical blueprint behind and let’s the art lead, he’ll be on the same level as the greats who came before him.

“Too often, hip-hop still lacks deep vision and analysis. It’s just escapism, it’s thin. In the end, it can’t just be about escaping. It has to be more of a turning-to in order to constructively contribute. It’s fun, it’s entertaining, it helps sustain the rituals of party-going on the weekends, but it still lacks vision.” – Cornel West

And, that’s The Truth.

  1. Brett
    June 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Just pointing out that the track with the Dream is called Shut It Down, must have been a typo

  2. June 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Corrected, good looking out.

  3. Brett
    June 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    Solid review though man. You have a great taste in music, this blog is real cool and I’m glad I found it.

  4. June 6, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    It’s still a work in progress. Appreciate the support though.

  5. June 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    You have not disappointed me with this review. Thank you.

  6. June 9, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Thanks for the review. I look forward to more from you and this site.

  7. June 21, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I love this website, the information is great and I have bookmarked it in my favorites. This is a well organized and informative website. Great Job!

  8. July 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Great website and great information. You are very knowledgeable about this topic and i can’t wait until we come back and visit your website again!

  9. July 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Great website and great information. You are very knowledgeable about this topic and i can’t wait until we come back and visit your website again!

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