Drake - "Nothing Was the Same" Oct 5, 2015 13:26:35 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Oct 5, 2015 13:26:35 GMT -5
Nothing Was the Same (2013)
Drake's concise and well-orchestrated EP So Far Gone, his experimental debut album Thank Me Later, and his moody, R&B sophomore album Take Care all worked to show that Drake was more than a charismatic, well-groomed artist. They showed us that rap music could transcend boastful, ringtone-catered choruses to create something truly dark and ambiguous, as well as being boastful, and Drake was one of the leading voices of that shift. Only more amazing to note is how mainstream and successful those releases were on a sales level, prepping Drake as one of the most successful artists of the 2010's.
While Nothing Was the Same lacks the experimentation and heavy introspection of his first releases, it does a nice job at shifting his sound so subtly to the left that audiences emerge with a bit of a broader spectrum of what Drake is capable of. After a nearly eighty-minute album that worked to show the crooner tendencies of the Toronto-based rapper, Nothing Was the Same shows spells of anger, cockiness, and that ability to flow on any beat, subtle or bombastic, given to him by the likes of his go-to producer Noah "40" Shebib.
Opening the album is the scratchy-sounding "Tuscan Leather," with Drake delivering an aggressive flow with a downright angry instrumentation. This goes on for six minutes, with Drake even acknowledging the song's unusual length, but we can hear from his delivery and his words that he doesn't give a damn if it goes on for an additional six. Right from this cut, which addresses everything from disillusionment with fame and Drake's still prominent heartache, we know that this will be an album of unbridled emotion, delivered to us in the raw as it normal is.
Following that is radio hit "Started from the Bottom," which, despite almost undeniable accounts of its celebratory lyricism turning infectious quickly, is as questionable as Drake asserting on Take Care's cut "Headlines" that he's capable of "catching a body." The exaggerations of Drake coming from nothing before being met with this kind of global success is hard to believe, as Drake was born into a middle class home and soon welcomed on the Canadian Television series Degrassi. Regardless, this song isn't offensive and the party that Drake throws for himself on 40's slick 808s is everything else if not deserved.
Drake continues by allowing darker and moody instrumentation loops to take over much of the album. "Wu-Tang Forever" is the poster-child of that, with a hypnotic beat draping itself over Drake's slightly raspy vocals, "The Language" and its unique flow fit perfectly with the more bass-centered beat from both Allen Ritter and Bryan "Birdman" Williams, and "Worst Behavior" has that meanness that was found in "Tuscan Leather," as well, in addition to Drake ostensibly not caring that his flow is ice cold and unwelcoming on this track as its ever been.
The album gets a bit uneven, more-so than the other Drake albums with the inclusion of songs like "Hold on, We're Going Home," an unabashed piece of pleasant, but forgettable, dance-pop featuring Majid Jordan. With this song being thrown right towards the tail-end of the album, when Drake begins hitting his stride with "305 to My City" and the downright mesmerizing "Too Much," it feels like a song that was thrown on the album in a quick bout of optimism that it would assimilate accordingly. It did not.
Nothing Was the Same, at the end, is the weakest premium release Drake has yet to crank out, though its notable differences and more mainstream sound do not distract from Drake's ability to be able to perform and exhaust potential on every instrumental given. The only thing that makes his albums seem like filler, I feel, is when songs conclude and the remaining two or three minutes is accompanied often by a fairly ordinary instrumentation. I presume this is Drake and the respective producer's act of adhering to the likes of ambiance, but it's like the idea of confronting a void - it only works for a few seconds before it becomes exhausting.
Recommended tracks (in order): "The Language," "Connect," "Started from the Bottom," "Too Much," "Pound Cake," and "Worst Behavior."