Ok let’s forget about all the negatives or the hate distributions surrounded when the name Drake is mentioned. Let’s forget about some of the reasons that some “hip-hop” fans don’t like and feel that Drake is not hip-hop. Mind you hip-hop is all about evolution I mean hip-hop/rap is in almost every genre of music but as I step down from my soapbox let’s just talk about the music, the breath of fresh air, the album and the creativeness of Thank Me Later in which as in the final track, to Drake you should as the Timbaland produced title states: Thank Me Now.

Thank Me Later is what I call the sequel to the highly successful 3rd mixtape from Drake, So Far Gone. Along with the official 1st single off the album Over and Kanye West produced Find Your Love the album does not disappoint. From the opening cleverly arranged Fireworks including the actual fireworks to Alicia Key’s not too much but just enough vocals on the hook. Drake again gives the listener honesty but then again most of what Drake spits feels honest. I rarely hear honesty in hip-hop, rap or whatever. It’s just refreshing to any fan of music. If you appreciate and enjoy a peep into the love life of a celebrity or on their way to celebrity it’s no way you cannot like Karaoke. There’s nothing truer than the song’s hook “I was only trying to get ahead, but the spotlight makes you nervous and you’re looking for a purpose.” The Resistance is definitely a continuation of So Far Gone with the usual 40, Drake and Sade feel embedded in the track he ask “What am I afraid of /This is what dreams are supposed to be made of/The people I don’t have time to hang with/Always look at me and say the same shit/ You promised you would never change.”

To prevent myself from writing about each song in this review I’m just going to talk about a couple of my favorites from the album because if I don’t I’ll be the author and publisher of Aubrey Graham’s unauthorized biography. On Unforgettable featuring Jeezy was a nicely done perfect homage sample of Aaliyah’s song, At Your Best You Are Love. So now I guess people can stop spewing at The Dream for his Aaliyah’s remake.

You can say what you want about Drizzy’s vocals but I think he stays in his lane on all of his songs and it works again on Ce Ce’s Interlude. If so called hip-hop fans really pay attention at that in last decade how many hip-hop songs where the artist is singing the hook. The club and summer anthem for the ladies is Fancy in which T.I. blesses it with the surprise of “Well aren’t you a breath of fresh air/From all these superficial gold diggin’ bitches in here/They get a baller think that they ain’t got to pick a career/Guess they plan on sucking some dicks until some millions appear.” And Swizz Beats’ production parties up on the hook like he usually does. In Drake’s & 40’s usual fashion of remixing the end of its own original song but this time including Mrs. Hip-Hop Soul herself, Mary J. Blige on the hook “Nails done hair done everything did” for the ladies as a final touch of seasoning on the track Drake leaves you lines like “Mature women with more than me were the 1st to tempt me/and Jason had this girl Tammy with a purple Bentley/how she got it I ain’t never get to ask/I just knew that she was fine like a ticket on the dash.”

To no surprise Miss Me featuring Lil Wayne, which enables the Young Money dynamic duo to drop their usual chemistry on a track and it, doesn’t look like their losing that chemistry anytime soon. Show Me A Good Time is another Kayne produced banger that is not only catchy but has me envisioning the ladies on the middle of the dance floor at one of the hottest spot in town. But best believe Drake acknowledged the haters while paying homage and shoutin’ out the underground hip-hop scene with a thing called the truth with “I came up in the underground though/so I’ma spend another $10,000 for Dilla/call me over rated or creative or too jaded/because any way you put it bitch I made it, YUP!” Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Up All Night” gives me a chuckle every time when I hear the line “We got the Hawks talking bout the peach state/Man for pete’s sake, scratch that, sweepstakes/Ha Ha Ha fuck I look ho ? /I look like yes & you look like no.” I mess with Shut It Down featuring The Dream and if you want to know what put it over the top for me, just go on Youtube under the song title and there will be an abundance of females winding to this joint. ‘Nuff said.

The song with heavy rotation on my iPod from Thank Me Later is Light Up with Drake giving the so-called players some knowledge. “Yeah, that’s what life becomes when you’re doing you/Welcome to Hollywood, don’t let this town ruin you/And if you pillow talking with the women that are screwin’ you/Just know that she gon tell another nigga when she through with you.” Noah “40” Shebib’ and Tone Mason’s production on this track is true hip-hop grit. It personifies the theme of the Godfather trilogy and that’s where Hov steps in passing down knowledge and schooling Drake as the next in la familia with “Drake, here’s how they gon’ come at you/With silly rap feuds, tryin’ to distract you/In disguise, in the form of a favor/The Barzini meeting, watch for the traitors.” Light Up sounds like a movie from the beginning to end. Even with a singing hook (where a lot of hate from some peeps in the game feel is one of the knocks on Drake not being an MC but if you can save money by not hiring a vocalist to do a hook why not do it yourself if you can lol) on such a dirty movie score-sounding track, Drizzy’s melodic hook accents the suspenseful mafia tone song. In my opinion definitely one of the hottest arranged tracks concept wise that’s out right now.

Bottomline, (So what I ended up reviewing the whole album…..as life goes on) forget about hip-hop, forget about pop and forget about R&B. Thank Me Later is a great musical album that’s more creative than some already established artist. This is a great debut and this kid will be around longer than the prediction of Drake as a two-album wonder. I’m sorry I like the honest feel of his music and Drizzy is spittin fiyah in his lane and not proclaiming he’s Thug of the year. Everybody didn’t grow up in the streets on a 24hr grind on the block. Drizzy’s a mad talented dude and I respect the craft and he gets it in on every song. People forget he dropped two mixtapes prior to So Far Gone (Room For Improvement & Comeback Season) so he didn’t just happen overnight. I rarely get to play a cd from beginning to end so I’m appreciative of the work put in on this album. It’s definitely a cd worth coppin’. So get it. UNO!

Written by Malcolm Batten – @showpiece425