’Drake – From Time (Feat. Jhené Aiko)’
’Drake – Furthest Thing’
’Drake – Tuscan Leather’
’Drake – Worst Behavior’

More than just the Adele of the rap game, Drake‘s ability to convey both sensitive and egotism with an ear for solid bars with catchy hooks have made him one of the highest selling artists in the industry. In just 4 years, the actor turned unlikely rapper/singer has achieved more with just 3 albums than most artists accomplish in a lifetime in the industry: sold out shows, millions of records, Grammy’s, and chart-topping singles. Now that Kanye West has chosen to explore more of an indie sound with his latest release Yeezus, Drake has arguably become the game’s new unchallenged crossover star. With his latest release Nothing Was the Same, he returns to the style of spitting about former relationships and braggadocious rhymes, but a little less formulaic than before.

Minus the obvious hits, “Started From the Bottom,” “All Me,” and “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Nothing Was the Same features a more in-depth look into Drake’s life that further explores the upsides and downsides of fame on his personal relationships. On the opening “Tuscan Leather,” Aubrey takes a minute from crooning over hooks and choruses to deliver a straight rap that includes boasting and a mention of his short-lived fallout with fellow labelmate Nicki Minaj. “Too Much” featuring Sampha (of SBTRKT fame) delves into more personal and somber themes, as Drake spits about how the growth of his fame affects family ties.

’Drake – Too Much (Feat. Sampha)’
’Drake – Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2 (Feat. JAY Z)’
’Drake – Connect’
’Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home (Feat. Majid Jordan)’

Of course, it wouldn’t be the same Aubrey without his signature songs about dysphoric reflections on past lovers over slow jam instrumentals. “Connect” finds Aubrey speaking about a lover that is no good for the health, but hard to turn away from (Rihanna?). “Furthest Thing” is an apologetic track about neglecting an ex that finishes with a soulful Jake One sample. Drake steps into a type of musical roleplay on “From Time” as he begins to seek out answers to why he hasn’t been able to sustain a lasting relationship, while the charming Jhené Aiko croons as the emphatic voice of the ex.

Although nicknamed “Heartbreak Drake,” NWTS is not without its real rap tracks. After listening to his bars on the summer hit “Versace,” there is no denying that Drake can hold his own lyrically. “The Language” follows the same quick flow from the designer-praising anthem. He may not be the best lyricist in the game, but he had enough bravado to go back and forth with legendary rapper Jay-Z on “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2,” a cut that doesn’t necessarily feature either emcee at the top of their game lyrically, but still is a solid effort. However, the “real rap” is short lived on “Wu-Tang Forever,” as he tries to change the mood with slightly seductive vocals and suggestive rhymes.

For an artist that has reached the top in such a short span of time, Nothing Was the Same seems to show signs of slowing that momentum. This time around, Drake develops a signature sound and decides to trim down on the features for a more cohesive 15 track effort that incorporates more thought and self-reflection. There are the generic radio hits, like “Started from the Bottom” and “Hold On ,We’re Going Home,” but the stand-out listens are the ones that are more narrative. Drake isn’t the best rapper, nor is he the worst. He isn’t the best singer, but he can carry a note and make a catchy hook. Thanks to great production from sidekick Noah ’40’ Shebib, Drake definitely has his pop-rap niche down ,and can channel listeners into a certain mood with every hook and verse. His latest is an album that most would have to hear over-and-over again to let it fully grow on you, but there is no denying the talent.

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