Drake – Nothing Was the Same – The STiXXclusive Review

Yeah Look
It’s what you all been waiting for ain’t it?
Your weekly entertainment
For me to get a hold of this beat
And go ahead claim it
I’m about to paint a picture
You niggas go ‘head frame it
’cause we getting Seinfeld
On some Jerry and Elaine shit
(Barry Bonds Freestyle – Drake)

drake-nothing-was-the-same-artwork-baby

You see, that was the Drake that I was a fan of – Mixtape Drake. I get it, an artist has to grow, and the fact that the experiences change, the money grows, and the music develops for the interests of many more than just the city that you’re coming from. But what tends to go missing when rappers ‘make it’, is that hunger that they once had when they started. Again, I get it, you have a lot of money, you have success, you have awards (which some still think aren’t deserved) and yet here’s the music, but the fire in the belly has seemingly diminished unless there’s someone or something to get it going again. That is exactly how I feel about Drake. In 2011, when Take Care came out, I listened to that album for a good 6 hours straight as I was writing the review. Now, was that the best decision I made? Not really, no; a lot of emotions at one time for so many hours can do no good, but I did it and I vowed not to do that again. I’m more critical of Drake than other rappers, because as someone who’s from the hometown, I see it a lot of people like to just hop on everything and call it great because he’s from here. I get it that you’re down for the support, but at the same time, I’m not simply going to ride the wave of the Toronto love if I don’t enjoy the music – it’s that simple. Although Drake has made good music, I still wasn’t a fan of any of his albums up to this point (I can’t tell you the last time I listened to Thank Me Later, although I bought it because it was his first album and I wanted to support). What had me thinking that NWTS would be good was when he dropped 5AM In Toronto, because it had that hunger and aggression that had been missing on his previous albums, but of course it took someone to actually get it out of him in the first place, the same way 9AM in Dallas had him fuelled for a tirade against the opposition. Since Kendrick Lamar’s Control verse, and being that Drake was one of the names he dropped, a lot of people were wondering if he was going to respond. I felt that the best way for him to respond would be to drop a great album, since that was the emphasis of the verse to begin with. Drake stated that he wasn’t going to drop an album that was strictly rap, and I won’t lie, I flung my arms up with stress because that’s really all I’d wanted, but with this album, we’ll see just what he was able to come up with. Would it have flashes of old Drake, or would it truly live up to the title as nothing being the same?

As is the case for many rappers when they get a lot of money, they like to talk about said money, and with that money, they buy luxurious things that we, the people, can only dream about like an unemployed person looking at an IKEA catalog (what dreams may come). In Tuscan Leather, that is quite the case as he states how much he’s made since his previous album Take Care in 2011.

Comin’ off the last record, I’m gettin’ 20 million off the record
Just to off these records, nigga that’s a record

He has placed himself in the record books by having the most #1 Rap hits (features included, not all solo), and that’s something to boast about, definitely. The only thing I wanted Drake to do was to come out with some confidence when his raps hit the wax because it seemed like he lost a bit of an edge, and his moniker for being ‘soft’ had people (including myself) doubting that he could reprise the edgier rapper that he was and is still capable of being.

I reached the point where don’t shit matter to me, nigga
I reached heights that Dwight Howard couldn’t reach, nigga
Prince Akeem, they throw flowers at my feet, nigga
I could go a hour on this beat, nigga

If there’s anything about Drake that you can’t deny, whether you love him or hate him, it’s that it’s contagious how he’s so quotable because of how he ties in his punchlines together (whether good or bad, but he had a bunch on the first track

Yeah, Tom Ford Tuscan Leather smelling like a brick
Degenerates, but even Ellen love our shit
Rich enough that I don’t have to tell ’em that I’m rich
Self explanatory, you just here to spread the story, wassup

Included in the initial track, there are some struggles that came along the way because of success and a growing ego. Family and even business got affected, hence the line about a contract situation with Young Money when it was rumoured that he would leave for Roc Nation and also a communication breakdown with label mate Nicki Minaj. Let’s not forget that Drake loves to name drop any and everyone in his camp or label, but when shots are fired at him, he’s never name dropped. You could call it taking the high-road, but sometimes it’s necessary to show the opposition that you’re at least tough enough to hold your own in the rap game without throwing subliminals.

The sped up sample that sounds like it’s in rewind with the dope beat switching up after every verse is a stamp on why Take Care was pretty good, because of the production, and I wouldn’t see that changing anytime soon. 40 has had some years with Drake under his belt and has put out quality work, so I was awaiting to hear what would transpire throughout the album. As for subject material of the song, you could argue that it was pretty much like Over My Dead Body, based on the naysayers saying what they say, the haters hating, and the money flowing; a continuation or repetition? Name drop count: 1 – Tatyana Ali (he showed up to a club where she was at after she admitted that she had a love thing for the young man).

Furthest Thing is the ever-so-popular ode to an Ex; Take Care-esque, but not in the way where it’s Marvin’s Room sappy with drunken woeful messages of regret and scorn. The premise of it is something that (here’s a shocker) a lot of people can relate to because we’re all human. Reminiscing over someone seems to be Drake’s number one staple when it comes to his songs, because the art of ‘letting go’ doesn’t seem to be in his skill-set, but Taylor Swift made a career out of heartbreak, and he was aptly known as ‘Heartbreak Drake’ for a while, so there’s that. It gets repetitive, and he essentially dedicated a whole album to his misery and sorrow of the abundance of girlfriends that have had him down in the dumps and searching for love at the bottom of a cup of that XO. You’ve got to move on, man.

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
Stop pretending, stop that fronting
I can’t take it
Girl don’t treat me like a stranger
Girl you know I seen ya naked

There’s also the issue of because he’s so rich, that he’s entitled to lending out to the people he promised, but because they’re not getting it, they turn their backs (Jay Z had a song like this on MCHG called Nickels & Dimes). The best thing about this song was when the bridge kicked in and then Jake One came in and killed this beat. He’s produced a lot of great beats including Wale’s Winter Schemes (J. Cole killed it), and Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rain. The list goes on, but he’s definitely rising to be a premiere producer in the game. The whole emphasis is that Drake’s been keeping everything ‘on the low’, because it’s really difficult to predict what his next moves are. I felt like he could have done the last verse way better justice aside from just boasting about riches. Everyone praised his strength for his verse for Lord Knows (albeit, it wasn’t his best at all or even a top 5 for him) and he could have at least done that here. I felt like I was more enticed by the beat and the lyrics were irrelevant – a shame.

Started From The Bottom came out at the beginning of 2013 (February to be exact), and I hated it. Absolutely hated it. For one thing, I knew for an absolute fact that it was going to be the phrase of the year, because literally (in Toronto, at least), people take a lot of what Drake says as biblical and even on the internet, those four words would flood social media sites all over the place (this happened with YOLO – ironically, also 4 words). Months later, a lot of clubs later, and a lot of concerts later, the song is still on repeat (not like anyone would have guessed that it wouldn’t be) and my sentiments descended from ‘hate’ to a mere ‘dislike’, but I can’t listen to this song on the album at all, period. I only hear it when I’m out and it’s played around me. It’s because of this song, that people who live in the suburbs and haven’t worked a job in their lives are saying ‘started from the bottom’ like they weren’t sleeping in a dayroom bigger than my apartment, but I digress. There are people who can proudly say that they’ve started from the pits of shit to rise to the sparkling clean top. Aside from ‘SFTB’ being one of the annoying lines of the song, here Drake gives birth to yet another line that would be heavily used throughout the year (and then some): ‘No New Friends’ – they even made a song about with DJ Khaled, Ross, and Wayne, making it I’m On One Part 2. Here’s the thing, I don’t care who you are, unless your tax bracket is equal to or greater than Drake’s, then by all means, no new friends for you. But if you’re working minimum wage and are still in school trying to start your career when it ends, sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re going to need some when it’s all said and done. The annoyance comes with the fact that people run everything that Drake does into the ground. Songs can’t even last an hour on the internet without people killing it already. But, that just goes to show you the type of influence that Drake holds over the people – you have to respect it to a certain degree.

The song itself describes Drake’s come up, and it wasn’t as glamorous as a lot of people make it out to be, simply because he lived in a prosperous part of Toronto, way back when. Living in your mother’s basement and using your uncle’s car (which he relates back to again on the album later on) seemed to be the issues that would pit him to the said ‘bottom’, but through talking to people who are adamant Drake fans, there was a point in time where he did have to support himself and his mother alone on his income because times got rough

Boys tell stories about the man
Say I never struggled, wasn’t hungry, yeah, I doubt it, nigga

There’s no questioning that Drake started from the bottom, and although he was more in a ‘better’ situation than many of us were (you know, having a job and access to a car), there are many (like myself at the time) who did question just what kind of struggle he had. Unless you knew all the fine details (which many didn’t if they weren’t dedicated fans), then you definitely had skepticism towards the track. Also, if you’ve listened to enough Meek Mill songs, you know that he’s been preaching about starting from the bottom, but once Drake says it, it’s as if he was the first person to ever say it – that’s what I find annoying.

When Drake dropped the tracklist for the album, Wu Tang Forever was one of the tracks that I was actually excited about. I was introduced to rap music by my uncles and all they played was Wu Tang (in particular, my uncle Mickey, so shout out to him). Kung Fu movies & Wu Tang Clan were all I knew when I went over to my grandparents’ house, so of course I had a personal connection to it. I was ready, I was amped, I was psyched, and then I heard the song…and thenI heard…the song. There were many things that I didn’t like about this song, but let’s go with the obvious that it was turned into a soft melody (yet again) that was for the Ladies and Simpletons. I was angry, I won’t lie, because the beat sounded so plain, and because I thought that it was going to be something great, all of my hype just got sucked out in a matter of moments. It isn’t the first time that Drake trolled everyone through song. On Take Care, when everyone first heard Practice and that it sampled Juvenile’s Back That Ass Up, everyone was shocked that it was used as a soft and melodic tune. Drake likes to be different, but this is definitely not what I signed up for without even signing for anything. For those who are fans of the softer Drake, this is right in your alley, especially on the 1st verse, but on the 2nd, he gets into a rap and that’s what I was looking forward to hearing (if you can’t tell already, I just want the guy to rap for the whole album).

Machine gun raps for all my niggas in the back
Stadium packed, just glad to see the city on the map
I just gave the city life, it ain’t about who did it first
It’s about who did it right, niggas looking like “Preach”

Now these lines resonate more with the citizens of Toronto who know about the history of Hip Hop coming out of the city, because there were a lot of acts who came out, had their little spurt of fame, and then didn’t amount to anything larger than that (also, shout out to the Raekwon line he used – Chef loves TDot). The mentality of the city when it comes to our local artists (which needs to change) is that we don’t show them any love until they blow up in the States and then that’s when the people take notice. My father was in the music industry for a period of time, and even he told me that when I was a kid sitting in studio sessions. That was almost 20 years ago, and we, the city of Toronto, still can’t get over the fact that we need to embrace our own while we have them to begin with. That’s why the people get labeled as hypebeasts, and that’s why we have such a shitty reputation as Hip Hop fans in our own city. Show love, people. Show love.

People like Mazin who was a best friend to me
Start to become a distant memory
Things change in that life and this life started lacking synergy
And fucking with me mentally, I think it’s meant to be

Here goes the struggle of what happens when you come up, and then as you grow, life grows, and often times you grow bigger than others. It happens, and that’s just how life operates. Mazin was a friend of Drake’s (also starred in Degrassi), and eventually things just happened – one blew up, one faded off; such is life. Now, what messed me up was that you had this great verse, but surrounding it was this serenade of love-mush, and the two had nothing to do with each other. That was what was annoying about the track. I liked the verse, but the song altogether I didn’t care for (although Jhene Aiko provided background vocals towards the end). It’s always these things about Drake songs since he’s been making albums that have you either loving it, hating it, or finding yourself annoyingly in the middle. There were a lot of things that I would have changed about this song (better use of a Wu Tang sample, for starters), but because Drake wants to be that hybrid artist not to be defined by just one genre, we’ll just have to deal with it…I still haven’t adjusted.

Just when you thought it was over, you could still hear samples of It’s Yourz on Own It, and that’s when the sexy love struck flare kicks in. With repeating phrases like “guess who’s it is” and “it’s yours”, it’s definitely a love making song for when you’re with your partner, and occasionally (depending on your kinky rating) there’s playful conversation that occurs, and thus Drake brings that to life on the track.

Next time we fuck, I don’t want to fuck, I want to make love
Next time we talk, I don’t want to just talk, I want to trust
Next time I stand tall I want to be standing for you
And next time I spend I want it all to be with you

Trust meets a sense of sensuality and sophistication as it’s been a major emphasis in his rhymes of this nature

It’s your worst nightmare, it’s my first night here
And this girl right here, who knows what she knows?
So I’m going through her phone if she go to the bathroom
And her purse right there, I don’t trust these hoes at all –
Lord Knows

The rap/sung 2nd verse was actually pretty good, but it wouldn’t go unnoticed since yet again, there’s another Drake line that has already seen its life sprung on the internet since the album leaked

Niggas talk more than bitches these days
Got you thinkin’ I’m different these days
Broken telephone for every single conversation
By the time it gets to you, shit switches these days

I like the line, because it makes a lot of sense. You say one thing, and then it gets so far interpreted, by the time it gets to the 10th person, it’s a completely different thing then what you said initially. There are reasons why he’s such a popular rapper, because of simplicity of his delivery. Kendrick Lamar on Blow My High said pretty much the same thing in 2011, but of course it didn’t blow up like Drake’s line has (less words, and easier to repeat).

Niggas like to gossip like bitches
Got me thinking you don’t like bitches

Own It is a sexy song, and definitely would get a lot of spins in the bedrooms and the backrooms of strip clubs (hell, I’d be surprised if there weren’t any dancers doing their routine to this right now). Is it a song for me? Absolutely not, but I’ll give credit where it’s due and give it to the fans of Singer Drake over rapper Drake that will appreciate this song.

If Started from the Bottom is the ‘rags to riches’ anthem, then Worst Behaviour must be the evil twin (much respect to Drake for keeping with the Canadian grammar, because everything looks better with a ‘U’ after the ‘O’). There was a lot of cussing, and there was a heavy emphasis on the beat that just made this one big honking scoop of beautiful musical ignorance. There are reasons why people love Future, 2 Chainz, French Montana, Gucci, etc. And that reason is because they bring hype, and let me tell you something, aside from probably HYFR Over, Drake really hasn’t had a hype track like this, and the craziest thing is that you don’t expect it because the distorted sound builds up and then you’re literally slapped in the face and your arms start to flex like they’ve never heard a thunderous beat before. DJ Dahi is a monster for this beat, and I felt like the song was a great blend of raw rap and ratchet, because for the first half of it, you just have one-liners and the repetition of words like ‘Muthafucka’ and ‘Remember’ over and over again. No more Mr. nice Drake, because he gets ignorant, and it’s good to see a switch up (better than the mushy stuff he puts out that I don’t care for), and it’s more of his bravado showing. The ad-libs of ‘Dun Know’ brings that Toronto vibe that I greatly appreciate wholeheartedly (it sounds like ‘Turn Up’, but I promise you, it’s not). The beginning of the 2nd verse pays homage to the beginning of Mase’s verse on Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems and there goes Drake talking about his money again

Who’s hot, who not
Tell me who rock, who sell out in stores
You tell me who flop, who copped the new drop
Whose jewels got rocks,
Who else making rap albums doing numbers like its pop

But at the same time he briefly sheds light on his humble beginnings like driving out to Scarborough (bom bom) to film Degrassi.

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

Drake really is in a position where he can say what he wants and whatever the outcome is, he’ll still be in a top position, unless some others come gunning for his top spot. This is definitely my favourite song on the album thus far, and being that it’s the 6th song on the album and it’s the only one so far that I enjoyed, then I was really hoping that for the latter half of the album, it would be all good. Name drop count: 2 – Serena Williams (remember, they were a thing and she was kinda-sorta-really-not-really the reason why Drake and Common were beefing for a bit).

Another track from the list that I was hyped to see was From Time, and I immediately said that I was going to buy the album just for the title, because that’s Toronto slang. ‘From Time’ is something that we say to add on emphasis that we’ve known something or someone for a long time, but ‘from time’ just sounds better. Example:

“Dawg, you know Brittany from Vern? You know she’s bout it eh?”
“Dawg, mandem been on her from time, how you mean, fam?”

Automatically, without even hearing the song, I knew that I would love it because of the title, and also because the future wife, Jhene Aiko, is featured on it as well (we spoke to each other, we’re married in my head, and you can’t tell me different). But, bringing myself back to reality, I knew that I had to listen to the song, and when I finally did, I was happy to hear it. Jhene Aiko has really blown up since her initial mixtape sailing soul(s) dropped and led her to getting signed by Def Jam under the wing of No I.D. What a lot of people overlook is that she writes all of her own songs, and aside from the traditional R&B ballads, so brings lyricism to her artwork, which is something that both men and women alike can relate to (she really has a lot of male fans, I included). It’s no coincidence that the one line that has men and women (majority women) singing is ‘I love me, I love me enough for the both of us’. It wasn’t anything major, but her presence on the track gave it perspective like it was a point of reflection for both Jhene and Drake, since they both have their relationship issues which inspire their music (if they start dating, I’ll be pissed).

I want to take it deeper than money, pussy, vacation
And influence a generation that’s lacking in patience
I’ve been dealing with my dad, speaking a lack of patience
Just me and my old man getting back to basics
We’ve been talking ’bout the future and time that we wasted
When he put that bottle down, girl that nigga’s amazing

These lines from the first verse hit me because as someone who came from a single parent household being raised by a single mother, you miss that valuable bonding time with your father. It’s a scenario that’s played over and over again in rap, but Drake has never really opened up about his father and the fact that they’re ‘getting back to basics’ and making up for lost time, just shows that it’s never too late to solidify what appeared to be lost in the first place. Myself, I’m still trying to get close with my old man, and it has its bumps, but it’s better than nothing. The point of view that Drake is rhyming from is what he’s known for, yet again – the flames of past love, and it is almost a mirror image of Look What You’ve Done, where he was name dropping a bunch of girls from his little black book, and here is no different. Naming girls like Porche, Bria (possibly the inspiration behind Bria’s Interlude), and the girl that he thought was the one, Courtney. Honestly, if he’s dated enough women that he can possibly make 10 albums out of, then that’s simply incredible and also crazy because this guy just can’t seem to keep a girl to save his life; but he makes music for the hurt (like Joe Budden’s Mood Muzik series). His desire to want them back is whiny or bitchy like in Take Care, so I salute him for that much, but at the same time, how many more songs are going to be about the exes that didn’t come to be the ones? The repetitive nature gets dull and eyes can only glaze over so much. The ending of the song brings along a guy named Baka and then this happens:

Been a East Side ting. Scarborough ting from time, G, been have up di ting dem from time, G. So I don’t know what’s wrong with these little wastemen out here eh? Y’all need to know yourself.”

Now, given the fact that I lived in Scarborough for 16 years, and I still rep it as if I still live there (my family and childhood friends are there, and I’m not far from the Scarborough border), I was ecstatic when I heard this said. The loud, brash, and annoyance came out in full swing as I was yelling out “DUN KNOW! SCARBOROUGH TING FROM TIME, YUHZEEIT DAWG! YOU ALREADY KNOW SCARBOROUGH AH DI REALEST FROM TIME” and so on and so on. Scarborough has an identity onto its own that a lot of people either love or hate – there’s no in-between. Always being seen as the outcast and the ‘black cloud’ looming of the city of Toronto, the people of Scarborough always have large chips on their shoulders because they’re automatically judged based on where they’re from. And that’s not just one block, it’s the whole region. Now, prior to Toronto’s 1998 Amalgamation (combining the areas of: Scarborough, York, East York, Old Toronto, Etobicoke, and North York together as one ‘Megacity’), Scarborough was its own entity; I lived there when it on its own, and everyone who lives there still writes ‘Scarborough’ on their postage mail, and the media (although they’re supposed to refer it as the ‘East End’), they still say Scarborough. East Side, Scarbz, The Borough, whatever you’d like to call it – is always home, and the fact that it got hailed up on a Drake album is huge (it wouldn’t be the last time, either).

Now, with all of the retro sounding songs being the hype of this summer (Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky), leave it up to Drake to come out with a 80s styled track that has that lounge music feel to it. Hold on We’re Going Home is a smooth, toe tapping song that makes you feel all nice inside. There’s romanticism about it that you can embrace, and you don’t really have to be in a relationship or even desire someone at the time of listening to this. Put on your best dancing shoes and go to work (think of R. Kelly’s Step In The Name of Love and go from there). Drake loves to try and convince the girls who appear bad that are doing bad, that they are actually good and they don’t have to continue to be in the situations that they’re in.

Cause you’re a good girl and you know it
You act so different around me
Cause you’re a good girl and you know it
I know exactly who you could be

Is it wrong that when I read these lyrics, the Three Six Mafia song, Don’t Save Her, starts playing in my head? No? Alright good, because I didn’t think that was weird at all. This is another song that I don’t pay any particular mind to, but it’s still a nice song, lovely actually. Majid Jordan is the newest signee to OVO, so it’s good that Drake gave some shine to the new roster addition like how he did for The Weeknd on Take Care (The Ride is still one of his best songs on that album).

Connect had people thinking that it was like another version of the greatness that was and still is November 18th. The reason being is because of the Southern chopped and screwed influence that this song has (remember he did call himself an Underground King, and Bun B did say he was certified Trill, so there’s that). November 18th is one of my favourite songs ever, and to say that this track comes close, I would say that’s a stretch because it’s more laid back and it didn’t get me like ‘18th’ did. A term used for swerving your car side to side is ‘Swanging’, which Drake says repeatedly on the track (Stalley has a track with Scarface about the whole tradition), and it’s really nothing that he haven’t heard before, regarding just what he talks about. At this point, I was just bored with it, but the highlight of the track comes at the 3rd verse.

I remember when my schedule was as flexible as she is
She call and tell me be here before the sun up
I be dressed before we hung up
I take Eglinton to 401 east
And exit at Markham road and the East end
Where all the pretty girls are sleeping

Another Scarborough shout out, and it’s about time that we got our good look. I lived like 5 minutes (driving) from Markham and Lawrence, my home school was Cedarbrae (didn’t go there), and Cedarbrae Mall was the stomping grounds (Shoutout to Greenbrae & 5 Deuce). Basically, I was always over there, and you’re damn right the East end has pretty girls, shoot. Scarborough has been getting a lot of love on the album, and it’s almost propelled me to like Drake like how I used to, but it’s the music itself that it’s compelling me to do so, unfortunately. It’s like he’s been trying to take care of finding love (looking for the real her), and it’s like he’s doing it wrong. The ballads of the past love reminiscing gets tiresome, and honestly, I just want to hear some rapping, quite frankly.

Now, in the opening paragraph (if you’ve been reading this far, then I thank you), at the end of it, I mentioned Kendrick Lamar’s Control verse (aptly dubbed ‘The Verse’) and the fact that since then it was ridden with weak comebacks (Joell Ortiz & Joe Budden had good ones), and no one he named (except Meek Mill) laid down responses. The best response (as I said before) would to just put out better music. Well, so far the music is good, but I wouldn’t say great. On the opening verse of The Language, Drake did the surprising thing and responded (of course subliminally, but still obvious) to Kendrick:

I don’t know why they been lying but yo shit is not that inspiring
Bank account statements just look like I’m ready for early retirement
Fuck any nigga that’s talkin’ that shit just to get a reaction
Fuck going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum
I am the kid with the motor mouth
I am the one that you should worry about
I don’t know who you’re referring to, who is this nigga you heard about?
Someone just talking that bullshit, someone just gave you the run-around
Niggas downplaying the money but that’s what you do when the money down

In terms of a diss response, this is by far his weakest, when it should have been his strongest. 9AM in Dallas had a wicked response to Big Page, 5AM in Toronto had a shot to The Weeknd, and even his verse on Stay Schemin’ had shots to Common and (possibly) Ludacris. It’s like online beef, when someone gets called out, the other tries to play it ‘nicely’ by taking the higher road and dismissing the shot by talking about how much money they have or how much they’re better than you. That’s weak to me; then he goes into his hook like

Jealousy in the air tonight, I could tell
I will never understand that but oh well
Been ready, it’s real, I don’t know about you
She just want to smoke and fuck, I said “Girl, that’s all that we do”

Just when you thought that there would be some lyrical warfare, not only did he sing the hook, he used the same flow he used on his widely popular Versace verse to throw the diss back. I say ‘BOOOOOOOOOO’ in my best Riley Freeman impersonation, because it was just one of those things where you’re like “Seriously, Drake? Wa gwan?” At least, that’s how I felt about it. The whole song is basically how he’s going to use his money to shut people up, and that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about going toe to toe with the foe in order to assert yourself as the dominant figure. I was waiting for something to go down, because I know what Drake is capable of, but nope, I was foiled yet again, like Lucy pulling away the football from Charlie Brown – trolled. Then Birdman comes in at the end of the track like he did for We’ll Be Fine (another one of the better tracks from Take Care), and it was the same ol random Birdman doing what he does best – stunt 101 (word to G Unit).

I have nothing good to say about 305 to my City aside from the beat, because it was just a trap beat with nothing doing aside from that. You know what this album is missing? T-Minus. It gives Drake an opportunity to work with other producers to create a different sound, but this album was definitely missing that touch that T provided. The beat was dope, and I can imagine that it knocks in the club, but there was nothing that would keep me from skipping over (let me get the instrumental though).

The first time I heard Too Much is when Drake was on Jimmy Fallon, but before that happened and I saw the track list, I honestly thought that this would have a sample of the song of the same name by Toronto’s own Ghetto Concept. That would really bring it home as far as being the Toronto sound that was emphasized throughout the album. The content may not have done anything for me, but the sound that has been reverberated was impressive and then some. No Ghetto Concept, but remaining with the concept of reflection and contemplation, Drake came through with another good one (this is what happens when he decides to actually rap).

I’ve been stackin’ up like I’m fund-raisin’
Most people in my position get complacent
Come places with star girls, end up on them front pages
I’m quiet but I just ride with it
Moment I stop havin’ fun with it, I’ll be done with it

It’s true that when a lot of people get at the top, it’s as if they stop working as hard from when they got there, and eventually they see their demise roll down in front of their eyes. Drake wants to be at the top and continue to ascend, which he has the capability of doing, but if he doesn’t do anything different subject wise, then the best of luck to him. The set of bars here reminded me of an interview of Barry Sanders (I watch NFL Network a lot) and the reason why he retired. He said that his love of the game went away, and if he was only going to be in it because of the chase for the rushing record, being in the game would diminish the purpose of playing it in the first place (I paraphrased a bit). That’s how everyone should think, in my eyes. Having a passion for something (in Drake’s case, the music) is something that should be fun to do, not because you’re doing it just to do it. I experienced a feeling like this, myself, and it took a good conversation with a friend to really put me into perspective about just how important having love for your art is, because if you’re not doing it for the love anymore, then why do it? There’s no substance, and there’s no energy behind it that makes it memorable. Reminiscing on his time in Houston and bringing it back to his comeuppance having meaningful conversations with his uncle, it hits on a personal level that has a lot of worries, self-doubt, but steady motivation to do better as an artist.

Back rub from my main thing, I’ve been stressed out
Talkin’ to her like back then they didn’t want me, I’m blessed now
Talkin’ to her like this drop, bet a million copies get pressed out
She tell me, “Take a deep breath, you’re too worried about bein’ the best out”

Look, I did not sign up for this
My uncle used to have all these things on his bucket list
And now he’s actin’ like “Oh well, this is life, I guess” “Nah, fuck that shit
Listen man, you can still do what you wanna do, you gotta trust that shit”
Heard once that in dire times when you need a sign, that’s when they appear
Guess since my text message didn’t resonate, I’ll just say it here

I like this track a lot, because it reminded me of Fear and just how deep he got into explaining his life, his family troubles due to his raise of fame and fortune, and it wasn’t about some damn girl (although one is mentioned, but as a support system, not a source of agony and sorrow).

To wrap up the album, the only ‘rap feature’ on the project was Jay Z (no dash still seems weird), and it would mark their 3rd overall collaboration since Drake started making albums (Light Up & Off That being the previous 2). Pound Cake was definitely going to make people pay attention, because they saw it as a ‘passing of the torch’, with one legend handing it off to what would be presumed as a new one (but we’ll let time tell the tale). I didn’t see it as that, I just saw it as a Drake track with a Jay Z feature, but Drake definitely did it justice, and the reunion of Drake & Boi-1da was long overdue.

Overly focused, it’s far from the time to rest now
Debates growin’ ’bout who they think is the best now
Took a while, got the jokers out of the deck now
Holdin’ all the cards and niggas wanna play chess now

I find it ironic that he brings up debates about who’s the best, and I wrote a piece about that. There were discussions about who’s the best rapper when Take Care came about, and as for who’s the best right now, it’s really a tossup, but as to who’s the most successful (of the newer batch), you can’t deny that it’s Drake right now, although he’s not Teflon (untouchable). The spirit of competition was lost for a bit, but has reignited the fire in the belly a bit, and that’s all Hip Hop fans that have been Hip Hop fans for years ever wanted in the first place. Drake has the confidence to call himself the best out, as he should, because if you’re in the rap game and you’re not trying to be the best, then why rap? If you’re not hungry enough to ensure that your rivals can’t match you whim for whim, then why rap? They’re musical athletes, and should treat it as such. He also makes note of this on a wicked verse for Paris Morton Music 2. Let me not forget the fact that Jay Z is on this song. Having released another multi-platinum album in Magna Carta Holy Grail, a lot of people said that it wasn’t lyrically strong, and it lacked substance for a Jay Z album (I’ll you be the judge), but on this verse, he still showed off as to why he’s still a great one (although initially, I didn’t think much of it at all). The combination of verses deals with his ties to Roc-A-Fella and how he was responsible for making people rich, and also addressing his tumultuous relationship with Beanie Siegel (currently in prison).

I’m just gettin’ started, oh yeah we got it bitch
I’ve done made more millionaires than the lotto did
Dame made millions, Bigg made millions
Ye made millions, Just made millions
Lyor made millions, Cam made millions
Beans tell you if he wasn’t in his feelings

That was pretty much the only memorable thing that Jay brought to the table as far as the verses go. Everything else was in the alley of MCHG luxury rap.

Drake had bright spots on this album, and the fact that he wants to be distinctive and be his own man, I have to show him respect for that 100%. Production wise, this is yet another album that shines brighter than the lyrics said over them, but what we got a glimpse of, was the fire that people expected him to come out with. I just wish that there were more of those tracks than the softer songs. If you were a fan of Take Care as a whole, there will be things you like and don’t like about the album, because there’s significantly better rapping and production, but still the singing side of him that shows up. The first time I listened to this album, I was pretty bored, and listening to it time after time, over and over, some songs got better, but it never got to a point where I was like “yes, I love this.” It’s his best album, and there’s no doubting that (no YMCMB features aside from a Birdman track outro doesn’t count), but when you carry over the same topics from beforehand and the only thing progressing is the sound and songwriting, then what do you have to offer that you haven’t already? It’s only his 3rd album, but I’m sure it’ll standout more than the rest, and obviously he’ll sell; that’s not even up for debate. The debate over where this album lies in the history of Hip Hop is one that will take a some time to discuss, so for the moment, enjoy the music. I’m still undecided as to if I should buy this or not, because I don’t see myself listening to it repetitively as often as many others will – at least not the album in full. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review

That’s My Word & It STiXX

4 thoughts on “Drake – Nothing Was the Same – The STiXXclusive Review

  1. Enjoyed the review

    Overall, I’m a TO nigga and a proud representative of “Hater City” so i approached the album with a negative mindstate and expected disappointment… needless to say i wasn’t.

    I thought the album was great, front 2 back, and reps our city to the fullest.
    I think people get too caught up in Drake being too emotional but if you been through an adult relationship you can relate.

    but on that same WU-Tang Forever track he goes in on some real nigga shit

    “Open cases on me for a half a million each
    I find peace knowin’ that it’s harder in the streets, I know
    Luckily I didn’t have to grow there
    I would only go there cause niggas that I know there
    I don’t know what’s gettin’ into me
    I just like the rush when you see your enemy somewhere in the club
    And you realize he just not in a position to reciprocate your energy
    You ain’t ever worried cause he’s not who he pretends to be”

    This album is evolution man, those who want his old shit should go buy his old shit lol

    Also, 305 to my City’s gonna b the strip club anthem. You’ll see

    Keep doin your thing tho i enjoy your blog

    Bless

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