Confession time: I think Drake makes really great music. I think he gets lumped into a group with other mainstream hip-hop artists, mostly due to his affiliation with amateur skateboarder rapper Lil Wayne, but that is simply not fair. Drake is head and shoulders above nearly all mainstream hip-hop artists. His music is creative. It evokes emotion. It’s intriguing and catchy. His music can be boisterous and fun, and it can be dark and somber. Whatever the case may be, Drake is a real musician, and any new music from him is a welcome treat. And now that we are just over a month away from the release of Nothing Was the Same, the follow up to 2011’s marvelous Take Care, anticipation levels are sky high.
With the second single, “All Me,” Drake is finding the middle ground with his music. The track is equal parts radio-friendly banger and dark pop song. The beat is spacey and eerie, and its simplicity allows for the song to breathe a bit and not become cluttered. The way the beat changes for Drake’s outro verse is reminiscent of some of the more grandiose musicality on Take Care, such as “Marvin’s Room” and “Look What You’ve Done,” which is a very positive sign. If the thundering bells and ominous chanting are at all representative of the production style that will be featured on Nothing Was the Same, then we could be looking at a very atmospheric, minimalistic record.
The hook that Drake provides is very basic in its nature, but does a respectable job of staying out of the way and letting the rapping shine through. While it is repetitive and dwells on much of the same boastful lyrical content as “Started From the Bottom,” it gets the job done. After the hook, things are led off with a verse from the hair-weave killa himself, 2 Chainz. He must be the busiest man in hip-hop – it seems that he has been on every song ever in the last two years – but he shows no signs of fatigue. He always brings a contagious energy to any track he’s on, and he genuinely seems to be enjoying himself when he raps. A joy that, in turn, spreads to the listener. Also, he nonchalantly drops the line, “My dick so hard it make the metal detector go off,” proving once again that 2 Chainz is the greatest.
Drake’s verse follows and it shows his furthered growth as an MC. He has come a long way from his hashtag rap ways, and his flow here is outstanding. He comes out aggressive and his bravado shines bright throughout. As someone who prefers the singing, emo Drake, I must say that this might be the strongest his rap game has been in quite a while.
The last guest on the track is Big Sean. I’m not sure that I understand the influx of Big Sean features on tracks like this, mostly because he is more often than not the weakest link in otherwise great songs (read: “Mercy”). He has never truly impressed me with a verse thus far, but he turns in a very solid effort here that holds its own very well. His chaotic style of rapping in and out of the beat fits tremendously and adds an extra element of anarchic frenzy to the song that is quite refreshing. So congratulations Big Sean, you managed to not ruin a song I like. I guess there is a first time for everything.
My expectations for Nothing Was the Same are exceptionally high. If “All Me” is a gauge, the record should live up to those lofty expectations. I have no doubt that the record will have an adequate variance of rap and r&b songs, so if this indicative of the more lively rap side of things, I believe that he is on the right track. “All Me” shows that Drake is finally fuckin here.