By Ian Mergelas
What else is there to say about Drake? For the past few years he has ambitiously confirmed his place as a giant in the music industry, and he has been consistently acclaimed as one of the masters of the hip-hop genre. While some critics think that his most recent albums rank as some of his best, they do not serve as a good starting point for people new to his music. While often overshadowed by his recent work, the 2011 album Take Care is an example of this starting point, and is the artistic achievement that established Drake as one of most lyrical, enigmatic, and introspective rap artists in the 21st century.
The music world had already begun to take notice of Drake with the 2010 release Thank Me Later, Drake’s debut major-label album. It was acclaimed for both its music and its lyrics, which established Drake as one of the more complex and unique figures in modern rap. Take Care takes all of the hallmarks of what made Thank Me Later such a good album and blows them up to larger-than-life proportions. The atmospheric, jazzy interludes that hide underneath Drakes’ voice, while often dark and moody, display a musicality rarely seen in modern hip-hop. And the music’s other, often overlooked, strength is the way that it complements and supports the lyrics. Like any modern rap album, the lyrics on Take Care are standards of the genre, lyrics about wealth and prowess, or power and fame. But across all eighteen songs on the close to hour-and-a-half release, there are lyrics about subjects scarcely touched upon in the world of rap. Rare is it that a rapper would let loose his feelings of loneliness, heartache or the emptiness of fame. To top it off, Drake’s delivery is incredible. He displays a confidence and strength characteristic of any experienced rapper, and solidifies his niche in the hip-hop world by showcasing his ability to seamlessly transition between rapping and singing.
Take Care was promoted with the release of eight singles, all of which made the Billboard Top 200. It won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, and was certified as a double platinum album in 2013 (having sold over 2 million copies world-wide). Take Care is seen by many as Drake’s magnum opus, and should serve as his longest lasting legacy.