Drake has arguably been the biggest rapper in the game since he came up in 2008. His first tapes Room For Improvement and Comeback season weren’t exactly critically acclaimed or popular but it’s some of the best smoothest lyrics you can find. City is Mine, Come Winter we’re both good songs off of Room For Improvement but then when Comeback Season dropped it seemed like every track he touched was fire Closer ft Adreena Miller is still a song I play regularly today, the flow mixed with the keys just works perfectly. “I got too many records and not enough shows, too many rappers and not enough…. you can fill the blank in, not trying to be the best just tryna place in the ranking.” Then there was Give Ya with Trey Songz, a perfect mellow booty call song. Other hits like Man Of the Year feat Lil Wayne and Don’t You Have a Man, Last Hope are still tracks with great lyrics that I listen to periodically today.
So Far Gone
Then came the hit maker. So. Far. Gone. Those three words would change Drakes life forever. The mega hits like Best I ever Had and Successful are classics. Then there was the Rnb side of Drake with Brand New and Little Bit with Lyke Li. Staples for anyone’s late night playlist back then. This mixtape wasn’t only great because of Drake, it was great because it also I introduced us to Noah 40 Shebib. 40 as Drake calls him is the producer of many of the great songs drake has been known for as well as Lil Wayne’s Single and Alicia Keys Un-thinkable. His soft, ambient melodies have become a defining quality of Drakes music. Other hits released roughly the same time as this album include Congratulations, Drake rapping over a Coldplay track masterfully, Ignant Shit, which might be one of his best tracks ever and obviously Forever which made him famous almost ironically because it is definitely not his best work.
Thank Me Later
Thank Me Later was an interesting album, commercially successful, but critics speculated this was far from Drakes ceiling. Around the time this album dropped, a remix to Rick Ross’s Aston Martin Music came out by Drake this is one of my favorite verses by him in any song. Thank Me Later had some bangers, Miss Me with Lil Wayne is a classic Drake Wayne hit. Other great songs from the album are Find Your Love, Over, Thank Me Now and Karaoke. This album was definitely an above average hip hop album, but it seems like Paris Morton Music And 9 Am Freestyle From Dallas trump pretty much any song on this album.
Take Care is where Drake really ascended to greatness. Beautifully mastered tracks and great features from The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Andre 3000 and Obviously Lil Wayne. He strayed away from the Hip Hop Pop mixture from Thank Me Later. Marvin’s Room and Look What You’ve Done bring me back to the soulful So Far Gone days. He also rips off some really good verses on Lord Knows with Rick Ross and again on Underground Kings. Every song on this album is playable besides Motto just because it what every white girl or guy who likes country music would play at a party for it seemed like 2 years straight. But this where Drake truly comes into form. His versatility to switch up flows and tones and even the genre of a song are unparalleled. Other bangers he released around the time of the album were Club Paradise, Hands with Waka Flaka and Dreams Money Can Buy.
Nothing Was The Same
For real, after this nothing was the same. This album started off with Tuscan Leather, where he changes flows and beats 3 times and moves seamlessly through them, most of the beats on the song are just samples of a woman singing but still he makes it work beautifully. Next track is Furthest Thing and after that like crack you are hooked. Song after song of straight fire, Started From The Bottom his big single preceding the album is arguably one of the worst songs on the album and it’s still great. The best song off the album is Pound Cake/ Paris Morton 2 which features Jay Z talking about the many people who have gotten rich off of his career. But honestly check out any song on this album and you won’t be sorry.
WATTBA/ If You’re Reading This
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was Drake Hitting Stride, Know Yourself seemed like the anthem of that album. His verses on most of this songs are almost confrontational. It’s him throwing shade on the haters saying his music is too soft with too much singing. Energy, Madonna, 6God were all bangers. There is controversy over if someone ghost wrote all these songs but that’s a debate for another day. 6pm in New York is another installment of his off the cuff “freestyles” from various cities. Great “mixtape”( even though you sold it). Then it happened, up and coming rapper Future and Drake collaborated on What a Time To Be Alive and it may have changed rap forever. Their contrasting sounds and styles meshed perfectly, every track was better than the last. These two albums solidified Drake as more than just an RnB and Hip Hop artists. He arrived as a rapper , after putting out two consecutive albums with minimal singing and shook off his soft tagged that had followed since the So Far Gone days.
Views is Drakes most complete album, he checks all of the different genre boxes but still puts out really captivating stuff. Whether it’s the verse on Weston Road Flows or the mainstream pop vibe on Controlla or One Dance or his rnb vibe on Too Good with Rihanna, the album was just fun for every type of Drake fan. Hot Line Bling was the single for this album and it blew up right away, deservingly so. But I still think the video is really dumb.
More Life was a similar album to Views where Drake tried to check all the boxes again. He threw in some interesting features including some guy names Giggs. Not a huge fan to be honest of that guys verse but overall the album is really good. Just not particularly different from past albums and it seems like Passionfruit and Blem were just new versions of Controlla and One Dance. Still really good album with too many hits to name but my favorites are Jorja’s Interlude and Do Not Disturb.
Drake has been featured on a lot of tracks, and some of them are among his best work. Stay Scheming, I’m On One And Versace were all monster hits. We Made It with Soulja Boy with Kenny Powers voice in the background is definitely an underrated song especially considering how great Drakes verses are. PartyNextDoor’s track Over Here features an amazing Drake verse a lot of people probably haven’t heard. Honestly you can’t go wrong with most of his tracks.
From 2008 to now we have seen Drakes meteoric rise and his ability to change not only his genre but change Hip Hop has been sensational to follow. He went from a catchy rnb rapper to someone who can go toe to toe with any great lyricist in the world. In the beginning we wondered if he would survive in the shade of his mentor lil Wayne but he has left no doubt that his versatility have made him even more of a generational artist than Lil Wayne ever was. This 10 year run of dominance puts him right up there with all the greats. He went from a good artist with a big following to the biggest rapper in the game, and he’s still going! After hearing Gods Plan, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for his next album. One thing is for certain, all eyes will be on him.