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GlobalGrind has teamed up with our dear friends at RapGenius for the best album reviews any hip-hop head could ask for. 

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Bringing you the most honest and critical reviews without bias or favoritism, GlobalGrind and RapGenius present to you GENIUS REVIEWS!

Drake’s highly anticipated album Take Care was leaked almost 10 days ago, and the response has been overwhelming positive. 

If you haven’t copped Drake’s new album Take Care, make sure you do so, but in the meantime check out the GENIUS REVIEW below!

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Sophomore albums have frequently been known as the projects with the most power to either make or break artists, and in a transparent atmosphere where almost everyone is a critic waiting to make one’s flaws viral, the pressure is more intense than ever.

Despite the stress that Drake may feel regarding Take Care‘s release, he’s probably more prepared than any rapper could be for sophomoric success or failure due to the fact that he has no issues with transparency and has always been known to pour out his personal life and struggles onto a track.  

Although this has given him an enormous fan base with the ladies, it has also caused him some grief from his male listeners and peers in the rap game.  Drake has often been criticized for coming off as too soft and feminine, jokingly portrayed as the “Chris Bosh” of Hip Hop.

 However, on the lead single “Headlines,” Drake seems to have taken a turn with more combative, tough guy lines like:

You know good and well that you don’t want a problem like that, you gon’ make someone around me catch a body like that. Nooo, don’t do it. Please don’t do it…

Although the song is catchy and energetic, many have trouble believing the authenticity of lines like these, especially given the music video that features him and his entourage in sweaters with a giant owl on them.

Thus, the release of Drake’s Take Care will answer two fundamental questions crucial for determining the longevity of his career.  One, has Drake suddenly morphed into a gangster all of a sudden for this album, or will he stick to being his emotional, sensitive, and intuitive self?  Two, what type of sound will Drake stick with on Take Care? Will he revert back to his more indie style in So Far Gone or create an album filled with club hits like Thank Me Later?

To discover the answer to these questions, I considered the following factors: balance, content, sequencing, production and features.

The first thing I did will listening to Take Care was separate each song into two categories: soft and hard, which I’ve respectively named “Unicorns” and “Assassins”.  Overall, the Unicorns: Assassins ratio was 9:8, which is almost even. Of the seventeen tracks that are now available, the softest, most fresh out of the dryer songs were “Marvin’s Room,” Take Care,”and “Good Ones Go.” The standout hard-hitting tracks were “Under Ground Kings” and “Lord Knows,” and “The Ride.”

As far as content is concerned, Drake isn’t reinventing the wheel. He’s still rapping and singing about lost love, the struggles of being in the spotlight, strippers, daddy issues, etc.  

What’s a little different here is that Drake is taking more time to address all of the rappers and haters who have something to say.  Of course he doesn’t use any names, but he definitely made a statement on “Lord Knows” featuring Rick Ross when he said:

I’m hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryna push me
I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy
Know that I don’t make music for niggas who don’t get pussy
So those are the ones I count on to diss me or overlook me

The order of the tracks on an album is arguably more important than the tracks themselves when judging the overall opinion of the project.  Take Care is very unique in that Drake takes listeners through an emotional rollercoaster of sorts, going back and forth between deep, personal tracks and the bass-thumping tracks suited best for parties.

The album begins with “Over My Dead Body,” a signature track that makes a statement asserting that he’s the best in the game, and then transitions into “Shot For Me,” which seems like a present day version of his 2007 song “Replacement Girl.”

After shouting out his exes, he turns to the hit single “Headlines” and takes us through “Crew Love” a song dedicated to his entourage who he thanks for always having his back.  Next, he and Rihanna create a tropical, dance vibe that will undoubtedly be played at gay clubs everywhere (no shade, just truth).

After Drake drunk-dials his ex on the radio favorite “Marvin’s Room,” Kendrick Lamar blesses the album with an incredible verse about his relationship with Drizzy.

This leads into the more upbeat section of the album, which includes “Under Ground Kings,” “Make Me Proud” with Nicki Minaj, and “Lord Knows.”

Just when I thought it was time to get amped and start slapping off snapbacks, he slowed it down again with “Cameras,” which ironically has a melody like Future’s “Tony Montana.”  

The ballads and love songs continue up until the fifteenth track, “Look What You’ve Done,” takes a moment to thank the women in his family that made him the man he is today.  Practice, perhaps the most surprising song on the album, is a clever cover of Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up,” which is sure to set clubs ablaze across the country.

Drake closes out Take Care perfectly with the clever and personal lyrics that brought him from the underground to a more mainstream audience on “The Ride.”  Consider it a sequel to “Dreams Money Can Buy.”

The sequencing of Take Care seems like it was carefully crafted to ensure that the listener doesn’t get accustomed to one type of sound from Drake for too long.  After all, Drake says himself on “Lord Knows” that he hasn’t figured himself out yet:

I’m a descendent of either Marley or Hendrix

I haven’t figured it out cause my story is far from finished 

The production and features on Take Care are definitely top notch.  Drake collaborated with familiar names like Noah “40” Shebib, Boi-1da, and T-Minus, who are responsible for the majority of the album.

 Also present, is the incredible production of Just Blaze on “Lord Knows,” and a solid beat on “Look What You’ve Done” from Surf Club representer Chase N. Ca$he.

Take Care boasts features from Rihanna, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder, Lil Wayne, Andre 3000 and Birdman.  Of these appearances, the most critical on the album were The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, who Drake has saluted as the future in music.  Drake has fully embraced the movement created by The Weeknd, and was wise to use the fellow Toronto talent on four of the tracks to further develop his R&B side.  Kendrick Lamar has proven to be the top contender for the throne, so it is a very smart move on Drake’s part to send the message that he’s got the Compton beast on his side.  

 Drake recently confirmed that he and Rick Ross are going to releasing a joint mixtape called Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once), so “Lord Knows” is the perfect introduction to their future collaborations.  The feature from Rihanna seems a little forced and probably more appropriate for her upcoming album, but the verse from Andre 3000 makes up for that. 

As expected, Drake gives top priority to his mentor Lil Wayne and his dream woman Nicki Minaj to further strengthen the unity within his Young Money family.

After listening to the entire album, it’s safe to say that Take Care won’t lead to a sophomore slump.  He finds a way to maintain his authenticity by balancing out the expected melodic and more sensitive songs with more assertive tracks and by having a solid production and writing team behind him. 

At the end of the day, Chris Bosh is still paid.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

~ Jaleesa Ledbetter

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