Review: Drake – Thank Me Later

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I haven’t seen so much anticipation for an album by a freshman hip-hop artist since Eminem and his major label debut album, The Slim Shady LP. Drake, a Canadian artist/actor who before his music career was known as the kid in the wheelchair in Degrassi, has exploded in the hip-hop world and in the music industry in general as the breakout artist of the year. His mixtape, So Far Gone, ended up in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, which was the first time I saw a mixtape end up in the top 10.

Hip-hop really exploded during the 2000s, with artists like Eminem, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z releasing hit songs during the early part of the last decade. Then came southern hip-hop in the middle of the decade. After that, pop music had a resurgence in popularity at the end of the decade, with new artists like Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, and Katy Perry all reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Many were predicting that Drake would bring back the hip-hop genre to the top of the charts, but did he deliver in his debut album? Well, sort of.

He didn’t single-handedly bring back hip-hop to the top, but he sure did help. Thank Me Later does have some catchy songs and some others that you will love after hearing them for a while, but it’s not a game-changer.

Don’t get me wrong, the album was good, very good. At times, the music seemed therapeutic, with songs like Karaoke having a beat, but being very subtle as well. He’s also made very good decisions as far as which singles to release, with Over and Find Your Love doing very well on the charts.

Speaking of Karaoke, if everything he raps are real life experiences for him, he’s had some big problems. In Karaoke, he said, “Plus this woman that I messed with unprotected, texted her she said she would have kept it” implying that he’s gotten a woman pregnant and the baby was aborted.

The album is very much like a biography, giving details on his mothers occupation as a florist and how his father left them and divorced his mother at a young age. Another interesting thing on the album is that instead of talking bad about women or calling them names, Drake has a more loving point of view towards rapping about women. He talks about his past relationships and how he deals with the fans that always profess their love to him, saying that “it comes with the fame.”

The album has a great ensemble of featured artists on the album like T.I, Swizz Beatz, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, and of course, Lil’ Wayne, who helped launch Drake’s music career.

Thank Me Later shifted almost 450,000 copies in it’s first week, which is the highest I’ve ever seen for a new artist in a long time. He ended up being number 1 for just a single week since Eminem’s latest album, Recovery, took the top spot and sold 741,000 copies during it’s first week, and stayed at #1 for 5 straight weeks. His second single from the album, Love the Way You Lie, has been #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 straight weeks now. So far, Drake hasn’t had a #1 single on the chart.

Overall the album is very good and very well written, but it’s no Eminem. No rap album is better than any of Eminem’s albums. So being better than him is just impossible at this point, but Drake is pretty high up there in top hip-hop artists right now. For a debut album, this is a great start, and I do think that he will end up becoming one of hip-hop’s best in his next album.

Grade: A-

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