Drake


(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Thank Me Later (2010), 4/10
Take Care (2011), 5/10
Nothing Was the Same (2013), 5/10
If Youíre Reading This Itís Too Late (2015), 5/10
Views (2016), 4.5/10
More Life (2017), 4/10
Scorpion (2018), 4/10
Certified Lover Boy (2021), 5/10
Honestly Nevermind (2022), 4/10
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Toronto's actor and rapper Drake (Aubrey Graham), a member of Lil Wayne's crew, became a star thanks to Best I Ever Had, from the short mixtape So Far Gone (2009), and thanks to the over-hyped album Thank Me Later (2010), on which he delivered some of the most ridiculous self-analyzing lyrics ever rapped/sung to humble atmospheric synth-laden arrangements (mostly Noah "40" Shebib) usually reserved for r&b crooners (a cross between James Blake and Kanye West). Nonetheless, Over (one of his smoothest transitions from pop singer to rapper and viceversa), the relatively upbeat and pounding ballad Find Your Love and Miss Me (in which Lil Wayne steals the show) further increased his popularity.

Take Care (Cash Money, 2011), another slab of obnoxious juvenile autobiography, features the eerie soul narrative Marvin's Room and spawned a record number of hits, notably The Motto. The rapper fails miserably to engage, but the production by Canadian producer Noah "40" Shebib, Jamie Xx and Just Blaze is admirable.

Nothing Was the Same (2013), mostly produced by Shebib, includes the pop crossover Hold On We're Going Home and Started from the Bottom. Dacoury "DJ Dahi" Natche produced Worst Behavior. The album was followed by the mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late (2015).

Summer Sixteen (2016), produced by German duo Cubeatz (twins Kevin and Tim Gomringer), was another hit.

Drake's mildly innovative and stylish pop-soul creations, littered with pale imitations of grime and Afro-beat, on Views (2016), with the Rihanna collaboration Too Good (produced by Toronto producers Paul "Nineteen85" Jeffries and Maneesh Bidaye with Jamaican producer Dwayne "Supa Dups" Chin-Quee), and the more interesting One Dance (produced by Nineteen85, Shebib and South-african producer Themba "DJ Maphorisa" Sekowe, and featuring Nigerian singer Ayodeji "WizKid" Balogun), Feel No Ways (with a beat crafted by Kanye West and Jordan Ullman), and Nineteen85's Hotline Bling (another big hit), and on More Life (2017), whose highlight Get it Together is sung by someone else and whose Free Smoke is typical of how pointless his lyrics are, make for an incredibly boring experience.

Nonetheless, One Dance became the first song to pass one billion streams on music streaming service Spotify.

Drake finally lost any artistic ambition on the 25-song double album Scorpion (2018), but the hits kept coming: God's Plan (2018), produced by Ronald "Cardo" LaTour, Daveon "Yung Exclusive" Jackson, Matthew "Boi-1da" Samuels and Shebib; In My Feelings (2018), produced by Benjamin "TrapMoneyBenny" Workman and Adam "BlaqNmilD" Pigott; Nonstop (2018), produced by Brytavious "Tay Keith" Chambers and Ernest "No I.D." Wilson; Nice for What (2018), produced by No I.D., Nineteen85 and Shebib; etc.

Toosie Slide, off Dark Lane Demo Tapes (2020), produced by Swiss producer Ozan "Oz" Yildirim, and Laugh Now Cry Later (another collaboration with Cardo and Yung Exclusive, and produced by Roget Chahayed) were the hits of 2020. In 2020 Drake was the second most streamed artist in the world after Bad Bunny.

The trap-infected Certified Lover Boy (2021) was another mega-hit. At one point Drake had nine of the top 10 hits in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, led by Way 2 Sexy, followed by Girls Want Girls with Lil Baby, Fair Trade with Travis Scott, Champagne Poetry, Knife Talk with 21 Savage and Project Pat, In the Bible with Lil Durk and Giveon, Papiís Home, TSU, and Love All with Jay-Z. Drake was the first artist ever to claim such a feat in Billboard's history). Drake was also the first artist since the Beatles to have the top five positions, and tied Ariana Grande for most number-one debuts with five. He joined Mariah Carey, Rihanna and the Beatles as the artists to have spent an entire year at number one.

Honestly Nevermind (2022) is de facto his interpretation of house music of the 1990s, a mixtape of subliminal background muzak all form and no susbtance. South African's deep-house guru Nkosinathi "Black Coffee" Maphumulo, Diamante "Gordo" Blackmon and Noah "40" Shebib come together to shape Currents. Gordo shapes the more retro-futuristic Massive with Richard Zastenker and Johannes Klahr, and then he shapes the subtler Sticky with Ry "RY X" Cuming. It takes the combination of Cubeatz and Brytavious "Tay Keith" Chambers (the brains behind Travis Scott's Sicko Mode) with Anderson "Vinylz" Hernandez (who previously helped Kanye West, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and many others) and about ten songwriters to compose Jimmy Cooks. An incredible waste of talents.

Her Loss (2022) was a collaboration with 21 Savage that recycled old Drake cliches, as musical as the whining of a little child.

In 2023 a song titled Heart on My Sleeve, credited to Drake and The Weeknd, went viral on streaming services; but it had been generated with a software program; proof not of the computer's intelligence but of how easy it was to create Drake and Weeknd songs.

For All the Dogs (2023), another bloated album for an artist of limited talent, contains Rich Baby Daddy, crafted by seven producers and songwriters (who came up with the genius idea to sample Florence + the Machine's Dog Days Are Over) and 8am in Charlotte, crafted by Conductor Williams, Mario Luciano and Jason Wool.

(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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