People who dislike Drake tend to be very vocal about their opinion. People disagree with him being the face of contemporary hip-hop and people disagree with his credibility given his background. Yet, to deny that there is a lack of talent present in all of his records and to deny that he is constantly developing is simply incorrect.
Nothing Was the Same represents two of Drake’s personas. One side is the man who wants to brag about his newfound success and believes that this success is warranted. The other side is the man who knows this is stupid to do and still struggles with issues of isolation and abandonment, leading to oversensitive sentiments about women who do commit.
His interpretation of his success does not concern how a successful actor who was raised in Forest Hill managed to get his foot in the music industry’s door, but rather how a Jewish Canadian high school dropout from a broken family managed to climb to the top of the music world.
He embraces and writes about very personal, but very common issues, and brings this to the forefront constantly in his songs. Most tend to be turned off by the subject matter of “Drake,” as shown by the typical complaints about him. But moving past this reveals a more sensitive and internally conflicted side of hip-hop that is rarely explored, and rarely to this quality.
Drake’s flow and his ear for beats are two of the most noticeable improvements over his previous studio albums, Take Care and Thank Me Later. On the highlights of Nothing Was the Same his delivery is sharp, quick, and accented by brilliant production from long-time collaborator Noah “40” Shebib. Even on lyrically unsubstantial songs, like “Started From The Bottom” and the majority of “Worst Behaviour,” the beat is instantly recognizable and enjoyable every time it cycles through your playlist.
However, Drake’s lyricism is a lot more inconsistent relative to Take Care. For every, “After hours of II Mulino/Or Sotto Sotto, just talking to women and vino/The contract like ’91 Dan Marino/I swear this got Michael Rapinos boosting my ego” there is an equal and opposite “Girl don’t treat me like a stranger/Girl you know I seen ya naked.” Though understanding and respecting his perspective and intent helps one to gloss over this, these sorts of lines are just sloppy in comparison and stop the album from reaching greatness. You may remember Nothing Was the Same for the beats or for some interesting wordplay, but there is no doubt that you will also remember these unfortunate low points.