Drake – Nothing Was The Same (Review)

The paradox of Drake is, arguably, what has made him one of the most commercially successful artists in contemporary rap. He's "real" but he's not "real"; his half-rap, half-sung confessions of love, lust and loneliness do not adhere to rap's slowly dwindling (but still present) hyper masculine bubble. But sharing emotions evokes them, and as a man that began as an actor before becoming a rapper, Drake understands this. His latest album, Nothing Was The Same, implies that a change has occurred in his life. The themes he's become known for remain the same but it is how he approaches them that has changed.

Since his crossing over into mainstream success with 2009's So Far Gone, Drake has become an influential figure in both rap and pop music. "Soft," the taboo tag that the rapper earned with his newfound success, has become much less dismissive and more distinctive throughout his career. With success has come the celebration of fame, friends and fantasies turned reality. But with success also comes sacrifice: losing and straining relationships amongst past lovers and family members. And in trying to maintain these relationships, Drake has become distant with the person most closest to him: himself.

On the third verse of "Tuscan Leather," Drake says, "Wanted to tell you, 'accept yourself' / You don't have to prove shit to no one except yourself / And if you end up needin' some extra help, then I could help." Drake serves as the savior to everybody but specifically women. There's the unnamed women of "Tuscan Leather" and "The Motion," and Paris from "Paris Morton Music 2," among others. Drake's desire to "save" women--that do not necessarily need help--attempts to veil the real issue: Drake is in need of saving.

Rihanna embodied this in Take Care's title track: "So if you'll let me, here's what I'll do / I'll take care of you." But uncertainty keeps Drake from making the final step toward companionship: "So what are you? What are you, what are you so afraid of / Darling you, you give but you cannot take love," sings Jhene Aiko on Nothing's "From Time." What makes Drake such a compelling artist and, to some, a "generation defining artist," is his humility. He's unwavering about love one moment and indecisive the next, as his idea of "the one" drifts from a stripper named Porscha to a Hooters' employee named Courtney. It's at times laughable, miserable and unbelievable yet relatable: an accurate portrayal of love and its unpredictability.

With age, Drake seems to be more emotionally responsible. He rarely, if ever, hides behind the cliches that made him a meme sensation, and there is nothing close to a "Marvin's Room" on Nothing. Now, he prefers to discuss his problems with his father over a couple of Coronas, than by himself with several shots. Drake encourages his mother and uncle to be better to themselves, and slowly the rapper is beginning to take his own advice.

The production, for the most part, is some of the most compelling work done on any Drake album. It's atmospheric, slow and uneasy, one hazy recollection to the next, with "Hold On, We're Going Home" being the album's only moment of joyful clarity.

However, there are moments where Nothing is stagnant. "Wu-Tang Forever," an ode to Drake's past sexual encounters disguised as a Wu-Tang homage, is a slow and unwanted follow up after "Started From The Bottom," one of, if not the only club-approved song from the album. And "Own It," which follows after "Wu-Tang Forever," is just as dull.

Nothing also makes one wonder just how self aware Drake really is. Prior to the album's release, Drake had dropped "Girls Love Beyonce," a song that was expected to appear on Nothing but did not. Regardless, the song included a telling line halfway through: "All my young boys 'round me saying, 'get money and fuck these hoes' / Where we learn these values? I do not know what to tell you." Drake is both the angel and the devil on rap's shoulders. He's contradictory in a way that is compelling and frustrating, questioning some of rap's tropes while actively participating in them. "Fuck you bitch, I'm more than high / My momma probably hear that and be mortified / This ain't the son that you raised who used to take the Acura," Drake states on "Worst Behavior." With the rapper at his most cathartic, it's moments like this that are the most engaging and revealing: when Aubrey Graham and Drake are pitted against one another.

"I'm honest I make mistakes, I'd be the second to admit it," states Drake on "Tuscan Leather." With each album it seems as if Drake makes a resolution to become more accepting of himself, even if that means acknowledging some of his less admirable qualities. He's the narcissistic, all-Versace-adorned king of contemporary rap, and a voice of a generation that, as he says himself, lacks patience. But Drake is just as conflicted as those that look up to him, which makes his journey all the more fascinating.

Nothing Was The Same is an open diary that conveys emotions in a way that's unseen in current pop music. Drake understands that the game of love is not dictated by one sex. Everyone can play the game, and not everybody is playing by the same rules. As Drake's first solo album released on his own OVO Sound imprint, Nothing Was The Same is a foreshadowing of what's to come as Drake continues to redefine himself as an artist.

By Elijah Watson

By: Staff / Reviews / October 4, 2013 / 4587 Views
  • NOPE

    Bad review.

  • Ball.

    Constructive.

  • cam709

    not a terrible review but an unbiased review of the artist more then the album. with reviews i think we expect to gain some overall opinon. "these songs are crap these songs are great". great examination of an artist through lyrics but i didn't learn too much about the album. all that said i agree with the songs you said were boring, but overall pretty solid album.

  • Torosnegros

    You just did a psychological profile on a man who you've never met, based solely on the lyrics of his songs. Sure, Drake's music seems personal, but isn't this a bit of a stretch? I mean, for every one thing he mentions in his lyrics, there must be millions of things that he doesn't. The attitude that you can judge someone by such a tiny bit of information is dangerous and arrogant. Oh, by the way, love the production on the album, though it took me a few listens to warm up to it.

  • no nigga

    This guy is ass for not liking Wu-Tang Forever. That song is GREAT.

  • Bertha L. Blair

    My co-worker's sister makes $86 all hour on the internet.
    She has been lacking handiwork pro 9 months but live month her payment was
    $13566 righteous working on the internet pro a a small amount of hours. Notice, BIG44.­c­o­m

  • wheelchair jimmy

    ill never understand the point of music reviews. musics one of the most subjective thing there is. dont listen to the reviewer listen the songs and judge for yourself

  • VIVEVRVV

    Honestly "Nothing Was The Same" should have been titled "This is the same". Drake said and Speculation leads us the believe he called out K-Dot that "your shit is not that inspiring", when Drake's lyricism and song writing is at an all time low here (seriously go to rap genius some songs he doesn't even bother rhyming). He had one saving grace and that was the awesome production, the deep rhythms and dark themes kept his lackluster singing and rapper tolerable. In my review (you can ask for it if you want to read the full thing), It's an okay record, but certainly with the fame and platform Drake has, he can't afford to slack off the way he did on "Nothing Was The Same" especially now that so many rappers are after his head.

  • Blah

    Just like WheelChair Jimmy said, these are only opinions and it's great to share what ever one else thinks. My opinion is that Drake will never be anything more than a pop artist. His lyrics are nothing more than straight forward crap. There's nothing to think about, there's nothing that will having you wondering what he means or why he said what he said. It's boring to listen to Drake, always has been and always will.
    Drake is one of the worst lyricists in the game, and I understand that's not why people love him. For me, lyrics are hip-hop. Give me something to twist my mind around, give me something to question. Give me a god damn metaphor or simile, DRAKE, lol..... Everyone stop listening to Drake and start listening to real hip-hop like Danny Brown, Childish Gambino, KDot, and the likes. Again, don't hate on me. Like I said, this is just my opinion.

  • http://www.seanhowell.ca/ Sean

    If rappers were judged by how real they are then C-Murder would be king. It's all entertainment. G-Dep killed somebody for reals and he went psychotic.

  • SuperNigga

    it's not about just being real, it's about having consistent solid music, while also keeping up a good public image.

  • http://www.seanhowell.ca/ Sean

    It's only about music. It's entertainment.

  • http://www.seanhowell.ca/ Sean

    Twist your mind around third world poverty. That will give you something to question.

  • twerk team

    I don't think he was lazy though. I really believe him when he talks about the effort he made. This isn't meant to be a defense. On the contrary, it could be taken as a negative comment, in that he tried really hard and his best wasn't good enough for many people. But he did try hard man. For the record, I loved the album and thought there was real evolution, but I certainly accept that others did not.

  • wwwww

    "Constructive" criticism is when someone is learning to drive a car and you tell him/her to check the mirrors more often. It implies that you help someone become what is universally agreed upon as "better" at the task at hand. Music is subjective. There is no ideal in rap. For that reason, it is not, and will never be, constructive to attempt an unbiased review of how a rap album could've been better, as such commentary reflects only certain people's idea of "better". The closest you could come to constructive would be email the write-up to Aubrey. But for listeners, reading this review is nothing but destructive to opinion and individual taste.

  • Herbclouds

    good writing, except you should stay away from the comparisons (hint, hint)

  • KathleenNowlin

    My Uncle Alexa truly got an almost another white Kia Optima Hybrid truly by
    Partt­ime succeed from a laptop... Recover not worth it, BIG44.­c­o­m

  • imafan

    such a shitty review. this was more of an insight on drakes personality than the music. shame.

  • stophating

    YO SHIT IS LIKE THE POLICE ASKING YOU QUESTIONS, NIGGA YOU DONT KNOW SHIT

  • CORNROWS4BRKFST

    terrible.

  • darbaculture

  • yolo

    more a review of Drake's emotional state than the album

  • SUIT UP!

    https://soundcloud.com/suit_up/drake-furthest-thing-suit-up
    The review was good enough. If you need a revamp on Furthest Thing check out a smooth trap remix of it

  • SpaceGhostPurrp

    Kanye > Drake

  • Loubna

    I totally agree! For a moment i was thinking that i was reading an interview. It's about the MUSIC!