Home » A+E » Album review: Drake release excels in balance of hip-hop, R&B

Album review: Drake release excels in balance of hip-hop, R&B

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Rapper Drake’s surprise release of his new album, titled “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” dropped late Thursday night on iTunes when the 28-year-old Canadian rapper and former “Degrassi: The Next Generation” actor tweeted out a link to his new project. Amid speculation about whether the 17 songs constitute an album or a mixtape, “If You’re Reading This” was Drake’s first major musical project since the release of his third album “Nothing Was The Same” back in September 2013. The new album (or mixtape) also features collaborations with Lil Wayne, PartyNextDoor and Travis Scott.

Overall, Drake’s new release is laudable. His opening song “Legend” is a song with the typical Drake style of smooth R&B, but also including nice rhymes. The following track, “Energy,” features him returning to his newer style of rapping that boasts where he is and his position in the rap game.

His track “You & the 6” gives thanks to his mom and his home city of Toronto for the experiences given to him growing up, and is in close relationship to his previous songs about his relationship with his mother, like “Look What You’ve Done” from his 2011 album “Take Care,” and “Too Much” from “Nothing Was The Same.”

Personally, the album is growing on me. It was difficult to judge at first because for many, Drake can never reproduce the tunes from his first two albums, the aforementioned “Take Care” that won a Grammy in 2013, and his debut release “Thank Me Later” from 2010.

However, Drake’s unique sound again shows itself on these tracks, and his rhymes reinforce why Drake is considered one of the best rappers in the game today.

One thing I think this album lacks is the versatility that Drake is known for. There are fewer slower songs on the album than what Drake usually releases and I always enjoy the nice balance of smooth R&B and rap. Nonetheless, a few songs bring back memories of old school Drake, like the aforementioned “Legend” as well as “Jungle.”

I would say my top three tracks are “Used To,” which features Lil Wayne, “You & the 6” and “Energy,” but there isn’t a song that I dislike on the album. If I had to grade it, I would give it four stars. Nothing will probably replace his first two albums for most fans, but this is definitely a must-hear for fans of Drake and hopefully is a nice preview of his scheduled album titled “Views from the 6” that reportedly will come out later in 2015.

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