I haven’t always been a fan of Drake. When he first started, I thought he was just going to be another one of those rap/R&B crossover guys who didn’t have anything new to say, or interesting to bring to the table. But when I dove into Take Care, I was pleasantly surprised at the maturity and artistry that he brings to the table. Nothing Was The Same continues this trend, and surpasses it.
Drake’s passion and heart are evident on this record, for the most part. While Take Care focused a lot on relationships, Nothing Was The Same seems to take a stance on working hard for what you get. This is a concept most young people these days don’t seem to quite understand. It’s probably why Ashton Kutcher’s speech on the goodness of work and hard work at that struck a chord with so many.
Songs like “Worst Behavior” and “Own It” speak on topics of this nature, and while the former doesn’t really kick into the good stuff until the final two minutes, “Own It” takes the image Drake is portraying and multiplies it tenfold. The superstar is positioning himself as a force to be reckoned with, and not in the ways that counterparts Lil Wayne and others have done. In fact, he’s showing us that he’s following in the footsteps of artists like Dr. Dre and Eminem, who’ve worked numerous hours and slaved through long nights to get to the places they’re at now.
Nothing Was The Same isn’t your conventional rap album, but it has it’s moments. “Started From the Bottom” is immediately radio friendly, as well as the dance/R&B fueled “Hold On”. It’s interesting to think how long Drake may have been sitting on some of these songs, since the other superstars lately (particularly Justin Timberlake) are writing longer songs, not made for radio. Hip hop and radio have become so saturated with generic and offensive songs, it’s nice to hear artists who are really diving into their craft and trying to make the best damn music they’ve ever heard. Drizzy’s work with The Weeknd on the R&B singer’s most recent work, as well as a track on JT’s second volume proves that he wants to be around those who are working hard, and it shows in these songs.
“Pound Cake” features this ambient, deep, driving sound mixed with a sample from Ellie Goulding’s “Don’t Say A Word”. The track breaks in half, the first with Drake trading verses with Jay-Z, the second switching beats and talking about what most might think he should be doing, compared to what he is. The beat lingers, letting his words sink in, over the piano and clap beat. “Come Thru” splits rap and melodical duties, showcasing the best of both worlds with Drizzy. “Wu-Tang Forever” has this haunting beat behind it, combined with Drake’s straight-laced raps and catchy hook of “it’s yours”.
Nothing Was The Same is a great rap record, even if it’s not the type that will find itself a home in the standard CD players of fan’s cars. There’s only a handful of tracks that you’ll find to be radio friendly, and the record is sure to spawn remixes. But Drake’s album needs to be taken in as a volume, and appreciated for what he’s accomplished, even if there are moments (like in “Worst Behavior”) where lines are kind of annoying. The project, overall, is a inner, and should be heard.