Despite what many people, including Drake himself, have said about Thank Me Later, I believe that despite a song or two missing the record, Thank Me Later was exactly the album Drake wanted to make. Take Care however, is the album Drake needed to make.
Take Care is all about Drake. The album consists of few features and mostly in house production. Casual listeners will find themselves a little surprised and put off at first by how different the music on Take Care is from most of what you hear from Drake typically. For fans though, this is the faithful follow up to So Far Gone they have wanted and I’m willing to bet they’ll be more than grateful for it.
The intro “Over My Dead Body” sets the tone for the album with it’s calm intensity which sounds like an oxymoron because well, it is and as such is the theme of Take Care. What I took from the album is a man coming to terms with the fact that he’s actually comfortable with the chaos his life has become. One example of this can heard on the Weeknd assisted track “Crew Love”
“Smoking weed under star projectors
I guess we’ll never know what Harvard gets us
But seeing my family have it all
Took the place of that desire for diplomas on the wall”
Old wants and desires of the past have been rendered pointless with what is now his reality, and worst of all, he could care less. Take Care, as an album, is dark and brooding because it’s writer is on top of the world and knows it. Unfortunately, being on top often leads to things that were once important becoming meaningless. The money, the women, the adoration, it all used to mean something to Drake, but now that it’s the norm what else is there? You get the feeling throughout the album that Drake is in no hurry for the answers to his problems, but wants it to be known he’s aware of them.
With songs like the Cudi-esc “Camera/Good Ones” and “Shot For Me” due credit must be given to the production courtesy of Noah “40” Shebib with it’s surreal use of distorted R&B vocal samples as an atmospheric background instrument. Specifically, the family themed “Look What You’ve Done” cryptically samples an unplugged piano session of the late Static Major. Major’s haunting vocals give off such a low quality yet personal edge that the experience feels like a private performance.
The production on Take Care is full of intentional quirks that give this otherworldly feel to the record while transcending many of tropes of what a “rap album” should be. By the way, don’t get it twisted, this is a rap album, with a noticeable r&b influence. With all this said, there are still some solid surprises for listeners from the epic Just Blaze produced “Lord Knows” to Andre’ 3000 outshining both Drake and Lil’ Wayne on “The Real Her” which I didn’t see coming.
With Take Care, Drake has not only made a great piece music, but an honest one, both are something very few artists can accomplish, much less at the same time.