Someone please go take care of Drake


Nishad Karulkar

Original vinyl with album art for Drake’s sophomore LP Take Care.

I’ll admit as a self-proclaimed hardcore fan of hip-hop and rap, I am a big, no, a huge fan of Drake and the music his OVO Sound label produces almost every year. Though I feel I understand his strengths and weaknesses as both a pop artist and a man better than most, I believe he is an outlier in the music industry as his sound can range from elegant piano samples to bass filled rap songs. 

And as we music fans patiently await the rapper’s upcoming studio album Her Loss, it’s worth looking back nearly 11 years at the project that made the walking internet meme we know today as just Drake.

From the sullen piano riff on the opening track “Over My Dead Body” to the overly honest yet fittingly titled “I Hate Sleeping Alone” close to the LP, Drake’s production and lyricism shine on his sophomore album Take Care (Deluxe Edition).

Combining his talents of rapping, singing, sampling, and of course whining about lost love, Drake officially ushers in a new era of music that bridges the hip-hop/rap genre with R&B to a 2011 audience who was ready for the change.

The melding of somber melodies and rap in Take Care is proof that Drake is the definition of a post Kanye artist, championing the tasteful use of expensive sampling while also featuring legendary artists across the record.

Collaborators range from oldies like Stevie Wonder crushing it on the harmonica for the ultimate breakup song “Doing it Wrong,” to the special women who have constantly been rumoured to have broken Drake’s heart in Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Just like his heart, their fingerprints are all over this album.

Whether it be then young upstart Kendrick Lamar essentially having his own personal interlude on the LP (Drake doesn’t even have a written credit to “Buried Alive”) or fellow Toronto native, The Weeknd, Take Care demonstrates why music can and should be a collaborative process.

Heck, he even samples 90s provocative classic “Baby Got Back” by one hit wonder Sir Mix-a-Lot on “The Motto,” while simultaneously featuring his personal mentor Lil Wayne.

Drake is making music for people who like music. Borrowing recording studios from legends like Marvin Gaye and production styles first used by Kanye, Aubrey Graham, and co-executive producer of the album Noah “40” Shebib act almost as historians of the art form on this unique project.

While Drake may believe he has many haters, some of his critics, including artists within the genre, raise valid criticisms of Aubrey Graham’s music.

Because at the end of the day, Drake doesn’t really say anything. At least, nothing of real substance. Sure, classic musical tropes of love, loss, and heartbreak draped in the insecurity of his braggadocio make Take Care and by extension the artist he’s become since one of the most relatable characters on the internet.

But as an artist of color blessed with as much talent and success as Aubrey Graham, unlike contemporaries J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar, he fails and continues to fail at commenting on the state of culture beyond, and pardon my french, “b****s.”

Perhaps he hasn’t experienced much bigotry or adversity in his life (which I doubt), or he consciously shys away from controversial issues to maintain his widespread popularity.

He is the first artist of the streaming era to break 50 billion streams, maintaining a healthy 4 billion stream lead over the next artist on the list. 

I speculate that his fairer complexion and consistent avoidance of political controversy in his lyrics, however eloquent they may be, might have something to do with his record shattering commercial success.

But on Take Care, Drake does tease the cultural commentary he is so often criticised for omitting from his bars, rapping “Her white friend said, you…[n-words]…crazy, I hope no one heard that, I hope no one heard that. ’Cause if they did we gon’ be in some trouble” on the drunk dial classic “Marvins Room.”

The isolated line from the album seems to hint at the possibility of Drake opening up about his mixed race identity crisis on future projects. But he never does, which brings me to the lone fear I have about Drake’s second album drop of 2022. 

I worry that in 11 years, the content of Drake’s sonically popular music has failed to grow and will continue to remain stagnant no matter how beautiful his production and lyrics may be.

I mean the scheduled album’s title is literally Her Loss. I would be shocked if Drake elected to unpack his own Jewish ancestry on the project scheduled to release this Friday Nov. 4, even in light of recent public bouts of celebrity antisemitism. 

Instead, it feels that he is far more comfortable simmering in his overt dissatisfaction and depression with having everything. I guess my good friend Aubrey is fighting other demons. 

So Drake, just take care of yourself.