Started From the Bottom, Now He’s Here

SC Contributing Writer

Canadian-born, Grammy award winning Hip-Hop artist Drake is back at it and is scheduled to release his third album titled “Nothing Was The Same” under OVO Sound and Young Money/Cash Money record labels on September 24, 2013.

The highly anticipated studio album includes many top 10 hit singles, one of which is the popular “Hold On, We’re Going Home” that helped build anticipation amongst fans.

From a climactic, bodacious six minute intro titled “Tuscan Leather,” to a car door panel flapping, bass knocking outro just shy of five minutes titled “All Me” featuring Def Jam artist 2 Chainz and G.O.O.D. artist Big Sean, Drake’s trademarks ring clear throughout the album and cover his usual topics that we all love to hear the most—reminiscing on every ex, bragging about multi-million dollar net worth, not having new friends, learning not to regret every mistake made but embracing them instead, and of course the trials and tribulations of being monogamous in a relationship.

The ingenuity in Drake’s craft is shown by how well he is able to portray each of those revisited topics from different perspectives by exploring different emotions and speaking from different moments in his life, allowing fresh air to breathe through each track and create momentum throughout the album.

The album’s intention is to provide preface to the Young Money/Cash Money affiliate’s success by speaking on his insecurities, memories, observations, and lessons learned as a child that molded the decisions he has made as the man he is today.

“I’m trying to get back to that kid in the basement. To say what he has to say. And I’m trying to make it last,” says rapper Drake in an interview with GQ magazine.

Proof of this is littered throughout the album with the help of impressive, eargasmic producers such as Boi-1da, T-Minus, Husdon Mohawke, and most importantly and primarily Noah “40” Shebib, who is responsible for the album’s beat and rhythm selection as his brain child. There’s use of heavy synths, backbreaking bass, samples of sensual, desperate, lonely, and sometimes-angry women, a plethora of distorted noises, trap-style snare drums, and repetitive, catchy hooks and choruses. The album boasts an intelligible amount of actual rap, however it appears to lend a lot of each track’s length to instrumental music sans rap.

Most recognizably the nostalgic, early to late 90s rap samples and techniques that reoccur are used almost in efforts to help persuade the listener to relive components of Drake’s childhood, which was primarily throughout the 90s having been born in 1986, also aiding in paying homage to contemporaries of 90s Cash Money Founder/Rapper Birdman. Inserted beds of chopped and screwed—a famous style of slowing the tempo of recorded lyrics resulting in a skewed, hallucinogenic, deep-voice effect used by southern rappers in the 90s—sampled in songs such as “Own It,” “Connect,” and “305 To My City” assist in creating authenticity in the slight southern nature of those tracks. Opposite from southern 90s rap mockups, hits such as “Wu-Tang Forever” sample melodies and an exact lyric pull from the beginning of Raekwon the Chef’s verse from Wu-Tang’s—a New York-based rap group in the 90s—1997 “It’s Yourz.” Another track titled “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2” featuring Jay-Z also directly samples Wu-Tang’s 1993 hit “C.R.E.A.M.”

However, the most obvious reference would be the explicitly, more renowned, borrowed lyrics in “Worst Behavior” at 2:40 which are that of 90s rapper Mase’s in The Notorious B.I.G’s 1997 hit “Mo Money Mo Problems,” which read precisely as Drake says: “Who’s hot who not, tell me who rock who sell out in stores. You tell me who flopped, who copped the new drop, whose jewels got rocks…”

Drake’s affinity for incorporating varied 90s style methods from northern and southern rap may also serve as a common ground to allow more audiences to connect to his music. Such reprise throughout “Nothing Was The Same” assisted in enforcing that youthful, impressionable, naïve perspective he was rapping from by indeed proving that as an artist he was heavily influenced by such rappers of his upbringing and used their music to not only build himself as an artist, but to motivate him through his fatherless, misunderstood childhood.

The studio copy cover of “Nothing Was The Same” illustrates a side profile of present day artist Drake, whereas the deluxe copy illustrates a side profile of a young Drake each being original oil paintings done by California artist Kadir Nelson. It is evident that both of Drake’s album covers resemble legendary, iconic rap albums such as Nas’s “Illmatic” and The Notorious B.I.G’s “Ready to Die” which each portrays the rapper as a youth.

So if you’re ready to cry your heart out, appreciate your mother a little more, snap the volume knob off at loud, and blow the speakers out in your soccer mom mini van to some really profound, creative, thuggish, original, eclectic music, then “Nothing Was The Same” is the album to do so to.

Also look into sparing a couple of dollars to invest in a neck brace – there will be a lot of head bobbing and neck snapping.

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