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Album Review: Drake's 'Take Care'

November 14, 2011 |  4:05 pm

Album review: Drake's 'Take Care'

Throughout “Take Care,” Toronto actor-singer-rapper Drake references plenty of the accouterments that come with living as one of hip-hop’s rich and famous. There are strippers and there are millions of dollars spent on “nice things” like Persian rugs. Yet the former do little more than cause guilt, and despite all the cash Drake raked in after his million-plus-selling 2010 debut “Thank Me Later,” the man can’t stop worrying about his taxes.

That’s not to say Drake hasn’t been enjoying his success. On “The Ride” he shows off his knowledge of the menu at Napa Valley’s French Laundry, and on “Look What You’ve Done” Drake has the means to take care of his family, even if he’s still torturing himself for acting too bratty to his mom.

To discuss Drake requires a mention of how he represents the softer side of hip-hop. It’s not just anyone, after all, who gets a guest harmonica turn from Stevie Wonder. His gorgeously pensive solo ends “Doing It Wrong,” a stand-out R&B cut in which Drake is nearly too nervous to end a relationship.

The template here, and for essentially the entirety of Drake’s young career, is Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak.” Drake shares West’s love for mood and never-ending existential analysis (80 minutes of it, to be precise). “Marvin’s Room” showcases Drake’s talents for both: he recounts how his sexual conquests are destroying his love life, sounding lost in murky, synthesized soul.

Drake doesn’t come off as a rapper who attempts to sing. In fact, the customary guest raps from the likes of mentor Lil Wayne can distract and sometimes even outpace him, as is the case with Nicki Minaj. For someone who simply longs for the girls from his hometown, Drake's voice and lyrics would be better suited to having a duet partner who could draw out the best in him, instead of leaving him behind.

Drake

"Take Care"

(Young Money/Cash Money/Universal)

Three stars (Out of four)

ALSO:

Drake takes cautious approach to stardom

How Stevie Wonder sparked Drake's 'Marvin's Room'

Radiohead to tour U.S. in 2012; no SoCal dates unveiled

--Todd Martens

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