Throwback Thursday: Take Care Anniversary Review
2011 was a great year musically, and arguably no artist shined brighter than Drake.
2011 was the year Drake cemented his name in music royalty. He showed he could do it all. He made the club bangers like his verse on Waka Flaka's 'Round Of Applause.' He remixed some of the best songs of the year, and highkey made them better like on his "All Of The Lights" and "Deuces" remixes. He started showcasing his ability to make other artists' tracks his own as he did on DJ Khaled's "I'm On One," Jhene Aiko's "July," and The Game's "Good Girls Go Bad." Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the loosies Drizzy gave us, some of which are still his best work. "Club Paradise," "Free Spirit," and "Dreams Money Can Buy," need I go on?
Then finally, Drake closes out a great year with 'Take Care.
"Take Care" begins with one of the strongest openers ever, 'Over My Dead Body.' " I think I killed everybody in the game last year, man fuck it, I was on though/ and I thought I found the girl of my dreams at the strip club,mm-mm, fuck it I was wrong though." The opening lines of the song gave us two of the biggest themes of the album, women, and success, and the next two songs, "Shot For Me" and "Headlines," follow suit.
"Shot For Me" finds Drake reminiscing on an old flame, but not in the way Drake usually does. Instead of wallowing in sadness or singing about missing this girl, Drake sings about how she will be the one who misses him, "I can see it in your eyes you're angry, regret got shit on what you feeling now/ Mad cus he ain't like, oh you mad that nobody ever did it like me?" Drake follows up the first verse with a rap verse where he is slightly more apologetic, and then arrogant Drake makes his first appearance.
"Headlines" was the radio single of the album, and it begins with braggadocios Drizzy. "I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence/ Started not to give a fuck and stop fearing the consequence/ Drinking every night because we drink to my accomplishments." Drake displays the style that's made him so popular as he seamlessly floats between rapping and singing throughout the song. Lines about Drake's success are plenty, whether they're on the chorus, "Drizzy got the money, so Drizzy gon' pay it/ Those my brothers, I ain't even gotta say it, that's just something they know," or while he's talking down on his competition, " Soap opera rappers, all these niggas sound like all my children." Headlines showed the world Drake could be a consistent hit maker and it's because of his signature style.
Everybody knows Drake for his ability to rap and sing. What made "Take Care" so great was that he showcased both of those strengths so well on a single album. If you wanted rap Drake, he gave you some of the best verses of not only 2011 but maybe his career. "Underground Kings," "The Ride," "HYFR," and "Lord Knows" each attests to that.
"HYFR" was another smash radio hit. Bars wise, it might not stand out compared to the rest of the album, but the Gold plaque it received more than makes up for it. Along with dropping a Georgia State shoutout and a couple of quotables, the song featured Lil Wayne, who delivered one of the best features on the album.
"Underground Kings" is one of the most telling Drake tracks and it's fire. We learn about his love for rap and women, which most of us probably already knew, his love of strippers, and why he dropped out of school. Definitely, a must listen.
When I spoke of some of Drake's best verses ever being on "Take Care" I was talking about "Lord Knows" and "The Ride." "The Ride" is the final track on the album, and it is the perfect closure. If anyone doubted whether "Take Care" was a rap album, 'The Ride' shut you up. "You won't feel me 'till everybody say they love you, but it's not love/ And your suit is oxblood, and the girl you fucking hates you" Drake raps, and he continues for three more verses, refusing to let up. Throughout the song, Drake touches a myriad of topics, from how he used to flex in leased rental cars to groupies getting boob jobs just for a chance to sleep with him. He saves his best bars for last, as he closes 'Take Care' with some excellent foreshadowing, "My Sophomore I was all for it, they all saw it/ My Junior and Senior will only get meaner, Take Care nigga."
"Lord Knows" is a top five Drake verse, if not his best verse ever. Drake rips the Just Blaze-produced beat. Drake begins by rapping about going through a woman's purse, but the subject matter would switch immediately. He shouts out his role models, Jordan, Hugh Hefner, Lil Wayne, and Birdman, speaks a little bit about his jewelry and then Drake catches his groove. "Lord Knows" hits its climax about midway as the tone in Drake's voice gets slightly edgier. "I'm hearing all of the jokes, I know that they tryna push me/ I know that showing emotion don't ever mean I'm a pussy, know that I don't make music for niggas who don't get pussy/ so those are the ones I count on to diss me and overlook me." And then he sends straight shots to all his naysayers, " Lord Knows, Lord Knows, I'm heavy I got my weight up/ Roberson boost yo weight up, it's time that somebody paid up/ A lot of niggas came up off the style that I made up, so if all I hear is me then who should I be afraid of."
Drake came hard on the rapping side, definitely, but Take Care wouldn't be Take Care if it wasn't for the emotional, singing side of the album. Cuts like "Look What You've Done," "Marvin's Room," "Take Care," and "Cameras," exemplified that.
"Marvin's Room" will go down as the song that defines Drake. A song about a drunk call went wrong shows us everything we truly love about Drake; the ability to fully open up and pour it all into the music. "Fuck that nigga that you love so bad/ I know you still think about the times we had," the chorus heard around the world, and the perfect chorus for anyone missing their ex. Aside from the excellent chorus, Drake adds two singing verses and beautiful third verse where he lets it all out. "I think I'm addicted to naked pictures and sitting talking bout bitches that we almost had/ I don't think I'm conscious of making monsters outta the women I sponsor till it all goes bad/ but shit, it's all good," Drake begins. "I was just calling because they were just leaving/ talk to me please, don't have much to believe in/ I need you right now, are you down to listen to me." The emotion in this verse is what made it so popular. Never before has a rapper bared it all out like Drake did in Marvin's room and that's what made it so successful, spawning multiple remixes from the likes of Chris Brown to Jojo.
"Cameras" is the longest song on the album, but that's because of the "Good Ones Go" interlude in it, which is also the best part. I highkey wish it was longer.
No, "Doing It Wrong" would take that honor. He gave us the breakup song of our generation.
And there's still more.
That's what made Take Care so excellent. The album is filled with timeless songs. Song after song after song.
"Look What You've Done" is introspective Drake at his finest as he takes us on his journey to stardom. We find out the moments that motivated and shaped him into who he was and is now.
Drake gave us his version of Juvenile with "Practice, " and it was a hit. It was a radio mainstay despite it's sexual content, plus the party scene loved it.
And let's not forget about the insane amount of features 'Take Care' has.
"The Real Her" features two dope verses from Lil Wayne and Andre 3000, and the sappiest Drizzy we'll probably ever see.
The Weeknd and Drake showcased their excellent chemistry on 'Crew Love.' The Weeknd sang a beautiful first verse about foreign women and Drake's rapping verse complimented it perfectly.
Young Money is well represented too. Lil Wayne and Tyga are on 'The Motto,' Nicki Minaj appears on 'Make Me Proud,' and on the outro of 'We'll Be Fine?' Birdman. Oh, and each song had heavy airplay.
And do I even need to get into the title track?
The impact of 'Take Care' is undeniable. It's the album that defined Drake. It's the album that put him on top of the music world. Drake embraced his vulnerability, and it resulted in a masterpiece. Six years later and still none of Drake's project's have surpassed it. The definition of a classic album is how it survives over time. 'Take Care' isn't an album that you bump every day, but when you do bump it, it takes you back to that space in 2011. I know it does for me, and that's the definition of timeless.