Between Psychotic and Iconichttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/between-psychotic-and-iconic/

Between Psychotic and Iconic

There’s no arguing about Drake being an unusual rapper.

Album: Nothing Was The Same

Singer: Drake

Music: Hip hop

Price: Rs 395 on Universal

Rating: ****

There’s no arguing about Drake being an unusual rapper. Brooding and edgy,he has always portrayed himself as a troubled,sensitive soul. But in his third studio album,Nothing Was The Same,Drake is not the heartbroken lover that he was in Take Care (2011). He is a grown-up star with changed priorities.

The album’s two covers show that difference too. One has Drake as a child,with an Afro comb tucked in his hair; the other shows his older self wearing a gold chain. The covers,according to an interview he gave to a music channel,showcase his “most clear,concise thoughts from now” and his “best recollection of then”.

The album begins with Tuscan leather,a slow number. With a screech and soothing beats as the background,Drake raps,“This is nothing for the radio/ But they’ll still play it though/ Cuz it’s the new Drizzy Drake,that’s just the way it go”. The next track,Furthest thing,is smooth,with cyclical beats. Started from the bottom talks about Drake’s personal rags-to-riches story. The beats,which move in a loop,tend to distract us from the lyrically-strong track.

While Wu-tang forever and Own it narrate the dark side of fame,Worst behavior is a rough,violent number which comes as a surprise after the languid tone of the album set by previous songs. From time,which features R&B/Soul artiste Jhene Aiko,is our favourite; Aiko’s clarion voice deliciously compliments Drake’s regret-filled name-calling.

Hold on,we’re going home,featuring Canadian producer Majid Jordan,is an ’80s inspired song,replete with happy,sometimes mushy lyrics. A few average tracks later comes Too much,which features UK-based electronic music singer-songwriter Sampha. An emotional number,it has Drake taking about the setbacks fame has brought to him and his family. Pound cake,featuring Jay Z,is a powerful track in which Drake gets together with the star rapper but holds brilliantly on his own,as he claims,“I’m the big homie/ They still tryna lil bro me dog/ Like I should fall in line/ Like I should alert ni**as/ When I’m ’bout to drop somethin’ crazy and I say I’m the greatest of my generation”.

Though not a part of the album,the single,The Motion,which appears as a bonus track on some CDs at select stores,needs a mention as one of the finest works by the rapper. Languid,profound and brilliantly written,the song is well-spaced,with tinkering beats and gradually intensifying pace.

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Call him brooding or emo,but the Canadian rapper can say (rap) out loud what most big stars hesitate to own up. Perfect for a night of confessions or a long drive on the empty streets,Drake will keep you company with his poignant,dark and dysfunctional music.

prajakta.hebbar@expressindia.com