Ever since he struck the music scene with the backing of Lil Wayne and Cash Money Records, hitting the hip hop world hard with Young Money and spawning his very own record label called October's Very Own to support young growing artists much like himself, Drake, or Aubrey Drake Graham, has built a massive media following and a gigantic fan base who may or may not have heard of his television acting career before his music. He is praised across the board by both hip hop fans and music lovers and admired and envied by followers and fellow celebrities. His first two albums, Thank Me Later and Take Care (the second of which received the Grammy's Best Rap Album award), met with no little acclaim as critics and pundits everywhere began tagging the Toronto native as one of hip hop's most elite. As the third album in line, Nothing Was The Same, floods the market, listeners will witness Drake toot his own horn, develop towards manhood, struggle with love, and send out some positive messages.
For Nothing Was The Same, Drake chose to keep his associate and OVO cofounder Noah "40" Shebib as his main producer with other producers (Boi-1da, Detail, etc.) adding input on various songs. What results of course is a mystical, trippy journey through bold, Odd Future-esque beats that are both revolutionary and experimental. Several songs incorporate drastic loop and break changes midway through the tracks, which sound like two songs in one track. Everything is tied together nicely though as this characteristic sound, established by 40 and used here and on the two previous albums, propels Nothing Was The Same into singular status coming full circle with its two shining antecedents.
On the first two tracks of the album, Drake is hard working and generous and remains humble as he raps valuable pieces of wisdom on "Tuscan Leather" and "Furthest Thing." The lead single "Started From The Bottom" is a discourse on healthy friendships and how they manifest themselves through the years. "Wu Tang Forever" sees Drake declaring himself a musical master who is peacefully one with himself. He is critical of foolish lifestyles on "Own It" urging everyone to take responsibility for themselves and reveals his resentful side on "Worst Behavior," delivering a cover of Ma$e lyrics on that same song. A detour is taken on "From Time," where Drake is reflective, looking for love from his father, and a mate. Next is the super danceable "Hold On, We're Going Home" where the singing lover boy Drake can truly be found. The next three songs give a taste of young life, carefree times, and flashy days, clearing a path for "Too Much," a plea to finally live life and not get bogged down by its unreasonable demands. The song "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2" contains a great rendition of the Wu-Tang Clan's C.R.E.A.M. and a wonderful guest verse from Jay-Z, and the second part has Drake once again going hard on the mic to close out the album.
Nothing Was The Same is pivotal for Drake as it shows his commitment to the rap game. He has incredible skill at rapping and singing, and with its mind blowing production, the album is very nearly a classic to come. Of course the guests, Jhene Aiko, Majid Jordan, Detail, Sampha, Birdman, and Jay-Z, also contribute to making it a masterpiece. All the ingredients for an excellent rap album, advanced, meaningful lyrics, game changing beats, spirit and drive, and unique, supportive guest artists, can be found here. Listeners will reap the benefits and lift Drake's name high in years to come.