Here we are, it’s September 24, 2013 & Nothing Was The Same is here. Anticipation has been rapidly building for over two years now. After his sophomore effort ‘Take Care’, Drake has seemed to begin truly reaching iconic status. His 3rd LP will determine his place in music history. Drake is at the point now where he has fully embraced the “Leader Of The New School” title. A title where he seems to have been succeeding in for the past few years. Seemingly in the past 2 years everything Aubrey has been touching has turned to gold, hit singles, hit videos, numerous collaborations, super stardom in no time. He has managed to propel himself above all competition in music and has respectively joined a small pool of artists who are in Music’s Hall Of Fame. This group of talented individuals are noted “Legends” & have been doing this for many more years than Aubrey has. The Jay Z’s, Kanye Wests’, Nas’, Justin Timberlakes’ of the world. Somehow that Toronto kid who used to travel up on Morning side to shoot the Degrassi TV show, has evolved to an elite level within exceptional due time.
‘Nothing Was The Same’ is that project which could bring him into a realm of prolific legends in music. This album talks about all of the numerous struggles in life; broken relationships, family issues, trust issues, and being broke. Thus, the best rapper right now has seemed to dodge a load of bullets over a long road. ‘Nothing Was The Same’ is noticeably the darkest album to date from Drake compared to it’s two predecessors – ‘Thank Me Later’ & ‘Take Care.’ The album seems to give us some traction on Aubrey’s origin story. Seems to revisit his past & look into his present & future.
The album’s production was handled by his right hand man, Noah “40” Shebib. Production guest stars also include Boi-1da, Hit-Boy and more. The album’s sound has been the most demanding by far for a Drake product. The album sonically is darker, moodier and more eccentric. Drake talks about his feelings of women, fame, family and his fears & ambitions. Nothing Was The Same resonates with a lot of relatively familiar material for most ages. Drake set an impressive craft of songs which all came together greatly. He does not claim to be a gangsta or from the streets, but he seems to have his hand in a mix of things. He claims to relate to all walks of life, regardless of the fact that nothing was the same. He talks about failed relationships, his mother and father, family, friends who came & went and the rise to fame.
Even the preceding hits are given fangs in this context. There are lucrative rewards in ‘Started From the Bottom,’ but it comes at a high emotional cost. The OVO family is now happy. Always boasting just like before, Drake speaks about the come-up of his career and often credits the family members like Chubbs, Oliver, Niko, Noel, Ryan, Future and others with appreciation for their support. Then the album takes turns and you get a track like ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ which is full of shameless optimism with love. Eventually after that we are brought to a world where strippers hustle and relationships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Drake said this about NWTS:
“Sometimes when I try and think back through this journey it’s hard to pinpoint all these moments,” he said. “On past albums when I’ve been trying to tell the story, I’ve got there but maybe not got there all the way…. “This is my most clear, concise thoughts from now, and my best recollection of then,” he said of the album.”
The 15 track (with bonuses) album is full of hits. The features are hella nice, with HOV, Majid Jordan, Jhene AIko and more. But we also have a lot of pure and potent Drake. And the production, just as nice, as he’s got 40, boi-1da, Hudson Mohawke, Mike Will, Detail and so many others on this one who help capture Drizzy’s eccentric sound.
You get Drizzy, uncut, authentic, just like you got from the 2 previous albums, just more intimate. Drake has evolved from those ‘Thank Me Later’ days, just as expected. He has emerged from the rap’s embryo to a birth and now onto the heavens. He is no longer that young man trying to win the hearts of people in this world. He has now won hearts or he hasn’t, but regardless he is on an elite level, and simply cares less about the haters and their feelings, He plans on being here for awhile so let’s tap into the life and times of Aubrey Graham that contributed to the makeup of this album.
1. ‘Tuscan Leather’
This track is the match to ‘Over My Dead Body’ the album opener to ‘Take Care’. Drake talks about “reaching heights that Dwight Howard couldn’t reach n*gga”. Drake talks about making mistakes, changing cultures, and saying fuck the haters. Drake is boasting about his seats at UNLV games, He’s claiming to set the bar, All his dreams coming true with due time. ‘Tuscan Leather’ is the rapper being aware of the holes in his life. One of those holes is his distant relationship with Nicki Minaj: “Not even talkin’ to Nicki, communication is breakin’ / I dropped the ball on some personal s—, I need to embrace it.”
2. ‘Furthest Thing’
Drake still rides low in that car of self-reflection. He starts of by talking about balance in his life. “Somewhere between psychotic and iconic / Somewhere between I want it and I got it.” ‘Furthest Thing’ then moves into a championship game mode with a celebratory, choir-backed beat in the outro crafted by Mr. Martin Scorcese himself (40).
3. ‘Started From the Bottom’
This is that anthem for life for everyone on the come-up. Drake is no stranger to this message. This is your new graduation, big spending song. Many bangers on this album but this is the premier track and it fit perfectly in the nucleus of ‘NWTS’. This song has the power similar to “Take Care’s hit ‘The Motto’.
No New n^ggas, n^gga we don’t feel that, Fuck a fake friend where your real friends at?
4. ‘Wu-Tang Forever’
This track pays homage to the Wu-Tang Clan in such a great way. The track opens with a very haunting piano sample, with some references to Wu-Tang; ‘Machine Gun Raps’ as well as Drake being skillful with his rapping abilities all under one dark track. Drake spits some dope stuff eloquent material here. ‘Machine gun raps to all my n*ggas for all my niggas in the back/stadium packed/glad to see the city on the map’. Credits go to him, which he boasts about the fact that his city is put on the map. He also does not claim to be from the streets, but doesn’t deny being in the streets and lusting to be in the mix. Drake keeps it real, while alot of rappers tend to claim their from the streets when their not.
5. ‘Own It’
This track is geared to the young and romantic. People seem to hate on this track claiming it is the “Drakeiest” track. We don’t get that inference, because frankly, Drake has a certain sound but this doesn’t define him as an artist. He is a very versatile artist. He goes forward about his different situations with women like: “Next time we f—, I don’t wanna f—, I wanna make love/ Next time we talk, I don’t wanna just talk, I wanna trust,” “When the last time you did somethin’ for the first time?” He just gets to that sensual love feeling a lot of young men get into with the right girl. Stop calling the man soft acting like you’ve never been in that position fellas!
6. ‘Worst Behavior’
This track is another track where Aubrey flexes on his successes and being ahead of the throne. Drake talks growing up and his mother seeing how he lives now, she might have a heart attack. He talks alot about his younger years in this one, steadily racing with his future. Drake makes a direct reference to ‘Degrassi’ though: “Fuck you bitch, I’m more than high / my momma probably hear that and be mortified / this ain’t the son you raised who used to take the Acura / 5 a.m. to go and shoot Degrassi up on Morningside / for all the stunting, I’ll forever be immortalized”. Toronto in full effect here, his rap ambitions set from an early age.
7. ‘From Time’ Feat. Jhene Aiko
“Passive aggressive when we’re texting, I feel the distance.” Drake talks about his older situations. He flips back to his romantic side with production that has a piano & drums. Something nostalgic for Drake, the perfect backdrop song for R&B songstress Jhene Aiko, who appears on this track. Her sweet and soothing vocals compliment Drake so much. “Been a minute since we kicked it / You’ve been caught up with them bitches / I don’t get it, you’re a star, love / You shouldn’t have to deal with that, I’d never make you feel like that.” It also turns out that — again — she compliments Drake as they act as two lovers reconnecting. Drake’s raps complete the soundtrack for one of the album’s greatest slow ballads.
8. ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ Feat. Majid Jordan
If you haven’t heard about this track you must be not in tune with what’s going on in the world. The song is on radio stations everywhere. Drake is full on a R&B roll as he claims to be the second coming of Marvin Gaye. This song mixed with a theme of the 80’s and a sense of modernism from present day. Classic verses like “I can’t get over you, you left your mark on me/I want your high love and emotion endlessly/Cause you’re a good girl and you know it/You act so different around me.” Drake gets the perfect assistance from newcomer Majid Jordan. They are a Toronto production duo consisting of Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman, who released their own EP as well as having a grip on a huge hit song like this one. No one could have laced the track better than 40 as he is on his usual production duty.
Drake sets in from a clouded musical space, and gets into his usual form. He reminisces of long nights spent in the city of Toronto with a femme fatale. He talks about aspirations to marry, and his battles with being hurt by someone he cares much for. Ultimately being passive about the situation. Drake states: ‘She just wanna run around the city and make memories/That she can barely remember/And I’d allow her, talk about pussy power/She just wanna run over my feelings/Like she drinking and driving in an 18 wheeler/And I’d allow her, talk about pussy power’. This ambient beat fits perfect with the theme of the song. Of course you should know, same city, same friends if your looking for him.
10. ‘The Language’
The Language is a song that carries a club inspired beat. The song may sound something like the flow from ‘Versace’ but guess what? completely different song. Drake boasts on this one;’ I don’t know why they been lying but yo shit is not that inspiring/Bank account statements just look like I’m ready for early retirement/Fuck any nigga that’s talkin’ that shit just to get a reaction/Fuck going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum/I am the kid with the motor mouth/I am the one that you should worry about. Basically don’t try to run your mouth about the boy, he’s paid his dues, he’s made it, who are you to come around and compete? you are irrelevant according to Drizzy, he will body you. Birdman is present on the track as well, blessing Drizzy with his #1 Stunna sound. Now you’re speaking their language.
11. ‘305 to My City’ Feat. Detail
Produced by Detail, we get a grimey song, something that is quite the stripper’s anthem. Saluting the hustle, keeping eye view range with the girl on the pole. This song talks his understanding of the art as well as about drinking too much liquor and influences from the south, some place Drake spent a deal of time in. Drake seemed to get influences from “King of Diamond’s experiences through his lifetime for this one.
12. ‘Too Much’ Feat. Sampha
This is by far the most personal entry of Drake’s life at the moment and the momentum swinging his way. This personal track shows Drake’s rise from the ‘So Far Gone’ era to now. The whole idea is to not worry about things too much, it’s just a new lust for him. He talks about the struggles of fame, and his approach of caution with women. Pays homage to Houston, TX word to Paul Wall & Bun B. He also details the issue money brings to the table and the slowly distant relationship with his family. ‘Money got my whole family going backwards / no dinners, no holidays, no nothing / there’s issues at hand that we’re not discussing’. There are problems even the best rapper might not be able to solve right away. But either way it compliments the album structure, especially with the amazing voice Sampha brings into the song.
13. ‘Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2’ Feat. Jay-Z
For starters this song is full of surprises. There is a luxurious and angelic sample from Ellie Goulding which adds finesse to the beautiful instrumental. Jay Z is featured on this with more than one verse, Timbaland is on the hook itself, and there is the famous saying of Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ which is entailed by Timbo. Drake spits the intro verse, about his small beginnings, and his relentless dedication to his craft. ‘After hours of Il Mulino/Or Sotto Sotto, just talkin’ about women and vino/The contract like ’91 Dan Marino/I swear this got Michael Rapino boostin’ my ego’. Drake references to underdog stories of Miami Dolphins player Dan Marino, quite a nostalgic feel.
Then he departs to Uncle Hova who effortless spits some wisdom on newcomers in the game about what he has achieved. Jay also spits some personal jabs at Beanie Siegel who is still a little sour about things. ‘I’ve done made more millionaires than the lotto did/Dame made millions, Bigg made millions/Ye made millions, Just made millions/Lyor made millions, Cam made millions/Beans tell you if he wasn’t in his feelings.
Paris Morton Music 2
His famous dedication track to Paris Morton, a sequel track to the previous track Paris Morton Music, with the same instrumental from Rick Ross’ track Aston Martin Music. This is the outro to Pound Cake as well as a separate song in itself on a sonic level. ‘Like I didn’t study the game to the letter/And understand that I’m not doin’ it the same, man, I’m doin’ it better’. Drake continues to enrich listeners to the fact that no one does it better.
14. ‘Come Thru’
This track took a sidestep from all the rap to give a more feel-good sensual melody from the 90’s. This one sways away from the dark makeup of the album but nonetheless delivers from an R&B standpoint. “Told my girl to order in, I need the kitchen / yeah they know I got the hook-up, they just wait on me to cook up / baby I heat up the stove, you do the dishes, ya know?” Drizzy is tapping to his romantic side, don’t we all love to do this.
15. ‘All Me’ Feat. Big Sean & 2 Chainz
This song which was rumored to be on Big Sean’s album ended up being a free handed track with no home. Drake slapped the stamp of approval and placed it on Nothing Was The Same. The chorus is the catchiest of them all, Drake counting his blessings, “Came up that’s all me, stay true that’s all me, no help that’s all me, all me forreal”. then gets into Hairweave killer talking high fashion brands. Leading ultimately to Drake touching down to spit some strictly crucial words of knowledge. Sean gets straight to his antics as usual “I’m sorry for the people I’ve pushed out / I’m the type to have a bullet-proof condom and still gotta pull out.” It’s about Drake’s boasts in the middle, backed by a definitely eerie Key Wane beat. Because of the cost of fame Drake articulates on ‘Nothing Was the Same,’ he knows it definitely costs something.
16. The Motion Feat. Sampha
This song which released months ago got a bonus appearance on the deluxe edition. This could be cause of the everlasting sound that fits perfect on the NWTS album. This was a big drop for fans due to the fact that this was a new rendering of Drake’s versatility and sort of a preview of the album. Nonetheless, this track broke the mold and gave a new style to Aubrey. He doesn’t have a fuck to give, remember that!
The Drake train is riding around and you should hop on while you can, space is limited. This album delves into a world of a 26 year-old kid from Toronto that has some struggles in his life. The album makes everything come full circle, giving Drake the opportunity to compare and contrast his past life with his new life. And Nothing Was The Same.
Signed, Sealed & Delivered,