Best To Worst: Drake’s Solo Projects

Jun 20 2017 BY bespokemag

Gerald – Music

  1. 1. So Far Gone
  2. 2. Take Care
  3. 3. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  4. 4. More Life
  5. 5. Thank Me Later
  6. 6. Comeback Season
  7. 7. VIEWS
  8. 8. Nothing Was the Same
  9. 9. Room For Improvement

 

Before I enter my long spiel on my best to worst Drake solo projects, doing this list has made me realise the guy’s released a tonne of quality music in such a short time, so credit to the 6ix God for that. Right, in doing my list I considered a few factors as to why the project deserved to be number one which was 1. did it change the sound/or musical landscape at the time 2. lyrical ability and 3. nostalgia. With that being said So Far Gone (SFG) made it to number one on my list but this is by all no means a stretch, as Take Care (TC) easily deserves the top spot too. But my reasoning for why SFG beats TC is simply because there are duds on TC and there aren’t any on SFG. Songs like “Make Me Proud”, “Headlines” and “We’ll Be Fine” particularly “Make Me Proud” are very poor songs in my opinion and tarnish what should be Drake’s greatest project.

The thing with SFG as to why it’s the best; it’s the first time Drake’s music was presented to everyone on a global scale following on from his previous mixtapes and getting the backing from Lil’ Wayne. SFG is artistically Drake’s now renowned sound, emo-rap with 40’s now acclaimed 808s production, Drake gave us his life experiences in such a way no rapper had done before he had on SFG and while this is something he still does to this day, it felt far more real back then as he wasn’t the global artist we see today. Plus I just feel the sound was so new back then and was so different and was the blueprint of his now loved sound we hear today.

TC follows on from SFG – as Thank Me Later lost the sound Drake had started and replaced it with a commercial sound which was evident he wasn’t comfortable with – but TC is the project that made Drake a world-beater he is today – so if that isn’t in anyone’s top 2 then they’re delusional. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (IYRTITL) is arguably Drake’s best lyrical project, like Drizzy really rapped on that project, and its a shame he doesn’t do that more. More Life, Thank Me Later, Comeback Season are simply great listens for any occasion. VIEWS and Nothing Was the Same were weak projects for me, particularly the latter – I haven’t listened to it since 2013. Lastly, Room For Improvement has a Drake who hadn’t yet found his sound or his lyrical ability plus I can’t remember the last time anyone listened to it.

 

Ernest – Music/Sport

  1. 1. Take Care
  2. 2. So Far Gone
  3. 3. More Life
  4. 4. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  5. 5. Comeback Season
  6. 6. Thank me Later
  7. 7. Nothing Was the Same
  8. 8. Room For Improvement
  9. 9. VIEWS

 

Thankfully for Drake fans like myself, we haven’t had to wait too long for the next Drake project and in that time, Drake has provided us with some wonderful music. Despite being released 6 years ago now, Take Care is still Drake’s best project. The flows were switched up and the production was much more seamless thanks to 40, Boi-1da and T-Minus. We can’t forget how the album releases were received such as the phenomena of “Marvin’s Room” and then “The Motto” just prior to the album release date. Although Take Care still has a few weak tracks such as “I’m So Proud” and “We’ll Be Fine”, they were easily outweighed by tracks such as “Lord Knows” and “Look What You’ve Done”. Of course it was So Far Gone that set Drake on his way to stardom and there’s no surprise as he produced a brilliant body of work. What comes with So Far Gone is the nostalgia of 2009 and when we had first listened to tape. “Lust For Life” and the classic “Say What Real is” are all major factors to why So Far Gone is a fantastic project. Take Care just edges it for me as it’s evident more care was taken, (pardon the pun) when it came to production, new ideas & flows and generally making a cohesive body of work.

Although it’s yet to see how well the ‘playlist’ will age, More Life makes the top 3 for me as it was something that was very enjoyable to listen to from start to finish. Drake explored with a variety of different sounds such as deep house with “Get Together”, an afrobeats sound with “Madiba Riddim” & a Caribbean feel with “Blem” – all of which he pulled off very well. A lot of the tracks with features worked well such as “Sacrifices” and “Portland”. I also love the fact that that he embraced the UK culture on the project with appearances from Giggs, Skepta and Jorja Smith. On If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake set out to just spit bars and that’s exactly what he done. Of course, the hysteria of “Know Yourself” can’t be forgotten and was a massive part of the success of the tape. Stand out tracks for me being “No Telling”, “Star67” and “Company” contribute to what is a good, good project from the 6 God. Comeback Season was another project where Drake was just on rapping bars. He showcased his talent with content, great wordplay and nice delivery which were signs of things to come. As expected being further on his career and with a more mature sound to his music, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late gets the nod ahead of Comeback Season for me.

Thank Me Later was a good effort from Drake. I sympathise with him in the sense that he was rushed to release the album as at the time he was popping and the label needed to put something out. It was clear to see that it wasn’t a debut album that Drake wanted to make. The cohesion and production centered around 40 wasn’t there. Instead he drafted in big producers and big artists for features. Take Care was more what Drake wanted his debut album to be but it’s alright as we still got Take Care in the end.

I don’t like Nothing Was the Same and VIEWS is trash. Nothing Was the Same is a forgettable album for me. It’s annoying because “Tuscan Leather” is probably Drake’s best intro to an album. Followed up by “Furthest Thing” with a beat switch up, you expect great things from the album. Nonetheless, after that, there’s only a few I’d bother listening to. On VIEWS, out of 19 tracks (not including “Hotline Bling”), having about 5 or 6 that are any good is bad return. Considering the anticipation that came with VIEWS you would’ve expected something better from Drake but I guess not. There were just too many filler quality tracks, especially at a stage where Drake was at the top of the rap game.

 

Chris – Music

  1. 1. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  2. 2. Take Care
  3. 3. So Far Gone
  4. 4. More Life
  5. 5. Nothing Was The Same
  6. 6. Comeback Season
  7. 7. Thank Me Later
  8. 8. Room For Improvement
  9. 9. Views

 

This order may be the black sheep of this series of rate Drake’s discography, but for me the list was decided by one track. Make Me Proud. Drake’s attempt at pandering towards his female demographic stopped Take Care from being his undisputed number 1 project in my own opinion. The annoying chorus and with it being sandwiched in between two of the stronger rapping songs from Take Care means that it is just below Drake’s number 1 album.

Embracing a style similar to Jay-Z between Vol.1 to Vol.3 days on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late you really felt as if Drake was rapping from a perspective of Mufasa looking at the rest of industry from the top of a mountain. Combining sharp vulgar subliminals, directed at Tyga, Kendrick Lamar & P. Diddy. Frank and astute lines over dark, atmospheric backdrops, which were reminiscent of Havoc’s work on Mobb Deep’s 2nd album, Hell on Earth. There isn’t a weak track here, which cemented this as Drake magnum opus in my opinion.

More Life might be a surprise with it’s ranking over Nothing Was the Same. Despite its uneven sequencing and it’s dreary album length (81 + minutes), it is a very enjoyable album, which has allowed Drake to extend his musical style. Nothing Was The Same suffered from a bad patch in the middle and end of the album, where Drake lazily tried to incorporate the chopped and screwed pioneered by DJ Screw. An experiment which Drake thankfully has not revisited.

The bottom of my list is highlighted by 2016’s biggest album, VIEWS. It may have been the most popular and the Drake’s most grossing project but it was a spectacularly poor album. This was Drake at his worst, from auto-piloting many of the tracks with terrible punchlines, (“Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum”) questionable sequencing (Keep The Family Close as the intro) and tired concepts – this was Drake’s Nastradamus. His Kingdom Come. His Encore. An album where his commercial reception may be great, but artistically flat.

 

Sidney – Style

  1. 1. Take Care
  2. 2. So Far Gone
  3. 3. More Life
  4. 4. Thank Me Later
  5. 5. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
  6. 6. Comeback Season
  7. 7. VIEWS
  8. 8. Nothing Was the Same
  9. 9. Room For Improvement

 

Over the 8 or so years in which I’ve been listening to Drake he’s proved himself to be a pretty big deal in Hip Hop. His hold on the industry in recent times has gone near unmatched, and although a little volatile in quality his catalog does more than stand its ground when compared to that of his peers. With that being said, ranking his work has always proved a tough task. In doing so I tend to factor in two things: my first impressions of Drake’s rapping and or singing on the piece, and the amount of playback time its enjoyed since dropping. As such, Take Care has to take the crown for me. The album takes me straight back to Uni and sits quite comfortably as a modern classic. It’s perhaps Drake’s most honest body of work and houses “Marvin’s Room” – a tune that enjoyed plays for a whole summer.

As is the case with a lot of Hip Hop artists, Drake’s mixtapes are also among the best of his work. Although So Far Gone speaks to a Drake that’s probably still searching for his sound, it gifts us such bangers as “November 18th” and “Successful”. Thank Me Later sits a fair bit below it though, and that’s mostly because “Fancy” grew to jar me.

More Life is a little harder to place. On the one hand it has the unfair advantage of time on its hand being the most recent of released work, and on the other it houses some genuinely good music. The only thing holding it back from higher placing is the fact I prefer the work of the guests on the album over the vocals of Drake himself. It introduced me to a new Young Thug; well-spoken and able to enunciate. And Skepta’s Interlude is perhaps one of the gassiest bits of music on the playlist full stop. Drake’s best rapping contribution comes in the last track, “Do Not Disturb”. Unfortunately, by that point I’m more impressed by Giggs, Skepta, Quavo, Thug and 2 Chainz. My high points on those projects placed above it – “Cameras/Good Ones Go” on Take Care, to point to an example – are those Drake plays a larger part in, vocally speaking.

His remaining projects sit pretty closely together. IYRTITL reaps the benefits of having one of my favourite Drake tunes, “Jungle” on its tracklist. And ultimately, whatever way you dice it, NWTS is always coming near bottom for me – it just hasn’t had the staying power that some of the other projects have enjoyed.