‘Nothing Was the Same’ Drake
Drake warns us whats coming on his new album Nothing Was the Same, laying out a mission statement of sorts on sprawling opener Tuscan Leather.
This is nothin for the radio/but theyll still play it though/Cause its that new Drizzy Drake/thats just the way it go.
One of the most anticipated rap albums of the year is here and Nothing Was the Same is probably nothing like you expected. Drakes third album is introspective, practically guest free and every bit as brave as Kanye Wests Yeezus – though not quite so abrasively bold.
Drakes right. There are no radio cuts here – a predictable inevitability after he debuted Started from the Bottom last winter. That song was nothing like the music Drake released on 2011s top album, the Grammy Award-winning Take Care. Yet it got stronger, more mesmerizing and meaningful with each play, and it remains among the most streamed songs in a year overstuffed with sickly sweet pop tunes.
While there were introspective lyrics and moments on Take Care, the album was filled with songs meant to be played at top volume with the windows rolled down. The party is over now. Nothing is for dark rooms and headphones.
There are few hooks here, almost no choruses, not much to sing along to. The heart-on-his-sleeve rapper with a million friends and the tightest of crews seems all alone here after ridding himself of fake friends, trying to sort out why all the success, the money, drugs and women leave him with a hollow feeling.
He tells us over the course of the album how his relationships with his family and friends, like Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, have been strained.
The only pleasant memories seem to come from his childhood – represented by that chubby-cheeked cherub in the cover painting – and the 90s are all over the album, serving as touchstone, reminder and measuring stick.
He references the Wu-Tang Clan in the song Wu-Tang Forever and in a half-dozen other places. Nothing is full of the kind of studied minimalism and sped-up soul vocal samples favored by RZA and his acolytes like West, who well get back to in a minute. But hes not aping the game-changers as much as using them as a landmark.
So the biggest star in the rap world retreats. Ive been plottin on the low, he sings on Furthest Thing, Schemin on the low, the furthest thing from perfect like everybody I know.