Friday, July 27, 2012

Andy Itwaru’s In depth analysis of Drake’s ‘Thank Me Later’ June 9/2010 (**VINTAGE**~!)

The online rap community has crowned Drake the logical successor to Soulja Boy. The Toronto rapper’s debut album ‘Thank Me Later’ leaked earlier this week and has the entire rap world either buzzing or speaking coherently. Is Drake everything he claims to be? Andy Itwaru will decide, and you can thank him later! (Please note: the previous sentence was in no way a pun on Drake’s album name, any similarity is purely coincidental. However, the sentences contained within these brackets were planned months in advance.)

One of the things I hated about this album was the amount of time Drake spent discussing his problems. Apparently being famous is hard (aw! Is da wittle wappers neck stwained from the chains he has to wear?). Yes Drake, I’m sure it’s not easy being able to make it rain coin like Mario head butting a question mark box. I’m also sure it’s difficult being flanked by gorgeous women whose job requirements include looking hot, and saying ‘yes’ whenever necessary. Oh if only you could live the humble life of the unemployed blogger, merely writing about such Caligulan activities instead of actually participating in them. Methinks Drake has no real understanding of what it is to be a normal dude, as evidenced with lyrics such as ‘Niggaz wit no money act like money isn’t everything’. As a nigga wit no money, I can assure you that this is not the case. Drake flaunts his hefty pockets often, teasing those less fortunate, he talks about ‘stacking dollars to the perfect height’, perhaps if Drake spent less time constructing scale model towers of money, and spent more time buying drugs he’d be too baked to worry about the foibles of fame. Still, Drake is regretful about his poor spending habits, stating that he’s ‘throwing hundreds when he should be throwing ones’. Granted the rapper might seem a tad careless with his cash flow, but he has nothing worry about, several bars later he rhymes about being ‘twenty three with a money tree, growing more too, I just planted a hundred seeds’. That’s smart, if only other rappers would refrain from spending their initial earnings on frivolous things like: rims, chains, and child support, they could instead invest in a suitable planting area for their own crop of money trees, then when harvest time rolls around, they’ll have enough money for rims, chains, and the legal team necessary to avoid paying child support.

For the most part, Drake carries the entire album by himself, even singing his own hooks. It’s my theory that a majority of the album was recorded before Drake’s money tree crops started to yield, meaning the industrious young rapper had to wear several hats in the production of his album. Still, Drake is not alone on ‘Thank Me Later’ as there are a few guest features on this album.

Nicki Minaj, Drake’s Young Money label mate shows up on the track ‘Up All Night’, responding to an invisible enemy, Minaj quips ‘Fuck I look like ho? I look like yes and you look like no’. I had trouble ascertaining just what the hell Minaj meant by that line. Does Nicki Minaj look like yes? With the aid of the most advanced graphical software piracy can buy, I attempted to answer this question.

I was unable to find the correlation between Nicki Minaj and the word ‘Yes’. Although I’m sure there is a connection, when looking up ‘yes’ on Google image search I got this result:

Perhaps I wasn’t using the right font.

Lil Wayne, Young Money label mate, and current darling of the weed and pill industry pops up on the album as well. Wayne shows growth and maturity on his guest feature, rapping: ‘I walk light so I don’t piss the ground off’.

Most would ignore the ground’s plight, not Wayne.

Young Jeezy offers up his horse southern drawl on the track ‘unforgettable’. ‘So fly I need feathers’ says Jeezy, followed by a birdlike ‘Brrrr’ to make his allusion stick.

Conceptual design of a Young Jeezy’s feather suit, it does seem to make him appear more ‘fly’.

While Jeezy’s verse adds depth to the song, it’s his signature ad-libs that really stand out attacking the listener, and demanding his/her attention.  Jeezy’s finest artistic achievements come from his unequaled work in ad-lib field, watching Jeezy create these gems in the studio must be akin to watching Van Gough paint, or Adriana Lima exist.

The most notable verse comes from revered rap legend Jay-Z, who offers sage like advice to Drake ‘Drake, here is how they gonna come at you with silly raps for you trying to distract you in disguise, in the form of a favor They Barzini me, watch for the traitors’ Schooling the young rhymer on the finer points of the game, Jay comes off like Cliff Huxtable on wax.

I’m not all negativity on ‘Thank Me Later’. Drake’s lyrics sometimes hit close to home for this reviewer. I can relate to his rhymes about trouble with women, as I have met several on numerous occasions. In his song ‘The Renaissance’ he laments about his grandmother’s placement in a nursing home, and how he never calls, and yet he goes out of his way to give his number to a girl at the mall. Drake has little reason to be upset about this, he made the right choice. His grandmother isn’t going anywhere; he knows exactly where she’ll be. Whereas he might’ve never seen that girl at the mall again! I’m sure his grandmother wouldn’t mind, she’s probably been around enough to know what’s important in life. I’d imagine her response to rappers guilt would be something like:

 Drake second guesses himself throughout the course of this album. In the exact same song, Drake describes getting a text message from a girl regretting her decision to abort their baby, while the girl he’s currently in bed with reads the message. Once again Drake has nothing to worry about. For one thing, the text message proves the girl he was with held him in such high regard that she considered keeping his child, and for another thing, who cares what the other girl thinks?

Drake’s biggest problem is that he’s another one of these rappers rapping about rapping. Talking about spending time in the recording booth, and trying his best at what he does. YAWN! Whenever a Rapper raps about rapping its banal, redundant, superfluous, and unnecessary, not to mention repetitive and redundant! The closest equivalent I can think of would be a writer writing about writing. Like say for example I went on about how much time it took making screen caps of Young Jeezy’s face in order to make a tepid gag about ad-libs work. That would be banal, redundant, superfluous, and unnecessary, not to mention repetitive and redundant! Young Drake is so wrapped up in relationships and living well, that he spends no time at all catering to any sort of gangsterism!  In the entire fourteen track LP, not once is anyone murdered or even threatened. In fact, it is a disturbing reality that not one person was harmed in the making of this album. It’s this disgusting trend that has put hip hop in the state it’s in today. His stubborn reluctance to discuss anything hood is disappointing, and its not like he couldn’t do it, for Christ’s sake the man was wheelchair bound from a gunshot wound!

 His miraculous recovery isn’t once mentioned on this album either, a tremendous oversight in my opinion.

Drake also has this annoying habit of pointing out the origins of his references. Examples are numerous such as: ‘Bout to set it off in this bitch, Jada Pinkett’ or ‘everything is kosher, two thumbs up, Ebert and Roeper’. Forgive me for being anal, but that’s annoying. Imagine someone putting on a mock Kazakhstan accent and yelling ‘High five!’ now imagine someone putting on a mock Kazakhstan accent and yelling ‘High five… BORAT!’ it’s annoying once, but when repeatedly sprinkled over this hour long album, it becomes maddening. His worst offense comes from the line: ‘I’m just filling up this daily planner getting busy cause I’m a star, no spangled banner jealous dudes get to talking in there music And I just say I wrote it for your girlfriends, Kelsey Grammar.’ If I didn’t know Kelsey Grammar was the executive producer for the show Girlfriends (I’m straight I swear!) that line would have been nonsensical instead of just retarded. Luckily, I knew the reference, so I refrained from throwing my advance press copy of ‘Thank me Later’ into the trash bin, just kidding- I downloaded it for free like everyone else did.

Drake’s album is underwhelming and uninspired. While I have yet to actually hear the album, I’ve can safely come to this conclusion after extensive note taking from other blog reviews. Hopefully when Drake’s next album comes out the online reception will be better. Until then I’ll have to give Drake’s ‘Thank Me Later’ three Rakims and a Bushwick bill out of ten.

 / 10
-Andy Itwaru

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