It’s been a long time since I’ve seen as much hype surround an album as I have for Drake’s third studio album Nothing Was The Same! Actually, now that I think back on it, I think Drake’s sophomore album Take Care was the last time I’ve seen so much hype surround a project. With great hype, (usually) comes great music. So did Drake live up to the the expectations and prove the doubters wrong? Check out our track-by-track review below and find out.
1. Tuscan Leather
Drake starts this album off right with a dope introduction in “Tuscan Leather,” where he boasts his ego with lines like “This is nothin’ for the radio, but they’ll still play it though/Cause it’s that new Drizzy Drake, that’s just the way it go.” He also has to remind the fans and haters of his success with lines like: “Bench players talkin’ like starters, I hate it” and the short and simple line, “My life’s a completed checklist.” On another note, the beat that Noah “40” Shebib created for this track is incredible and one-of-a-kind. This is how you start an album, rappers take notes!
2. Furthest Thing
Drake almost contradicts the intro with the second track, “Furthest Thing,” as he admits to not being perfect. Drake opens up with the lines: “Somewhere between psychotic and iconic/Somewhere between I want it and I got it/Somewhere between I’m sober and I’m lifted/Somewhere between a mistress and commitment.” These lines show where Drake sees himself in life, admitting that he’s not at the top of any life category.
Drake also reflects on how the fame has impacted his life in a negative aspect, rapping lines like: “People I believed in they don’t even show they face now/Nothin’ really changed but still they look at me a way now.” Sure, Drake has acquired fame and money, but that doesn’t necessarily change him as a person. This song can be very relatable to people with a lot of money and who have had friends turn on them for that reason, but even if it’s not relatable, this song is very catchy and the Jake Uno beat is perfection.
3. Started From The Bottom
Everybody and their pet bird has heard the first official single from the album, Started From The Bottom. The song continues Drake’s story of rags to riches and is as catchy as they come. Mike Zombie also put together a nice beat for this track. Check out the video for the anthem below.
4. Wu-Tang Forever
Here’s another track that was released before the album leaked/released, Wu-Tang Forever. The track samples the Wu-Tang Clan’s It’s Yourz and of coarse, Noah “40” Shebib flips it to make a dope instrumental. With a title like Wu-Tang Forever, you’d expect a raw, hard-body rap song, but that’s not what this song is – at all. The song can actually be looked at in two different ways, one can be about a complex relationship with a woman, or it can be looked at as Drake’s relationship with the rap game, hence the line “I just gave the city life, it ain’t about who did it first/It’s ’bout who did it right, niggas lookin’ like “Preach.”
5. Own It
Own It is a follow-up to the previous track, Wu-Tang Forever, by flipping the meaning and rapping about his deep feelings for a woman. The smooth background crooning comes courtesy of OVO’s latest signee, PartyNextDoor. The track is rather short and I personally feel that the album could’ve done without this one. While the hook is catchy and the background vocals are soothing, the track really doesn’t serve a major purpose in the album and I don’t see myself playing this one more than a couple times.
6. Worst Behavior
For track #6, Drake picks back up on the boastful lyricism over a Kanye-like beat courtesy of DJ Dahi. Drizzy comes hard at his doubters and people who thought he would never make it in this cruel world – “They used to never want to hear us, remember? Mufucka never loved us, remember?” This track can be used as a great motivational track – prove the doubters wrong by working hard and never giving up on your dream!
7. From Time (Feat. Jhene Aiko)
From Time is a track that has a completely different meaning and tone than the previous track, which makes them hard to listen to in order. Although the placement isn’t the best, the track is very Drake-like and features a smooth intro and hook from the lovely Jhene Aiko, who has an incredible voice. The song serves as a long conversation between Drake and a woman he used to date, opening up with “What’s up? Been a minute since we kicked it, you’ve been caught up with them bitches.” The song is all about past loves that never worked out and the regrets that he has now. As I said, the song is very Drake-like, which isn’t a bad thing.
8. Hold On, We’re Going Home (Feat. Majid Jordan)
Here is a track that I didn’t like at first but now it’s a song that I never skip when it comes on shuffle on my iPhone. Drake initially said that this track is timeless and he wants it to be played at weddings 10 years down the road. I was originally skeptic of that claim, but after listening to the track a mere 30-40 times, I can definitely see this being true because it truly is timeless. The background vocals from Majid Jordan impress me every single time and I want this song to be played at my wedding. No lie.
Track #9 is the Hudson Mohawke-produced track Connect, a song about, yep you guessed it, a relationship with an old flame. Drake reminisces back on an on-and-off relationship where he and an old girlfriend used to always argue and still make things work, hence the opening lines – “Isn’t it amazing how you talk all this shit and we still lack communication/How beautiful our kids would be, girl, I don’t need convincing/How every conversation starts with “This time will be different”.” The track also samples Trae tha Truth’s Swang track, reminding us of his respect for Houston, Drake’s “second home.”
10. The Language (Feat. Birdman)
If you are a fan of the rapping Drake, this will likely be one of your favorites from the album. Drake opens up with a Versace-like flow in a possible Kendrick Lamar response with the line “I don’t know why they been lying but your shit is not that inspiring/Fuck any nigga that’s talkin’ that shit just to get a reaction.” It can also be looked at as just a general diss to other rappers who think they’re music is hot or dissing for recognition. The outro from Birdman is necessary and adds a nice touch to the track. The Boi-1da, Ritter and Vinylz-produced track is one of the standouts from the album and is a representation as to why Drake is one of Hip-Hop’s elites.
11. 305 To My City (Feat. Detail)
Track #11, 305 To My City, is an ode to a certain stripper and her work ethic. Early on, Drake says “I get it, I get it, I get it, I get it/Your hustle don’t ever go unnoticed baby, I’m with you I’m with it,” showing that he appreciates her hard work for that money. Unfortunately, the extremely catchy and short hook from Detail is the only reason I’d want to listen to this song again. The verses just didn’t do anything for me and the song isn’t going be relatable for most.
12. Too Much (Feat. Sampha)
Finally! It’s about time I get to write about my favorite song from the album, Too Much. The song is very relatable to me and possibly to a lot of you guys/girls reading this. The record opens up with the slow, smooth hook from Sampha, reciting “Don’t think about it too much, too much, too much, too much/There’s no need for us to rush it through.” Drake once again raps about the negative effects of being famous and having money, as highlighted in the second verse. One of the lines from the second verse is, “Money got my whole family going backwards/No dinners, no holidays, no nothing/There’s issues at hand that we’re not discussing.”
One of the most important lines on this song is an actual message to his mom – “Guess since my text message didn’t resonate, I’ll just say it here/Hate the fact my mom cooped up in her apartment, telling herself/That she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do shit, like that’s true shit.” If you listen really hard to these lyrics, it’s actually very sad and Drake does a great job of portraying such a deep part of his life. As I said earlier, this song is easily my favorite from the album.
13. Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2 (Feat. Jay Z)
The closing track (for the standard edition) is the Jay Z-featured track Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2, a 7-minute double track that looks incredible on paper but doesn’t live up to the hype. Drake once again samples the Wu-Tang Clan for Pound Cake, with a sample of their classic track C.R.E.A.M.. Drake and Jay both rap about money and fame for the most part and it works but the track just doesn’t really have any replay value, especially since it’s so long. Drake references Dan Marino’s $23 million contract in the line “The contract like ’91 Dan Marino,” while Hov boasts his wealth with the line “Cake, cake-cake, cake-cake, cake/500 million, I got a pound cake.” Drake then flips the beat into the second track, Paris Morton Music 2, the sequel to his 2010 track Paris Morton Music. In this track, Drake continues to boast himself and calls himself the “greatest of my generation.” It’s a good closing to a great album but nothing too special.
14. Come Thru
The first deluxe bonus track is Come Thru, a track that I though should’ve made the standard edition in place of another track. Drake once again reminisces about an old flame who lived in the same town he’s in – “I was trippin’ off how I used to sleep at ya crib, Should drive by right where you live, and pick you up on the way.” Drake’s rhymes are on point and the track is definitely one that shouldn’t be left out when listening to the whole album.
15. All Me (Feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean)
This track was also released pre-leak and it was originally a freebie but Drake decided to put it on the deluxe version of Nothing Was The Same. The 2 Chainz and Big Sean-featured track All Me is a club banger and I can already see people going crazy when Big Sean cuts off Drake by yelling “Hoe shut the fuck up” line before he starts his verse. All three artists kill their verses and the track should be played at high levels when cruising down the street with the windows cracked.
16. The Motion (Feat. Sampha)
Drake released this song a while back when he dropped 4 songs at once and they were all thought to be freebies but it seems that Drake saw more than a freebie in The Motion, as did I. The track is about a past relationship and the smooth hook and background vocals from Sampha keep this song fresh.
Though many of the songs on the album are about past relationships and females in general, Drake finds a way to make them all sound different and uses lyrical techniques that other artists need to take note of.
Drake’s storytelling throughout the album reminds me of J. Cole. Even though they tell two different stories, they both seem to portray them in such a manner that it’s easy to understand and feel the emotion within the lyrics. It seems like Drake made this album more for his fans and not so much for the radio, which I respect.
The pacing of the album was good for the most part but I personally did not like the transition from tracks 6 & 7, Worst Behavior and From Time. The reason for the criticism is because they are two different stories placed back-to-back, whereas other songs like Wu-Tang Forever and Own It transition perfectly into one another. Then again, the album isn’t like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, it isn’t one long story.
While Drake has progressed lyrically since his last album Take Care, which won a grammy, I don’t see him winning a Grammy for Nothing Was The Same.
All in all, Drake has crafted a great album but I honestly do not think it lived up to the extreme hype. With that being said, I’m not sure that any album released this year would be able to live up to the such an extreme hype level.
We would love to hear your opinion on the album, so give it a rating below and drop a comment on your thoughts!