Hype. Its the strangest thing isn't it? If you have it, your album can be successful, even if its lacking that critical reception. Take for example 50 Cent's 2003 debut "Get Rich Or Die Tryin", it was the most hyped debut of a hip-hop album since "Doggystyle" by Snoop Dogg. It delivered on every level it was expected to and elevated 50 to the top of the game. Now lets look at an album like "Attention Deficit" by Wale. Great album, good songs, but with absolutly no hype to it and sold less than 50,000 copies. If "Chillin" was as successful as "In Da Club", maybe Wale would rival Drake for sales right now. Drake is this year's 50. His hype has gotten him to a point that he is as hated as he is loved. Drake however can't end up like the Asher Roth's, & B.O.B's whose debuts didn't match the hype they received. The biggest question mark here is, Can Drake match the hype with good music, or does this release doesn't deserve to be thanked at all.
"Money just changed everything" he speakes on the opener "Fireworks". This is true for Drake considering that he didn't have all of the money and fame last year. It seems like his song "Successful" has fortold what would eventually happen to him. Money, cars, clothes, and hoes have become a more active part in Drake's life recently. "I know way to many people here right now that I didnt know last year, Who the F**k are yall" he spits on the lead single "Over", one of the better tracks on the album with a outstanding beat from Boi-1da. Speaking of Boi-1da, he makes probably the best beats on this album, so expect him to be making a big impact in the game really soon. One of his tracks "Up All Night" see's Drake go for one verse against his "daydream wife" Nicki Minaj. Drake spits a serviceable verse, but Nicki verse is incredible, and see is slowing making me believe that her album will be worth coping. Just like in "Up All Night" though, Drake is outplayed in nearly every feature. Wayne and Jay take turns murdering him on back to back tracks "Light Up" & "Miss Me". T.I beats him at his own ladies game in "Fancy". "Unforgettable" sounds more like a Young Jeezy with a Drake feature. Hell, he's even outsung by The Dream on "Shut It Down". Word of advice to Drake, on your debut, you make yourself look like the most talented artist on the album, not the rookie that you are. I'm not trying to say that these are bad tracks, however, your not listening to these tracks just for Drake, and thats a big problem if its a Drake album.
This album, like every other rap album has fillers. "Karaoke" sounds fruity even for Drake. It has a decent beat, but the singing is horrible, and the rapping is just as bad. "Cece's Interlude" is just not needed and sounds way to overproduced and just plain bad. "Show Me a Good Time" feature a great Kanye beat, and well-written hook, but Drake's verses are written poorly, and delivered even poorer. "Shut it Down" is serviceable until Drake's rap verse is finished, after that, it turns into a lackluster song that should have been split up, with the second half being cut from the album.
The 4 quality solo songs from Thank Me Later shows me the potential I found on his mixtapes. "The Resistance" shows Drake baring his soul and spiting very good verses "I avoided the coke game and went with Sprite instead". "Over" is a very good single and track that does its job. "Find Your Love" gives us singy song Drake, and over this 808 inspired beat, Drake makes this an anthem that anyone can find appealing. The album ends on a pretty good note with "Thank Me Now". Timbaland gives us a great beat (wish we could have gotten some on BP3), as Drake spits an honest verse about his regrets, and successes, and his future. Its the perfect way to end an album like this.
Drake has given us a serviceable debut album. Those who have labeled this as a flop have truely not given it a fair review. This is not the worst he could have done. If he would have made more solo joints, and had less singing, this would have been an amazing debut. Regardless of what we think of this debut, it has become a success. While I expect Drake to learn from his mistakes, this album is good at times, and everyone can find at least one track they like. Future's looking bright from Aubrey Graham.