Review Summary: A solid enough debut that showcases a lot of promise for what is to come but still has some edges that need to be trimmed.
Now three studio albums into his career, Drake has propelled himself right to the forefront of the music industry with his charismatic and honest style of rapping coupled with a string of successful singles. Many people discredit him through the loathing of the phrase "Y.O.L.O" he popularized with one of his most popular songs from his debut album, or for his egotistical lyrical content on many songs, but when listened to he is actually considerably more talented than many give him credit for. His debut album is entitled Thank Me Later, and is a rather solid foundation for him to build off.
On this album Drake had everything to prove, coming off of the back of the well known songs The Motto and Over, and he accomplishes this goal. Like a moth to a flame, Drake goes straight for the sun with his arrogant but well written tracks, with other renowned artists making the occasional appearance to sweeten the deal. The album deals with primarily his rise to fame and how he will deal with it, and how he wishes to prove himself to be among the best rappers of the day, and he hits the mark really well. However, he is also rather thankful to his fans on this album, opening the first track Firework with the line "Money just changed everything, I wonder how life without it would go."
Drake's lyrical content is very strong for a modern-day rapper, standing skyscrapers above many of today's rappers who just deal with street content. Firework serves as a strong introduction to the album, but the peak of his lyrical content comes on one of the singles, Over. This track deals with the idea that once he has got to the top of the rap game he will never let it go, and the confidence seeping through his voice really forces this message across. He acknowledges that now he knows so many people he hadn't known before he made the big time and how he never wants to let it go, with a cool music video depicting the events of the song.
The beats here are the one thing that really lets it down a little bit. Many of them are not particularly well put together, with Firework and The Motto being two of the catchier, more memorable ones. Karaoke tries to funk things up a little bit with a beat that would not sound out of place in a 1990's disco club, but unfortunately it does not really suit this album at all. Another hurdle that Drake encounters on his first studio release is time management. Whilst many of the songs clock under four minutes, they really feel like they drag on, with the aforementioned Karaoke being the worst of the bunch, being a sing-a-long throughout. Fancy is a song that goes over the five minute mark that completely fails to maintain any interest despite the abundance of guest appearances.
Drake's debut is a mixed bag of an album that actually gets more right than it does wrong. Drake himself is solid on here, it is the production that lets it down a little. Many of the guest appearances are well used, including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, and a surprising BOOST to a song given by Lil Wayne. This is an album that I recommend for the simple fact that it is solid enough to listen to.