Written and recorded in six days, Drake’s new collaborative mixtape with Future, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’, as well as providing a great showcase for his Atlanta accomplice’s autotuned raps, proves once more that Drizzy is up there with the greatest rappers in the game. But how does it stack up to his other best work to date? Here are his five best albums and mixtapes so far, ranked in order of melancholy hip-hop brilliance…
5. ‘WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE’ (2015)
A tale of two rappers in very different places. One, Future, has seen heartache dampen the joy of the universal acclaim that accompanied recent album ‘Dirty Sprite 2’ and the other, surprisingly, is the usually mournful Drake. The pair lack chemistry, but there are glimpses of individual brilliance on the likes of ‘Live From
Drakiest lyric: “I just came from dinner where I ate some well-done seared scallops that were to die for/But I got bigger fish to fry” – ‘30 For 30 Freestyle’
4. ‘THANK ME LATER’ (2010)
After a succession of mixtapes, Drake became a rapper worth taking seriously with this debut album. ‘Thank Me Later’ owed a lot to Kanye West’s 2008 auto-tune fest ‘808s & Heartbreak’, and lamented on lost love (‘Fireworks’), fame (‘The Resistance’) and various other insecurities that saw him labelled the Softest Rapper In The Game by Ghostface Killah.
Drakiest lyric: “I’m just such a gentleman, you should give it up for me/Look at how I’m placing all my napkins and my cutlery” – ‘Fireworks’
3. ‘IF YOU’RE READING THIS IT’S TOO LATE’ (2015)
Released without warning earlier this year, ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ finds Drake urgent and relentless, taking shots at fellow rappers, porn stars who snubbed him and, on ‘You & The 6’, even his mum.
Drakiest lyric: “I got bitches asking me for the code to the wi-fi/So they can talk about
their timeline” – ‘Energy’
2. ‘NOTHING WAS THE SAME’ (2013)
Following his leap to mega-stardom, Drake’s newfound confidence brought an aggressive tone to a third album high on rap, low on R&B and lacking in guest slots, although Jay Z snuck onto ‘Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2’.
Drakiest lyric: “I just want some head in a comfortable bed/It could all be so simple” – ‘The Language’
1. ‘TAKE CARE’ (2011)
An album full of immersive production and languid lounge-R&B. Over 18 tracks that feature Rihanna (the title track), Nicki Minaj (‘Make Me Proud’), Kendrick Lamar (‘Buried Alive Interlude’) and The Weeknd (‘Crew Love’), Drake manages to make his self-doubt, melancholia and disappointment seem universal. His masterpiece.
Drakiest lyric: “May your neighbours respect you and trouble neglect you” – ‘Shot For Me’