Album Review: Drake - 'Thank Me Later' (Young Money/Island)
If your name’s not hip-hop, you’re not getting in… What’s that? You’re mates with Jay-Z? Oh, OK then…
What it also proves is that the big-budget hip-hop community needs to expand its talent pool somewhat, because it’s the same old faces that are starting to show up everywhere. [b]‘Thank Me Later’[/b] includes a huge cluster of the same people who guested on [b]‘The Blueprint 3’[/b], for example. Indeed, just as [b]Drake[/b] popped up on [a]Jay-Z[/a]’s album, so the favour is returned on here, and you can add [a]Kanye West[/a], [b]Alicia Keys[/b], [b]Young Jeezy[/b], [b]No ID[/b], [b]Timbaland[/b] and [b]Swizz Beatz[/b] to the list too. [b]Drake[/b]’s effort also includes other heavy-hitters, like [b]Lil Wayne[/b] and [b]TI[/b] – it becomes more a case of who DOESN’T show up for a guest appearance at some juncture. It sounds less like one man’s album, more a social gathering of very rich people over beats, and when you’re throwing so many marquee names into the mix, it suggests a real lack of faith in one’s own material, a case of ‘never mind the quality, just look at all my famous mates’.
And [b]Drake[/b] doesn’t actually really need them – he’s at his best when he goes it alone. The mournful [b]‘Karaoke’[/b] and [b]‘The Resistance’[/b] reveal that, in addition to having a warm, assured flow, [b]Drake[/b] also has a nice line in gentle, soulful vocals.
Of the collaborations, the hook-ups with [b]Young Jeezy[/b] and the jarring, minimalist [b]‘Miss Me’[/b] with [b]Lil Wayne[/b] are the most profitable, the faintly aimless [b]‘Fireworks’[/b], on which [b]Alicia Keys[/b] thankfully refrains from utilising her vocal foghorning, less so. The [b]Jay-Z[/b] guest spot, [b]‘Light Up’[/b], is a bit all over the shop, and to be honest sounds like it was arranged in about five minutes.
What’s striking about [b]‘Thank Me Later’[/b] is the downbeat, sober vibe of it all and the lack of an obvious nightclub banger – the beats generally complement [b]Drake[/b]’s laid-back, meandering rhymes and often the whole thing comes perilously close to – whisper it – trip-hop. But it’s those constant and predictable superstar interjections that prevent the album from standing out as much as it had potential to do. So come on then, modern hip-hoppers – can’t we all try to not get along?
[i]What do you think of the album? Let us know by posting a comment below.[/i]
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