Here’s a look at his very best albums and mixtapes to date, ranked in order of melancholic hip-hop brilliance…
8. ‘SCORPION’ (2018)
Overblown, overstuffed and short on proper bangers, ‘Scorpion’ saw Drake rest on his laurels, seemingly overly convinced by his own Midas touch. The 25-track, two-parter (split between a rap-heavy Side A and a R&B-leaning Side B) featured the regurgitation of old hooks and flows, application of the same tried-and-tested methods and meditations on all the usual kind of themes, with little growth or experimentation.
As you’d hope on an album that stretches to 90 minutes, there were a few glimpses of Drake’s undoubted brilliance – like the tropical-emo jam of ‘Summer Games’, the emotive and immediate ‘Emotionless’ and ‘Nice For What’, the rapper’s biggest dancefloor anthem since ‘One Dance’.
Drakiest lyric: “She say ‘Do you love me?’ I tell her ‘Only partly,’/I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry” – ‘God’s Plan’
7. ‘WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE’ (2015)
Written and recorded in just six days, Drake’s 2015 collaborative mixtape with Future, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’, provided a perfect showcase for his Atlanta accomplice’s autotuned raps and croons, and displayed great chemistry between the pair.
However, it was mostly Future stealing the spotlight – with Drake in the unusual position of being upstaged or, at times, acting more like a sideman.
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’
6. ‘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’
5. ‘MORE LIFE’ (2017)
2017 “playlist album” ‘More Life’ saw Drake take a step back and showed that he has a pretty great ear as a tastemaker.
Switching between straight-up trap (‘Free Smoke’), Afrobeat (‘Madiba Riddim’), Afro-house (‘Get It Together’) and grime (the Giggs-assisted ‘KMT’), ‘More Life’ played like a musical gap year, serving up the most sonically diverse record of Drake’s entire career.
Drakiest lyric: “Me and being broke finally broke up” – ‘Glow’
4. ‘VIEWS’ (2016)
Critically slated at the time of its release, ‘Views’ stands stronger in retrospect. Sure, it was the beginning of Drake over-saturation and the rapper filling his albums to the brim to maximise streaming revenues – but there also were plenty of killer tracks that are among Drake’s very best.
With a string of five massive singles – ‘Hotline Bling’, ‘One Dance’, ‘Pop Style’, ‘Controlla’ and ‘Too Good’ – this was the peak of Drake’s chart dominance. If only Drake had an editor though…
Drakiest lyric: “All of my ‘let’s just be friends’ are friends I don’t have anymore” – ‘Keep The Family Close’
3. ‘IF YOU’RE READING THIS IT’S TOO LATE’ (2015)
Released without warning, 2015’s ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ mixtape found Drake urgent and relentless, putting R&B on hold for a 27 bar-filled tracks.
Proving that Drake – at his best – is among the strongest rappers in the game, it saw the star take shots at everyone from fellow peers, 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, snippets of ice-old R&B and lacking in guest slots – although Jay-Z did sneak onto ‘Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2’.
It was on this latter track that Drake completely outshone his elder counterpart, proving him to be the real man of the moment.
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 managed to make his self-doubt, melancholia and disappointment seem universal. His masterpiece and the graduation of ‘the boy’ to The Man.
Drakiest lyric: “May your neighbours respect you and trouble neglect you” – ‘Shot For Me’