|Album Rating: A|
Drake, in my opinion, was never meant to be a rapper. He started his career as an actor on the Canadian teen-drama Degrassi, where he played Jimmy, a boy who became handicapped and was limited to a wheelchair. To break from this must've been difficult, especially in a hip-hop scene that is more hateful than anything. Drake has set himself on a completely different path than his peers. In so, he has created one of the best hip-hop records in the past decade.
Nothing Was The Same is a phrase that is repeated multiple times throughout the album, and it sums up Drake, and his somewhat "reinvention," well. Drake is no longer just a rapper. He has showed his vocal chops before on past releases, but never to the extent as he does here. "Hold On, We're Going Home," is the best R&B song of the year, and makes up for the lack of Frank Ocean from 2013's releases. On most tracks, Drake treads the line between rapping and singing, and it plays very nicely with the well constructed back rhythms. The beats of the tracks are never overbearing or cluttered, and Drake presents them as soulfully and simple as his voice. Besides the anthemic opener, "Tuscan Leather," most tracks lean towards laid back territory.
"Started from the Bottom" was another classic Drake song, that never reached the same status as "The Motto," but was still iconic. On the album though, it does feel slightly out of place, and it works nicely that it gets itself out of the way quickly. The middle section of the record is where Drake shines though. On "Worst Behavior" and "From Time," he opens up and shares personal feelings about his relationships, family, and yes, even his past on Degrassi. It makes for a great listening experience and is truly newfound for a rapper of his stature to talk about true personal issues.
Even though the peak of the album comes in the middle, the end does not let down. It is a bit of a shame though that two of the best songs are missing from the standard edition and only appear on the deluxe version of the album ("Come Thru" and "All Me").
Nothing Was The Same is an iconic and career defining album for Drake. It pushes him in a different direction than what is expected and opens up so many doors for his next move. Nothing was the same, and it will never be the same for Drake.
1. Tuscan Leather
2. Furthest Thing
3. Started From The Bottom
4. Wu-Tang Forever
5. Own It
6. Worst Behavior
7. From Time
8. Hold On, We're Going Home
10. The Language
11. 305 To My City
12. Too Much
13. Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2