Take Care On his platinum-selling 2010 debut, Thank Me Later , Drake managed to blend his special brand of understated Canadian ­swagger with surprisingly vulnerable ­reflections on… Take Care On his platinum-selling 2010 debut, Thank Me Later , Drake managed to blend his special brand of understated Canadian ­swagger with surprisingly vulnerable ­reflections on… 2011-11-15 Drake Hip-Hop/Rap Cash Money
Music Review

Take Care (2011)

DRAKE ON BREAK The Canadian rapper loses some of his swagger on his sophomore effort
Image credit: Brian Patterson/Corbis
DRAKE ON BREAK The Canadian rapper loses some of his swagger on his sophomore effort
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Release Date: Nov 15, 2011; Lead Performance: Drake; Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Production: Cash Money

On his platinum-selling 2010 debut, Thank Me Later, Drake managed to blend his special brand of understated Canadian ­swagger with surprisingly vulnerable ­reflections on the opposite sex. It didn't reinvent the wheels of steel, but it acted as both a statement of his vast potential and a titillating wake-up call for hip-hop.

Unfortunately, his second album, Take Care — the bulk of which made its way online over the past several months via individual leaks by Drake himself — spends most of its 17 tracks hitting the snooze button. The ­battle-rap savagery that electrified his ­mixtapes is almost entirely absent here. Instead, he half-bakes his woozy rap-croon and glazes it with sluggish keyboard hums, ­stalling the album's momentum even when Nicki Minaj does her whirling-dervish act on the disjointed ''Make Me Proud.''

Drake saves all his chest-thumping bluster for ''Lord Knows,'' an impossibly huge track built around a bug-eyed gospel choir and a heroic victory verse care of Rick Ross. But that pride is fleeting; soon it's right back to drumless bouts of existential doubt and post-coital tristesse. It's possible to lay out all your psychological issues on a commercial rap album — Kanye West does it all the time. What Drake needs is a few more punchlines to brighten up his monochromatic therapy sessions. Surely Canada's excellent healthcare system can underwrite that. C+

Download These:
Silky, Rihanna-boosted Take Care
Shoulder-shrugging Lord Knows

Originally posted Nov 16, 2011 Published in issue #1182 Nov 25, 2011 Order article reprints
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