Take Care will confuse a lot of Drake enthusiasts because the Young Money pretty boy’s sophomore album transcends the conformity of traditional rap records. Not only does Drake flawlessly blend R and B and rap, he also touches on subject matter that supersedes “money talk.” In the year it has taken him to come up with the sequel to 2010’s Thank Me Later, Drake has managed to put together a compilation of songs that are deeply personal and remain true to his balanced sound.
The album’s production and guest appearances help to beautifully deliver Drake’s sound; both aspects amplify and contrast it. Luckily, Drake kept his close friend Noah “40” Shebib on deck to help with the production of 13 of 17 songs. Forty — who has been producing for Drake since 2009 — blends simple synths, strings or keys with soft beats to compliment Drake’s cooing vocals. The beauty of his production is that no instrumental overpowers Drake’s delivery. The drunk-dialer’s anthem “Marvin’s Room” is already a popular example of this tandem. Another instance in which the vibes and voice blend perfectly is “Crew Love.” The track, featuring Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd, has the perfect amount of background music to compliment Drake’s rapping. This balance exists throughout the album; in other tracks, Drake will sing while guests like Lil Wayne and Andre 3000 (“The Real Her”) contrast with deliveries of strong bars.
One of the standout moments on the album is the addition of “Buried Alive (Interlude),” featuring Kendrick Lamar, to “Marvin’s Room.” An up-and-coming artist, Lamar raps about how Drake blessed him with a chance to break into the mainstream. This guest appearance is eerily reminiscent of J. Cole’s feature on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3 and a nod to the popular realization that Drake is now one of rap’s greatest artists. He blesses newcomers with opportunities.
To drive the point home, Drake ends his album with “The Ride,” his self-described magnum opus. After countless bars of his highs and lows, Drake concludes it all with a promise. The last verse declares how rap’s veterans were afraid after his first album, how the world was excited for his second and how his “junior and senior will only get meaner. Take care.” In other words, Drake isn’t going anywhere — we have (at least) two more albums to which we can look forward.