It is hard to imagine music without Drake.
For over a decade, he's been one of the most influential figures not just in Hip-Hop but in music period. He went from a child actor to Lil Wayne's protege to a G.O.A.T. in his own right. Drake's consistency and diversity are what keeps him at the top of the mountain.
But the Canadian megastar's success has come with its share of critics. He's had to combat ghostwriting rumors while fending off claims of being an actor playing a rapper. Despite questions about his talent and authenticity, Drake's career will go down in history.
Drake's upcoming album, Certified Lover Boy, is expected to drop in the first quarter of 2021. While we wait for Drizzy to get his affairs in order, let's revisit some of the blessings from the 6 God.
So Far Gone (2009)
So Far Gone album cover
Technically, this isn't an album. It's a mixtape. But you can't talk about Drake's ascension without mentioning this project. So Far Gone was rap's changing of the guard. Hip-Hop was moving in a new direction sound-wise, and this project became the blueprint.
The album/mixtape was an eclectic compilation of Southern Rap, Alternative Music, and R&B. It helped open the door for experimentation with melodies in Hip-Hop that had been cracked open by the likes of Kanye West and Kid Cudi. So Far Gone also serves as one of the cornerstones of rap's blogger era.
Take Care (2011)
Take Care album cover
Drake's debut album, Thank Me Later, was ambitious yet average. Due to the success of So Far Gone, expectations for Drake's first major-label release were high. The album wasn't terrible. It just didn't have the same level of originality as the iconic mixtape.
However, Drake's second album was a return to form. Take Care is him at his most emo. It features the usual Hip-Hop machismo, but the project's tone is more brooding than braggadocious. Like most Hip-Hop sophomore albums, Drake addresses the effects his newfound fame had on his family, his old flames, and himself.
Nothing Was the Same (2013)
Nothing Was The Same album cover
By 2013, Drake's Midas touch was undeniable. He was rap's go-to-guy when it came to hits. When he wasn't churning out bangers with Rick Ross, French Montana, and DJ Khaled, he looked for new ways to enhance his sound. This quest would culminate in the creation of Nothing Was The Same.
If Take Care was Drake confronting his success, NWTS was him accepting it. His tone was one of an artist starting to recognize their influence on the industry. Drake's ability to jump back and forth between genres can be exhausting, but this album was his most cohesive. And according to Drake, it is his favorite.
Ever the proud Canadian, Views was Drake's love letter to Toronto. Anticipation for Drake's fourth studio album was at a fever pitch. Many thought it was going to be the album that defined his career.
Unfortunately, critics felt Views wasn't anything special. But its AfroBeats-inspired production saw Drake once again becoming the trendsetter when it came to new sounds in Hip-Hop.
The reception for Views might've been a mixed one, but the album's lead single, "Hotline Bling", won two Grammys in 2017.
What a difference two years make. After Views, Drake feuded with friend turned foe Meek Mill, rumors about not writing his own rhymes had surfaced, and he received his first unanimous career loss when he went head to head with his former idol, Pusha T. Fans and critics wondered how Drake would bounce back before the release of his double album, Scorpion.
Scorpion was essentially completed before the Pusha T rivalry. But Pusha's humiliation of Drake motivated him to add a few songs to the tracklist before its release. The album's length allows for more hits than misses, but some of the last-minute additions were a good call.
Did we leave out your favorite Drake project?
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