Nothing Was the Same was released 7 years ago today
On this day in 2013, Drake released Nothing Was the Same, his last great record.
Drizzy's first outing on Thank Me Later was a revolutionary debut in terms of its rap and R&B mesh, but it remained stiff and rudimentary compared to what we knew was possible from the emcee, especially when compared to the cult following that ensued with So Far Gone. "Thank Me Later was the one and only project that was influenced by...where I was at in my career at the time," Drake said of the project in last year's interview with Rap Radar. "I think I felt a lot of pressure to prove that I knew big famous people...it was definitely the one project that had the least personal touches."
But when Take Care arrived, it was a formative record that reimagined what was possible for the emcee. Despite leaking six days early, the album made countless "Best Of" lists for 2011, snagged a Grammy win, and eventually went six times platinum. The achievements inevitably excited Drake and made him all the more loquacious. "Dropped Take Care, bought a motherf***** crib / And I'm picking up the keys to the b*tch right now," he raps on French Montana's "Pop That."
"You underestimated greatly. Most number ones ever, how long did it really take me," enunciated on "5am in Toronto." By the time Nothing Was the Same's existence was confirmed, Drake had already accommodated himself with the A-list lifestyle. He did indeed buy a new mansion and announced his new record by cruising around Toronto in a brand new Buggati.
The minimalist R&B softy who shrugged through the lyric "I just been playing, I ain't even notice I was winning" had realized his full potential. "Seem like everybody calling cause they want me on their song, It's like every time I touch it, I can never do no wrong," he bellows on "The Motion."
NWTS remains a transcendent record, a near-flawless execution of the rap/pop hybrid Drizzy had been striving for. "[Nothing Was the Same] is probably my most concise album," the OVO crooner told Rap Radar, "and within that concise offering was a lot of great sh*t." It introduced fans to the sadboy sprinklings of PARTYNEXTDOOR, the debut OVO signee who would be the next torchbearer for Drizzy's petty love-stricken aesthetic. Buoyant offerings like "Hold On, We're Going Home" and "Come Thru" solidified Drake's place as a crossover pop star.
Drake - Hold On, We're Going Home ft. Majid Jordan www.youtube.com
Meanwhile, Drizzy engaged in his most braggadocios ventures yet, with songs like "Worst Behavior" aiming to snap the necks of anyone who denied Drake his flowers. "I don't know why they been lyin' / but your shit is not that inspirin," he raps with zero f*cks on "The Language." "Bank account statements just look like I'm ready for early retirement." But the album was also morose and reflective, Drake absorbing the meaning behind "Nothing Was The Same." He knew that there wouldn't be a project that would ever sound quite like this one, and his lifestyle changes had been so drastic, it was hard not to believe with each project he was amalgamating his identity to this regime he had created, and away from Aubrey Graham. "I search for something I'm missing and disappear when I'm bored," he raps on "From Time." "But girl, what qualities was I looking for before?"
NWTS would go on to be the last creatively great Drake record. His career has since been a balancing act. He often scours around for more records to break, dabbles in international genres (or TikTok) for fun, and strives to curate songs fit for streaming rather than reinvigorate his sound. Efforts like Views and Scorpion were meant to convey a matured Drizzy, but instead possessed thick bouts of lukewarm songs, and at times highlighted the rapper's stark lack of emotional maturity. In his personal life, he was hiding a child, and when accused of being a deadbeat dad, turned the sentiment into a lyrical plaything, ("The only deadbeats is whatever beats I been rappin' to.")
Drake clearly likes where he's at and has every intention of staying there. But it's nostalgic to look back on the days when Drizzy wasn't one of the most influential people in the world when he was just an artist charged up by the fact that his art was making the rounds.
Nothing Was The Same (Deluxe)
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