There's a lot to slog through on Nothing Was the Same to get to the high points, but when they hit, they hit pretty fucking hard. Perhaps most stunning of all is penultimate track "Too Much," a piano-led ballad (and really, what rappers rep more for the old ivory boxes than Young Aubrey?) that feels so much like "Fireworks" and "Over My Dead Body" that it's a little surprising it didn't lead off the album.
Like those songs, Drake emerges from the cinematic drama of the music to give an unexpectedly hopeful message, one in which he tries to persuade his uncle not to give up on his dreams, for his mother not to give up on life in general, even telling his younger self not to get too caught up in the stress of trying to make it. He sounds encouraging but frightened, like he doesn't want his family to quit on themselves because he's afraid his own ambitions will further alienate himself from them--or worse, because he's worried about being in their situation himself one day, an old man full of regret.
It's a heartfelt sentiment, but it's completely overshadowed by the hook, as provided by the British soul singer Sampha. The frequent SBTRKT collaborator's voice is so aching, so incredibly powerful as he reiterates the song's message ("Don't think about it too much / There's no need for us to rush it through") that it becomes more powerful with each successive repetition, raising the stakes for Drake's verses, for which he thankfully rises to the occasion. It's an absolute jaw-dropper of an album climax, and it makes the trip there through the likes of "Own It" and "305 to My City" well worth the journey.
POPDUST SAYS: 4.5/5