Drake has been one of the biggest names in the industry for some time now and is arguably one of the best to do it. His meteoric rise to fame from a child actor to fully fledged super star has propelled him to the forefront of hip-hop and mainstream music. The Toronto born rapper started his career in the limelight when he was casted into the Canadian teen drama series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, at the age of 15. He played the character of Jimmy Brooks and starred in a total of 145 episodes before his character ‘graduated’ from school. Although Drake began his career in hip-hop in 2006 when he released his first mixtape, Room for improvement.
Now time for how his studio albums and more official mixtapes rank, from ‘worst’ to best. (I say ‘worst’ because none of it’s bad, just a matter of ranking):
7) Thank Me Later
This was officially Drakes first studio album but second mixtape, and by no means his best work. Not to say there isn’t anything to brag about on this album. Songs such as ‘Fireworks’, ‘Best I ever had’ and ‘Find your love’ show real signs of promise for future Drake work. What is noticeable is if you were to listen to all of his albums in chronological order you will notice his style change throughout each one. Thank me later is a typical love-struck Drake compilation of songs, which he does well to maintain in essence in most of his work. Jody Rosen, writing for Rolling Stone, upon reviewing the album said that Drake was “In command of a style that would have been hard to imagine dominating hip-hop a few years ago”. This just shows that there was signs of the Canadian moulding hip-hops future from the very beginning.
6) So Far Gone
A great start to the rappers career began with this album, or mixtape for the pernickety. The 7 song playlist consisted of features such as Lil Wayne featuring on 3 of them and Bun B as well as Young Jeezy on 1 each respectively. This album epitomises the concept of short and sweet, with stand out songs being ‘Im goin’ in’ and ‘Successful’. The style of this mixtape is similar to that of Thank Me Later, but has a refreshing change up when it comes to ‘I’m goin’ in’ featuring Lil Wayne. Drizzy and Wayne go on the offensive and boast egotistical lyrics to have the listener pumped.
5) If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
This mixtape propelled Drake to become the first ever rapper to top the US Billboard Top 100 with it breaking his own personal record for first week streams since Nothing Was The Same. This collection of songs boasts the line of ‘Running through the six with my woes’ which even the less informed Drake fan knows. Many know this line as one of the focal points of the drama between Drake and Meek Mill. The drama being the Philly rapper calling out the Canadian for having a ghost writer. Quentin Miller was later identified as the ‘ghostwriter’ but he saw it as a collaboration as he was credited on the album.
4) More Life
Now here’s an album that I predict to age like fine wine, it’s far too fresh to be considered his best work but it definitely has the credentials to get up there. Being Drake’s most recent piece it could be the most familiar to the not so keen. On this playlist Drizzy expands his growing list of guest features with people such as Dave, Skepta, Young thug as well as Travis Scott all getting a spot. Stand out songs being ‘Passionfruit’, ‘KMT’ and ‘Blem’. With the first and the third having quite the laid back vibe to them. My personal recommendation from this album for one song that is overlooked, is ‘Teenage Fever’. This song is sure to hit you straight in the feels with a serious vibe.
The number 3 spot I feel is just about right for Views. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great album, but hasn’t quite aged well enough to push it up any higher than a respectable 3rd place. It would have to aged incredibly well to break into the top 2. Released in April of 2016, this album was certified quadruple platinum in December 2016 by RIAA. Views also happens to be the first album on Apple Music to accumulate over a billion streams. Record breaking appears to becoming a common theme for the Toronto man. ‘One Dance’, ‘Hotline Bling’ and ‘Pop style’ all quickly became the most streamed songs on the album and with good reason. In my personal opinion, I’m not a huge fan of ‘One Dance’, this’ll be down to how mainstream it went, the song is Spotifys most streamed song of all-time, with over a billion listens. My go to song for this album would be ‘Weston Road Flows’, Drake takes you on a journey talking about his struggles and dealing with the fame.
2) Take Care
Now we’re at the business end of the ranks. Drakes top 2 albums is a hotly debated topic with the contest only ever being between Take Care and NWTS. For many the ‘Take Care’ album would sit at the peak of his best work, but in this case it’ll have to settle for playing second fiddle. But lets focus on the album, and what an album it is. It boasts the flow of all that was great about old-school drake along with the delicate nature of love-struck Drizzy. ‘Marvins room’, ‘Underground Kings’ and ‘The motto’ all in Take Cares arsenal make this an incredible album. Admittedly the accolades It will have collected won’t have been as impressive as some of his newest stuff, this is down to the digital age of music really coming a long way in the last 10 years. If it was released this year it would break more records than any of his most recent work.
1) Nothing Was The Same
Started from the bottom and now we’re here. I’ve waited a long time to make that pun. But yes as you guessed it, at the number one spot is Nothing Was The Same. Still to this day my all-time favourite album, not just Drake album, in general. It opens up with the song ‘Tuscan Leather’ which really sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Drake is fired up and ready to go for the throne, with clever lyrics to keep the listener on their toes. ‘Started from the bottom’, ‘Hold on, we’re going home’ and ‘Worst Behaviour’ all charted well, which means you could consider this album as the catalyst for Drakes surge to super stardom. Another notable song that stands out is ‘Pound Cake’ featuring Jay Z, which just personifies cool. The thing is between these top 2 is, it’s not about the accolades or the record breaking, its about the talent in the lyricism and the ability to engage the listener with every song. Both albums do that, but I feel Nothing Was The Same does it better. I Still stand by if both of these were released now, they would be record breaking. But they did lay the foundation for the gargantuan name that is Drake.
If you have a moment, check out this playlist made up of one song I’d recommend from each album mentioned above.
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