The highly anticipated third studio album from the ever popular rap artist Drake releases on September 24. Nothing Was The Same is a sixteen track symphony of sorts that is strung together ever so delicately. The transitions between songs is nearly seamless and provides for a deep immersion from it’s constant flow. If Drake’s music isn’t your forte, this will not be an easy album to simply throw on and fall in love with. With all good things, it becomes something that you learn to enjoy the more you listen to it. Truly more than just a collection of songs that should be embraced as a full holistic album.
Just as he did with Take Care, Drake released a number of songs beforehand that didn’t make the album, that included “5 AM in Toronto” (which is a follow up to “9 AM in Dallas”), “Girls Love Beyonce” (with a chorus driven by Destiny’s Child’s single “Say My Name”), a DJ Khaled track “No New Friends” and “Live For” which appears on The Weeknd’s latest album. In addition to the aforementioned tracks he released four singles as well as a bonus track, “The Motion”, before the CD release date. Justin Timberlake’s latest work also features Drake on “Cabaret”.
The album begins with “Tuscan Leather” which includes a sample from Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. “Tuscan Leather” is a Tom Ford reference, not unlike Jay-Zs, to the designer’s cologne. He immediately sets the tone in his first verse when he says, “This is nothin’ for the radio, but they’ll still play it though cause it’s that new Drizzy Drake, that’s just the way it go. Heavy airplay all day with no chorus”. And continues that philosophy in the third verse, “How much time is this n**** spendin’ on the intro?”. He knows his musical style so well that he calls himself out, but claims he’s not concerned because he’s doing his thing.
The second track, “Furthest Thing” begins with a soothing melodic sound and feels like a natural follow up to the intro track. The style and pace changes up ever so elegantly in anticipation of the follow up song. “Started from the Bottom” was the first single from Nothing was the Same and is one of the few tracks that can be singled out (excuse the pun). It’s a fun song and one that has seen many parodies mostly due to it’s wildly popular music video, that has over 80 million views and includes an amusing excerpt during the track of his friends checking out (literally) a woman at a drug store.
How does Drake transition the most out of the place track on the album and lead single? With another single of course! “Wu-Tang Forever” is the fourth track, fourth single and last officially released track before the album dropped. The track samples Wu-Tang’s “It’s Yourz”. The title got a lot of attention as it pays homage to rap legends Wu-Tang Clan, who received it well and even put together verses for a remix. “Own it” is the fifth track and is one of the best examples of a great transition. It continues the “It’s Yourz” theme with a song that calls out that his feelings are all for this girl with lyrics like, “Next time we talk, I don’t wanna just talk, I wanna trust. Next time I stand tall I wanna be standin’ for you and next time I spend I want it all to be for you”. This is certainly the Drake we have come to know and love (or hate).
“Worst Behaviour” is an out-of-character song for Drake. It got some media attention for spelling behavior with a “u”, which is the proper Canadian spelling, as well as the aggressive lyrics. Going from confessing his emotions to stating he’s on his worst behavior with lyrics like, “B**** you better have my money when I come for that s*** like O.D.B.”. This track simply displays how diverse his musical style really is. The seventh track, “From Time’, includes one of the rare features on the album from Jhené Aiko. The honesty and relatability of his lyrics is where Drake really connects with his fans and that’s no truer than this track. It really hits home when he sings, “My mother is 66 and her favorite line to hit me with is, Who the f*** wants to be 70 and alone? You don’t even know what you want from love anymore”. With such a vast expectation of how love should be coming from all the wrong influences, it’s hard for most people to fully appreciate and understand that they don’t need to settle for someone, but that it takes time and it shouldn’t be an overbearing worry on a person’s mind even though it so often is.
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” is the second single from the album and has a familiar sound to it. It feels much like an old school Michael Jackson track and features a great breakdown about two minutes in that really epitomizes the song. Lyrically it is pretty simple but ever so eloquent in it’s delivery. “Connect” is the ninth track and slows down the highway drive to a late night cruise. It continues the heavy focus on this girl with a kind of southern Houston vibe. “The Language” is a song that could easily be a post release single and it certainly deserves some radio play. It has the same flow as the Migos track, ‘Versace” that features Drake. This track is a proclamation of Drake and how he’s risen to the level of rap’s elite especially with the boastful lyrics, “I am the kid with the motor mouth. I am the one that you should worry about”. It becomes very nearly a track that you could see as a theme song to Drake’s life as he knows it now.
“305 to My City” is a song meant for some sort of erotic dancing and that fits Drake’s persona that he enjoys the occasional visit to the strip club. It is a sort of humorous ode to women, who work hard regardless of profession. Track 12 is “Too Much”, which features Sampha, who also appears on “The Motion”. “Too Much” is another great personification of Drake and his openness about some of his deepest feelings. Even in his rawest form of emotional expression, it’s a very well polished track. “Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2” was a much anticipated track because none other than Mr. Sean Carter himself appears on it. This is the second time he’s had Jay-Z on his album, with “Light Up” being the first. As the title mentions it is a follow up to Drake’s “Paris Morton Music” which in itself is actually an extension of the Rick Ross song, “Aston Martin Music”. The track is very much a back and forth between a grandfather and his whipper snapper of a grandson. That’s not to say Jay-Z is old or Drake’s immature, but it is an interesting parody that provides for yet another quality song.
On “Come Thru” Drake’s seems to play to the public perception of him as a guy who misses a girl who use to be in his life. He reminisces about her and wants her to come back for the moment. This seems to be a recurring theme in Drake’s albums. “All Me” is the 15th track and the 3rd single from the album. It features a verse from 2 Chainz and Big Sean, which some might see as controversial since it was his song “Control” that Kendrick Lamar names a number of rappers including Drake. As with most disses or call outs, Drake seems unphased and continues on his path. Coincidentally his line, “Damon Wayans, homey don’t play that s***” summarizes this reaction.
Rounding out the whole album is “The Motion” which is a late addition bonus track due to it’s heavy popularity. It maintains the consistency and focus of the entire set of songs. It makes for a fitting conclusion to a story-esque album. To the untrained ear this album will be passed over, but for most it will be an album with a high replay value. Again, it is hard to simply jump into this pool of music and the preferred form of entry is a slow walk from the first track unto the deep end of the last.