This week, instead of writing about my take on some current event or discussing the state of politics in America, I decided to take a break and write about my other interests. While my Wednesday posts will generally be focused on current events and politics, I’ve decided that once every few weeks, I will post about something entirely different to keep my content fresh and to prevent my writing from going stale. As you can see from the title, the first of these posts will focus on the discography of my favorite artist: Drake. I am a total Drake stan. During my freshman year of college, I wrote a 5-page essay detailing why Drake is the most versatile musician of the 21st century. I understand that I’m practically asking for some heat from a solid chunk of the music community when I say this, but I genuinely believe Drake is the best music artist of this generation. The man has a superb discography, complete with the numbers to back up the hype. Just this week, Drake dropped his two track EP Scary Hours and nearly melted the internet. The lead track, “God’s Plan,” broke Spotify’s single-day streaming record. These new songs paired with their crazy amounts of success led me to consider what Drake’s projects are. So in the spirit of the 6 God’s newest successes, here are all 8 of his major projects, ranked and analyzed.
8. What a Time To Be Alive
Best Track(s): 30 for 30 Freestyle, Digital Dash
Worst Track(s): Scholarships
By normal standards, What a Time To Be Alive ranges anywhere from an average to a slightly above-average album. However, by Drake project standards, his collaborative mixtape with Future is “meh” at best. Outside of “Jumpman”, (a song which I found to be entirely overrated), no particular track on the tape stands out. This can not be said for any of Drake’s other projects. Both Drake and Future exhibit nice flows put on top of a catchy beat on “Digital Dash” and Drake makes use of his underrated imagery skills by giving the listener a glimpse into his lifestyle on “30 for 30 Freestyle.” The rest of the songs on the project aren’t particularly noteworthy. I’d go as far as to say that some (I’m looking at you, “Scholarships”) are downright mediocre. While a few other tracks do have some redeeming qualities that you would expect from a Drake song, they do not prevent WATTBA from being last on this list.
7. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Best Track(s): 6PM in New York, Jungle, Madonna
Worst Track(s): Used To
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is an extremely interesting album in the sense that it features some of Drake’s most underrated songs, as well as some of his most overrated songs. Some of the most popular songs on the album such as “Energy”, “Legend”, and “10 Bands” are good songs in their own right, but do not deserve a position amongst Drake’s top tracks. The album also features the song “Used To” feat. Lil Wayne which is the absolute worst song Drake has ever released in my humble opinion. His flow on the song is whiny, the beat is subpar, and the song is an overall travesty. That being said, the album does have its high points. I consider both “Madonna” and “Star67” to be in the running for the title of Drake’s most underrated song. “Jungle” is as close as Drake has come to replicating his cultural phenomenon “Marvin’s Room” and “6PM in New York” features some of Drake’s hardest hitting zingers. If I’m being honest, Drake could probably record himself eating cereal and call it (insert time here) in (insert city here) and I would love it because I’m such a sucker for the series. But regardless, “6PM in New York” is still a hot song. Unfortunately, given how overrated I think many of the songs on this album are, it finds itself at number seven on this list.
6. Thank Me Later
Best Track(s): Fancy, Find Your Love
Worst Track(s): Fireworks, Karaoke, The Resistance
Thank Me Later is pop-star Drake at his finest. I would argue that “Find Your Love” should be Drake’s most commercially successful song. If he were to have released it today, at the height of his popularity, instead of in 2010, I think it would have shattered records on top of records. The album also features pop highlights such as “Over” and “Up All Night”, which will almost surely make Drizzy’s Greatest Hits album one day. The album isn’t entirely pop, however. “Fancy” is an extremely underappreciated example of Drake’s rapping ability. On the downside, the album leads with three very underwhelming tracks and pop-star Drake simply isn’t my favorite rendition of him. However, the album is still solid overall.
5. More Life
Best Track(s): Passionfruit, Can’t Have Everything, Teenage Fever
Worst Track(s): No Long Talk, Get It Together
This album was probably the hardest one to rank. I couldn’t decide what to do with it. The good songs are there. The great production is there. The hype is there. It just doesn’t feel like a real Drake album. To a casual fan, me saying that probably makes absolutely no sense. But I think some of the more intense Drizzy fans will agree with me. “Passionfruit” is one of the best songs put out by any artist in the last several years. The song is freaking everywhere. We get glimpses of old school Drake on “Do Not Disturb”, “Can’t Have Everything”, and “Lose You”. “4422” is one of the most unique songs ever put out by Drake and I can’t help but feel the positive vibes it irradiates every time I hear it. I even enjoyed the tracks with Giggs more than most. Everything about this album seems really good. And for the most part, it is really good. A good comparison for this album is actually a meme I saw on twitter recently involving a spoon. We all have that one spoon in our house we don’t like. The spoon works perfectly well and for all intensive purposes, it’s a really good spoon. But we just don’t like it as much as the others. That spoon is More Life.
4. So Far Gone
Best Track(s): Best I Ever Had, I’m Goin In
Worst Track(s): The Calm
The way I see it, So Far Gone is the exact point when Aubrey Graham ceased to exist and Drake was born. He had made music before, but this project thrust Drake onto the scene and the rest is history. This compilation of fire is virtually nothing but bangers. “Successful” is one of the smoothest Drake tracks ever. “Best I Ever Had” is absolutely iconic. “Uptown” and “I’m Goin In” feature Drake spitting bar after bar with nowhere to go but up. There is very little you could say negatively about this project. The only thing holding it back from the albums holding a higher spot is the fact that this is probably Drake’s least musically diverse project. However, it is still flames.
Best Track(s): Weston Road Flows, Views, Too Good
Worst Track(s): Faithful, Grammys
Oh, Views…. What you could have been…..
During the weeks leading up to its release, Views was being hyped up by Drake to be his absolute masterpiece. This led to it being one of the most widely anticipated albums of my lifetime. The album is good. Actually, its very good. What it isn’t is Drake’s masterpiece. However, it is still one of his best albums. I came very close to giving it the number two spot. Ultimately, I gave it to a different album for reasons we will get to later. But for now, let’s dive into Views. “Weston Road Flows” may be Drake’s best example of storytelling. The title song “Views” has some of the best punchlines we had heard from the 6 God since his So Far Gone days. The album also featured two of Drake’s most commercially successful songs in “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling”. Everyone with the ability to hear (and probably even a lot of people without it) can testify to how huge both of these songs were. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention how good the feels songs on the album are as well. “Redemption”, “Fire & Desire”, and “Feel No Ways” all hit you square in the heart. However, I would argue that the best song on the album is “Too Good” feat. Rihanna. Views released in the prime of Drake’s relationship with Rihanna and the duo was unstoppable. Listening to them go back and forth on the song is awe inspiring. It is a crying shame that Views doesn’t get the appreciation it truly deserves because of the immense expectations that were forced upon it.
2. Nothing Was The Same
Best Track(s): Come Thru, Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music
Worst Track(s): 305 To My City, Furthest Thing
If Thank Me Later is pop-star Drake at his best, then Nothing Was The Same is rapper Drake at his absolute best. Rapping the way he does on this album, Drake could go bar for bar with absolutely anyone in the rap game. Rapper Drake is my favorite version of Drake and he is in his absolute spitting prime here. That is why NWTS slightly edges out Views for the number two spot. The album leads with “Tuscan Leather”, the best opening song in Drake’s repertoire. What follows is a stunning spectacle of Drake’s impeccable rapping mixed with his signature feels songs. “Started From The Bottom” is arguably Drake’s most iconic song. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” would have to be up there as well. If you want to hear the 6 God outshining some of the top artist in rap today, then listen to “All Me” and “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music”. Not only that, but the album also features “From Time”, which is competitive for Drake’s best showing of his sensitive side. Nothing Was The Same would be just about any other artist’s top album. However, it lands at number two on Drake’s discography.
1. Take Care
Best Track(s): All of them
Worst Track(s): None
I will try to keep this brief because I could literally go on and on about Take Care. In high school, I wrote an essay about why this is the greatest album of all time. I can honestly say that Take Care is the only album I can listen to all the way through without even considering skipping a track. “Marvin’s Room” is the quintessential feels song. “HYFR”, “The Motto”, “Crew Love”, and “Headlines” are all iconic. The title track “Take Care” brings together the power couple of Drake and Rihanna to create the best pop song Drake has ever released. This album brings together all of Drake’s different renditions of himself (excluding Island Drake, as he came about a few years after Take Care‘s release) and created the greatest masterpiece in hip-hop/R&B/pop history. In addition to that, Take Care served as my introduction to both The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar, who are two of the biggest icons in music today. Take Care is a piece of musical art, the likes of which we will probably never see again. That is why it is number one on my list.
I’m anxious to se how others feel on the subject. Feel free to comment your list, or tweet it to either me ( @BigRedAFerg) or the Mid American Culture twitter account ( @M_American_C).