Thank Me Later
06:00PM ET June 20, 2010
Contributor: Hip Hop Blog Staff
A Rocky Williform Company
Drake's highly-anticipated (understatement?) debut Thank Me Later is the unusual first release that has to double as both an announcement of a new musical voice and an affirmation of an established superstar. Such is the reality of being a young, talented artist in the age of Twitter and YouTube--new talents can go through the entire cycle of stardom (overnight sensation to musical savior to overexposed pop star to has-been) before they even release their first album. Such is the conundrum of Thank Me Later
So, does the album live up to the hype? Is it the bonafide, undeniable classic it damn-near has to be to silent Drake's detractors?
Well, 'yes' to the former question. 'Not quite' to the latter.
Drake is his expected, introspective self on the grandiose "Over," a sweeping epic that finds him pondering his life as it is today. But he's very...well, sad. About everything from critics ("Show Me A Good Time"), to stardom ("The Resistance"), to the difficulty maintaining relationships in the spotlight, (“Miss Me”.) But he shows that he's not always the emo-rap cliche his critics claim he is; pausing from the po'-faced pondering to soak up the fun on the Swizz Beatz-produced, T.I.-assisted track "Fancy." But the inherent problem with Thank Me Later is the extensive guest list robs Drake of the chance to really make his stamp with a truly landmark debut. Because he (and most likely, his Young Money mentors) felt it was necessary to pile on the guest stars, (The-Dream, Jeezy, and of course, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj) Drake's debut isn't allowed to be a star-defining work like Reasonable Doubt or even The College Dropout. Instead of an inspired, period-defining masterwork, you have a very enjoyable, but ultimately overly-calculated release. It's good, but with all of the expectations that Drake had riding on Thank Me Later, it's hard not to feel a little disappointed. Here's hoping Drake gets a little more confidence in his own merits as an artist...sooner than later.