Drake sophomore album reflects some of his best work

Despite the success of his debut album “Thank Me Later,” Drake felt the record didn’t show his best work. His newly released follow-up album, “Take Care,” is another story.

For most fans, hip-hop has always provided a glimpse of urban reality. Drake explores a different side of hip-hop.

He raps about emotions and feelings as opposed to rapping about street, thug or even club life.

While “Thank Me Later” gravitated towards a more gimmicky mainstream sound, “Take Care” focuses more on Drake’s R&B side and his ability to spit rhymes just as well as his peers.

A great album is defined by more than just the catchy beats and clever lyrics. It is defined by the emotion and heart behind the lyrics and the artist’s ability to paint a story with words.

The one thing that stood out about this album is you can feel the emotions Drake is trying to express through his words. The lyrical content gets deeply personal and gives the album a unique edge that most hip-hop albums nowadays lack.

Hip-hop’s hardcore faithful have been overly critical of Drake in the past, claiming he’s too soft to be considered a true hip-hop artist. “Take Care” is by no means soft.

While Drake’s vocal ability is a clear focus, his hard-hitting rap verses on tracks such as “Crew Love,” featuring The Weeknd, will put all the haters to bed.

Featuring the unique sounds of Nicki Minaj, “Make Me Proud” is one of the few instances where Minaj’s controversial rhymes don’t overwhelm the track. Instead, Drake is intelligent and charismatic with his rhymes such as lines like “They want you in their life as a wife/That’s why you wanna have no sex, why you wanna protest, why you wanna fight for your tight.”

Battling a more menacing collaborator in “Lord Knows,” Drake manages to overpower hip-hop heavyweight Rick Ross with more killer rhymes “To all these women that think like men with the same intentions/Talking strippers and models that try to gain attention/Even a couple porn stars that I’m ashamed to mention.” Ross, a lot like Minaj, is overshadowed by Drake’s performance.

Of all his solo songs on the album, “Headlines” is the ultimate example of his newfound level of domination. Even when he’s at his most cocky and self-assured, there’s something raw and relatable about him.

Mix that all in with a catchy beat and studio manipulated strings, this number is no doubt his strongest single to date.

Many doubted his ability to release a ground-breaking sophomore album, but judging by the epic collaborations and amazing solo tracks on this album, Drake is well on his way to mastering new and exciting ground, with “Take Care” hinting at such a future.