40 Days of Rewind: Drake – Nothing Was The Same (2013)

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The third album is a notoriously difficult hurdle for artists to overcome. Having built on the raw sounds that gained them popularity in the first album with the second release, often it can be difficult to decide where to go with the third. Do they continue with the tried and tested sounds of the previous albums but risk being repetitive and boring? Or branch out in a new direction, developing and changing the music to stay relevant but stray from the formula which your popularity is built on? For Drake this wasn’t even a question that needed to be answered. As his first two albums were massive successes the pressure was on to deliver with the third, and he simply answered with more of the same. With all the confidence in the world the Toronto rapper didn’t care about pleasing everybody else, simply giving us more of the same, to cement his place at the top of the rap game.

As soon as we begin October’s Very Own acknowledges that “this is nothing for the radio” in ‘Tuscan Leather’, but “they’ll still play it though”, hitting the nail bang on the head within the first few seconds. Drake doesn’t care what you think. He made this album exactly how he wants it to be. He’s not in it for the airplay, and that’s the beauty of the record. As the track continues Drizzy effortlessly raps over 40’s subtle electro-beats.

With a running time only 38 seconds short of an hour all 13 tracks are given plenty of space to develop. For example ‘Furthest Thing’ has two noticeably differing sections, whilst he smoothly raps over smooth, slow synth for the first two thirds the last minute or so is far more in your face as bars are spat over a gentle piano, choir sample and strong beat. This difference within tracks is just further confirmation of Drizzy’s individuality within the rap game.

After bragging about his rise to the top in the album’s most successful ‘Started From The Bottom’, what follows isn’t all the arrogance and flashiness associated with so many rappers, in fact there’s a lot of the opposite. Throughout the duration of the album Drake finds himself effortlessly switching between his self loving and self praising demeanour, across to the downbeat complaints over a slow synthesised accompaniment. Whilst we do find Drake opening up throughout the album in his now trademark style, the punch is still there when it’s required so as not to seem too vulnerable, such as in Worst Behaviour in which we’re constantly reminded that “motherfuckers never loved [him]”.

Overall, whilst Nothing Was The Same might be the albums name, things very much are still the same as Drake continued with his individual and well respected style. After a year in which Drake set up his own record label the bar was set high for Drake, yet he soared right above it to take his seat on the throne as the world leader in modern hip-hop and rap, with Nothing Was The Same.

Nothing Was The Same was released on September 24, 2013 via Republic Records.

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Rob Damiani is love. Rob Damiani is life. Wessex Ranger first, Business Management student second.

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