Drake’s ‘Thank Me Later’ LP Makes Honesty Respectable Again

Sometimes I write for other places like Aol’s theBVX.com, this counts as one of those times…

Life for hip-hop’s most celebrated newcomer Drake is hard, or at least that’s the theme of his debut LP, “Thank Me Later.” Perhaps we’re jaded and intolerant of hip-hop’s current parking space in emo land or maybe the Young Money prince is just honest about the price of fame.

Though the “Thank Me Later” bootleg traveled around the web earlier this week yes we downloaded that, theBVX still attended Drake’s album listening where the young MC himself presented his music with some colorful commentary. For example, after nervously walking through the event’s crowd of journalists and retailers at Manhattan’s MRS Studios, Drake said “I’m honored ya’ll showed up… this evening.”

“I represent a bunch a kids that live life like every day is Woodstock and… love making music,” he continued. “I was influenced by a lot of things on this album, things that me and [my personal publicist] Oliver sit around talking about, like.. Nasir Jones and channel it in my own music. I was always very influenced by Jimi Hendrix, and [this album is about] my family and women which are the things, at 23, that control my life.”

Drake is only 23-years-old and sometimes we forget because of his huge star power. But truth be told, the MC’s age explains quite a bit about his opinion on life, relationships and stardom.

For his style, pluck some of Kanye West’s downbeat introspection, mix it with Lil Wayne’s uptempo clothes-hoes-and-lambos braggadocio and you get Drake, born Aubrey Graham, the Canadian MC born to a Jewish mother and Southern father that also satisfies the teen heartthob appearance requirement. Still, at first listen, cuts like “Fireworks” featuring Alicia Keys and “Cece’s Interlude”, where he spits “Money just changed everything, I wonder how life without it would go” and “I wish I wasn’t famous” respectively, sound like self-absorbed whines. It’s seems unfair to view the fame artists try so hard to achieve with disdain and listeners like us what to yell, ‘You wanted this remember?’ But that’s because we’re heartless, and after a closer look, we think otherwise.

Though rappers rhyme about being cold-hearted cash fiends, that’s not reality. Still, when MC’s finally admit feeling like a fish in a glass bowl — Jay-Z anyone? — the media act like it’s earth-shattering. It shouldn’t be. Ironically, that’s exactly Drake’s lyrical style, which is not to suggest that his musical contribution isn’t fresh. Rather, he’s an honest example of where we hope music is returning, truthful revelations of what life in the spotlight really entails. The clothes-hoes-and-lambos theme on cuts like “Up All Night” featuring Nicki Minaj is great, but what happens when women leave because of the limelight (“Karaoke”)? Or when an artist is tired of partying, but must ‘appear’ (“Show Me A Good Time”)? These topics reign supreme on “Thank Me Later” which is primarily a slow drum march of singing-cum-rapping with a few up-tempo flashes and select features from Keys, Bun B, Minaj, Wayne, Swizz Beatz, T.I., The-Dream and Jay-Z. “So Far Gone” engineer Noah “40″ Shebib and Mattew “Boi-1da” Samuels lead the album’s production, followed by West (“Find Your Love,” “Show Me A Good Time”), Beatz (“Fancy”), Francis & The Lights (“Kareoke”) and Timbaland (“Thank Me Now”).

In a recent interview, Drake said that his favorite songs from the LP are the sexy “Shut It Down” featuring The-Dream and the pensive “Fireworks.” Notice, his choices aren’t hyper-masculine.

“I promise to always give you me, the real me,” he rhymes on “Light Up.”

We hope so Drake.

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