Nothing Was the Same
On his third studio album Nothing was the Same, the Toronto rap megastar Drake exhibits a new kind of self-assured confidence and unapologetic machismo that he struggled to execute convincingly in the past. “I think for the first time in an album I’m content – not satisfied – but proud of where I’m at as a person,” the rapper told XXL Magazine earlier this year. A master of dichotomy, Drake’s sonic blueprint revolves around mixing the broody with the braggadocious and that hasn’t really changed this time around. He channels 1980s new wave on the radio hit Hold on We’re Going Home, and Jhene Aiko’s honeyed vocals on From Time set the mood for his nostalgic recollections of relationship regrets. The most deeply personal cut on this album is the melancholy Too Much, which features haunting vocals from the South London singer Sampha that escort Drake’s emotionally laden verses. In the midst of all the saccharine sweetness and emotional show-and-tell, Drake takes time out to tersely remind us that this is very much a rap album. He gets aggro on Worst Behaviour and outraps Jay Z on the smoky Poundcake (which intriguingly samples both Ellie Goulding and Wu-Tang Clan).