Since So Far Gone Drake has quite literally been the most popular rapper in Hip-Hop, only rivaling Kanye in terms of cultural relevance. His meteoric rise from Degrassi to Young Money has been surprising and exciting to see. Drizzy has released three albums and two mixtapes of exceptional quality since 2009 and hasn’t had any bumps in the road sonically. He hasn’t put out a single bad project ever. He rarely records a verse, as a guest or otherwise, that people hate. When he released Take Care I was a bit underwhelmed and I wasn’t sure why. Most people consider it the best album of the three he’s released. I heard the album a lot, because Drake’s music is always in the air, but it wasn’t as great as I hoped. With his latest mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, I watched as Twitter reacted to the secret release and was swept up in the moment. After giving it a solid listen… I wasn’t disappointed, but I felt more indifferent about the material. 10 Bands has been on rotation, and I’m well aware that there are other good songs, but the body of work hasn’t stuck with me. Although Drake is exploring new sounds and different rhyme schemes the subject and content have remained the same. Most importantly, none of his albums have been great. They’ve all been very good, but nothing that has ever shocked us, or shifted our expectation of his abilities, or rap as a genre. The closest thing he has to that “classic” is So Far Gone.
Typically in hip-hop a rapper releases albums of varying quality. Some are ok, others are terrible and once and a while artists release perfect work. Even Jay-Z, possible the most consistent artist ever, has had peaks and valleys. We needed Kingdom Come to have the excellent American Gangster. Think about how much we love My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, our appreciation for Kanye’s masterpiece would alter slightly if we didn’t have 808s before it. Drake has been releasing good album after good album with no highs or lows. Just consistent. Can Drake ever take his music to that next level? Will Views From The 6 surprise fans and raise the bar. Maybe the album will be terrible allowing Drake the set up for his next project to shock us all. Maybe it’s just me? Drake is still a great rapper, the LeBron to Kanye’s Kobe, but his lack of variety in subject matter is more striking than ever before. We saw him peak with So Far Gone and he’s been on cruise control ever since. Never regressing, but never pushing himself the way Kanye does with each new album. Because of Drake’s constant delivery of great music the bar has been set extremely high. He continues to reach it, but has never raised it. He’s like a player who won a championship his rookie year, then just wins MVP every season after that. Great doesn’t cut it anymore Drake.