‘Nothing Was The Same’ is slightly misleading title, since Drake’s latest album offers no real surprises and sounds the same, or at least very similar, to what we usually hear from Drake. Having said all of that, this is still probably the best hip-hop album of 2013. And we’re here to explain why.
On ‘Nothing Was The Same’, Drake remains as honest, sentimental and sensitive as he always has been (which is what people love but often mock about him). Yet, at times, he still has the aggressive nature of a rapper which enables him to gain the street credibility of listeners and the respect of hip-hop heavyweights.
But what separates Drake from fellow rappers such as Kanye, Jay-Z and Nas is that he can go from sadly reminiscing about the girls he has loved and the relationships that didn’t work out, for example ‘From Time’, to a song like ‘Started From The Bottom’ where he boldly acknowledges his rise to the top without sounding arrogant or annoying.
Drake isn’t ashamed of letting himself be vulnerable and admitting that he is the “furthest thing from perfect, just like everyone I know” (‘Furthest Thing’) and this is refreshing to hear from a rapper.
Furthermore, what makes this album so different from his last is that there is a new found confidence and boastfulness that underlies many of the lyrics. Since Take Care, Drake has obviously matured as a person and an artist but he has also become one of the most successful artists of this generation and he realises this.
He is not afraid to call out other rappers, just as he does on the track ‘The Language’ where he could possibly be referring to Kendrick Lamar with the line”I don’t know why they been lying but your stuff is not that inspiring”.
Of course, this is not a perfect album. There are one or two tracks that I don’t care for and ‘Pound Cake’ which was such a hyped song due to the Jay-Z feature, was a bit of a let-down. However, when Drake gets it right (which he does with 13 out of the 15 tracks for those with the deluxe edition), it’s near perfection.There are not enough songs like ‘Hold On’, ‘We’re Going Home’ and ‘Too Much’ in the charts and on the radio at the moment so it’s such a relief that an artist like Drake is taking risks in hip-hop to grace us with these musical gifts.
Whilst we’re gushing about the brilliance of this album, it’s worth mentioning the amazing guest vocals that appear on ‘Nothing Was The Same’. Drake enlisted help from rap royalty Jay-Z, feature king of 2013 2Chainz, the always charming Big Sean and the stunning voices of Jhene Aiko and Sampha. It just seems that every aspect of this album was so well thought through, even the features because they so effortlessly fit with the mellow atmosphere Drake creates on ‘Nothing Was The Same’.
Birthday can rarely find a bad word to say about Drake and this album is one strong example as to why. He is an artist in every sense of word. The lyrics, the production, the fluidity of the album – it’s some of the best I have heard in a while and that’s saying something, as there have been a lot of great releases this year!
It has already received rave reviews from critics and fans alike and we at Birthday will add to that by giving it five stars and another listen!
Standout tracks: :Torn between ‘Hold On’, ‘We’re Going Home’ and ‘Own It’
Words by Paige Padden