Photo courtesy of Young Money Records

Fans everywhere have been listening to Drake’s new album, Take Care, after it was leaked on the internet just over a week before its official Nov. 15 release date. Take Care is Drake’s second album; his first album, which debuted in 2010, was titled Thank Me Later. Though Drake is primarily a rapper, his new album has a more general hip-hop feel thanks to guest artists like Rihanna and soulful protege The Weeknd. Other industry stalwarts featured include Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne.

There are seventeen songs on Take Care and its style varies immensely track to track. The album’s first track, “Over my Dead Body,” starts with piano chords and then adds percussive effects that sound almost like a heartbeat. Chantal Kreviazuk, a well-known Canadian singer enters with the chorus: “How I’m feeling, it doesn’t matter / Cause you know I’m okay / Instead, I ask myself ‘why do you hurt me?’ / When you know, you know I’m the same.”

It’s an enjoyable opening from a musical and lyrical standpoint, but when Drake’s verse begins, the mood is somewhat ruined. When the former child star raps, “I think I killed everybody in the game last year, man / Fuck it I was on though / And I thought I found the girl of my dreams at a strip club / Fuck it, I was wrong though,” the effect is lost. The lyrics are offputting, and manage to stereotype and degrade at least three different ethnicities plus women in general in less than five minutes. In short, the track is crass and tasteless, but fortunately not all of Drake’s efforts are so derogatory.

For instance, one standout was the track “Shot for me.” The song is almost ballad-like, and it really accentuates Drake’s pleasant singing voice. In “Shot for me,” Drake adopts a smooth and unstrained sound, which gives the song a relaxed, easy-going feel.

Many of Drake’s songs are very melancholy and reflective. When he is not swearing every other line, his lyrics are very poetic and the rhymes do not sound forced. Part of what makes Drake unique in the hip-hop and rap world are his remorseful undertones, and those shape the mood of the entire album.

Although most of the songs are rather moody, Take Care does contain upbeat songs such as “Headlines” that show off Drake’s excellent rhymes and provide a nice change from the “everyone is out to get me” aesthetic of the majority of the songs.

Take Care, though packed full of differing emotions, comes off as rather whiney. In half of the songs, Drake complains about what fame does to his life, but in the other half he talks about how he uses money and fame to get women. The album cover shows Drake leaning over a table looking depressed, while he holds a golden goblet in his hand and has gold-framed paintings behind him. For students trying to earn enough money to make their way through college, the contrast of those two complaints rings fake.

2.5 stars out of 5