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Take Care is the second studio album by Canadian recording artist Drake, released November 15, 2011, on Young Money Entertainment and Cash Money Records. It is the follow-up to his 2010 debut album Thank Me Later. Production for the album took place during 2010 to 2011 and was handled by Noah "40" Shebib, Boi-1da, T-Minus, Just Blaze,The Weeknd, and Jamie xx, among others. With the album, Drake sought to record a more cohesive recording than his debut album, which he felt was rushed in its development.
Expanding on the sonic aesthetic of his debut album, Take Care features an atmospheric sound that is characterized by low-key musical elements and incorporates R&B, pop, andelectronica styles. Drake's lyrics mostly eschew boastful raps for introspective lyrics that deal with topics such as failed romances, relationship with friends and family, growing wealth and fame, concerns about leading a hollow life, and despondency. The album has been noted by music writers for its minimalist R&B elements, existential subject matter, conflicted lyrics, and Drake's alternately sung and rapped vocals.
One of the most anticipated music releases in 2011, Take Care experienced several delays to its release date and subsequently leaked to the Internet nine days before its scheduled release. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 631,000 copies in its first week. As of 2012, the album has been certified platinum by theRecording Industry Association of America and has sold 1,810,000 copies in the United States.
The album produced five singles, "Headlines", "Make Me Proud", "The Motto", "Take Care", and "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)", all of which attained chart success. Upon its release, Take Care received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended its expansive production, emotional themes, and Drake's songwriting. It was included on year-end lists by several publications, including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, both of which ranked it number one.
The album follows the success of Drake's 2010 debut album Thank Me Later, which became a commercial success and was well received by music critics. It also continued Drake's creative partnership with record producer and audio engineer Noah "40" Shebib, who had first introduced his distinct sound on Drake's breakthrough mixtape So Far Gone (2009). Prior toTake Care, Drake also expanded his repertoire as a live performer. For the album, he intended to have Shebib handle most of the production and record a more cohesive sound than on Thank Me Later, which featured disparate production duties by Shebib and others.
In November 2010, Drake revealed the title of his next studio album would be Take Care. In comparison to his debut album Drake revealed to Y.C Radio 1 that Thank Me Later was a rushed album, stating, "I didn’t get to take the time that I wanted to on that record. I rushed a lot of the songs and sonically I didn’t get to sit with the record and say, 'I should change this verse.' "Once it was done, it was done. That’s why my new album is called Take Care because I get to take my time this go-round."  Drake mentioned after OVO Fest 2011 that Take Care could have up to 18 songs on it, and added that Stevie Wonder contributed to the creative direction of the album and will be featured on the album as well. Drake also revealed that the album was recorded mainly inToronto. Debating whether to submit his final cut or not, Drake's preferred release date motivated him to create a Birthday Edition, much like a deluxe edition to be released on the iTunes Store.
Some producers that were revealed to be working with Drake on Take Care other than Noah "40" Shebib (who is the main producer of the album) include T-Minus, Jamie Smith from The xx, and Boi-1da (who is a long-time Drake collaborator). He had initially recruited 9th Wonder for the album. He even appeared on 9th's documentary The Wonder Year and expressed his desire to make a number one hit with him. However, in an interview about a month prior to the slated release date, 9th said that he was not on the album. 9th states that part of the reason was because he was going through an A&R and playing beats for them as opposed to the artist himself, which he is opposed to. Drake had also planned on having Q-Tip, DJ Premier, and The Neptunes produce on the album, but those projects fell through as well.
Some artists that were confirmed to be collaborators with Drake on Take Care consist of Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, Chantal Kreviazuk, André 3000, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna. He had initially reached out to Phonte of the former group Little Brother, who is a major influence on his career. A track was made for Take Care but it did not make the album due to an issue with the producer. Drake admits in an interview to "dropping the ball" on the project and is optimistic about a future collaboration with Phonte. He also wanted to collaborate with Justin Timberlake stating, "The song was gonna be dope," it was produced by Noah "40" Shebib. "It was solid, a solid little look. But he's so immersed in the acting thing, and I don't blame him, he's doing great at it. He was just like, 'I really want to work. I just can't do it right now. But we'll work as soon as I'm back in the studio.
Expanding on his debut album's theme of ambivalence and conflicted feelings toward fame, Drake's lyrics on Take Care detail failed romances, missed connections, relationship with friends and family, maintaining balance with growing wealth and fame, concerns about leading a hollow life, the passage of young adulthood, and despondency. The album's slow jam-styled tracks explore themes of loneliness, heartbreak, and mistrust.The topic of women is prevalent on the album, with songs concerning past and potential lovers ("Marvins Room", "The Real Her"), and about revering ("Make Me Proud") and lavishing them ("We’ll Be Fine"). Juan Edgardo Rodriguez of No Ripcord denotes women as "the main force in his songs - he’s consciously aware about what it takes to love them, but simply decides to thrust aside the guidelines because he’s on an entirely different stratosphere from any female average joe."
The album's expositional content has been interpreted by critics in relation to contemporary society. Newsday's Glenn Gamboa views that Drake's "emotional self-doubt and realizations about [...] success", along with the album's melancholy mood, "captur[es] today's zeitgeist of uncertainty and diminishing expectations." Music journalist Ann Powers cites Drake's "predicament — the inability to locate oneself within everyday power relations" as "one that's afflicted existential antiheroes throughout modernity." She denotes his point of view as that of a "biracial upper middle-class kid [...] from a position of privilege that few rappers would occupy", and views his subject matter as culturally significant, stating "[H]is melancholia is that of the overly sated [...] But Drake's relentless focus on the point where money empties out happiness isn't merely autobiographical. It's emblematic of our moment of crashed markets and occupied streets, and it speaks to a generation beginning to question whether the All-American, celebrity-endorsed credit card lifestyle will make them anything but bankrupt." Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork Media compares his "unrepentant navel-gazing and obsession with lost love" to Marvin Gaye's 1978 album Here, My Dear, adding that Drake's "penchant for poetic oversharing" makes him "an apt avatar" for the Information Age.
Drake's songwriting is characterized by wistful introspection, existential contemplation, and minimal boasting, with lyrics that convey frankness, vulnerability, melancholia, and narcissism. Andy Gill of The Independent writes that he "eschews anger or threat for a weariness shadowed by wistful regret." Music journalist Greg Kot comments that Drake does not "indulge in the macho poses that have dominated mainstream hip-hop for decades, and blur[s] the line between singing and rhyming", adding that he "makes his rhymes sound conversational, matter of fact, like he’s talking to the listener one-one-one". Tim Sendra of Allmusic notes that his "introspective tone [...] is only rarely punctured by aggressive tracks, boasts, and/or come-ons." Drake's persona on songs shows traits of sincerity, self-doubt, regret, passive-aggressiveness, and self-absorption. Kazeem Famuyide of The Source explains his conflicted persona as being "arrogant enough to know his place as one of the most successful artist in hip-hop, and comfortable enough to realize his own faults in his personal life." Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone writes that Drake "collaps[es] many moods – arrogance, sadness, tenderness and self-pity – into one vast, squish-souled emotion." Kevin Ritchie of NOW notes "an overwhelming sense of alienation, and sadness" on Take Care, calling it "an idiosyncratic, aggressively self-conscious and occasionally sentimental album".
Release and promotionEdit
The first track Drake released was "Dreams Money Can Buy" on May 20, 2011 through his October's Very Own blog. Drake mentioned this song was "A Story of Dreams, mixed with reality," and that this was not his first single off the album but that it would be included on Take Care. On June 9, 2011, a second track titled "Marvins Room" was released via his blog. Drake initially stated that the song would not be featured on Take Care, but because of the song's unexpected success, prompting it was released as a digital and radio single on July 22, 2011 and will be on Take Care. "Trust Issues" was then released shortly after on his blog, but is confirmed not to be on the album via Drake's Twitter. He explained that the song was an idea he had from I'm On One and made it "just for fun."However, in an interview, Drake stated that Trust Issues, along with Dreams Money Can Buy, will be included in the Birthday Edition of the album.
On September 10, 2011, Drake released a new song titled "Club Paradise" on his October's Very Own blog. "Dropping this for our boy Avery...this was his favorite sh*t during the recording process. 2 more songs coming tonight as well. ovoxo," he wrote on his blog. On September 11, 2011, Drake released another track entitled "Free Spirit" featuring Rick Ross and blogged that another was to be released that night, as well. Later that night he released a remix of Waka Flocka Flame's "Round of Applause". On September 23, 2011, Drake released the official album cover to Take Care. On October 20, 2011, an unfinished version of "The Real Her" featuring only Lil Wayne was leaked online. On October 8, 2011, Drake announced on his OVO blog that Take Care would be pushed back until November 15 because of three sample clearances (Take Care, Cameras, & Practice). It was originally to be released on his 25th birthday, October 24, 2011.
The Club Paradise Tour was revealed to start in November on Twitter. However, It was revealed that the tour was delayed until after Christmas/New Year break so Drake could perform at more schools.
The promotional single "Marvins Room" impacted urban radio on June 28, 2011 and peaked at number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot 100. "Headlines" was released via his blog on July 31, 2011 as the official lead single from Take Care. The song is produced by Boi-1da, and 40, and was released to radio and iTunes on August 9, 2011. The song debuted at number thirteen on the US Billboard Hot 100, and at number ninety-eight on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
"Make Me Proud" features rapper Nicki Minaj, and was released via Drake's blog on October 13, 2011, as the official second single. The song was produced by T-Minus, and Kromatik, and was released to iTunes on October 16, 2011. The song has peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. "The Motto" featuring Lil Wayne impacted rhythmic radio and urban radio stations on November 29, 2011. It was re-released to rhythmic radio on January 10, 2012. It officially impacted Top 40/Mainstream radio on April 10, 2012.The single debuted at number 18 on the Billboard 100, with first-week sales of 124,000. It has since sold over 2 million copies in the US, becoming the most successful single from the album thus far and only his third single overall to reach the milestone.
"Take Care" featuring Rihanna was released as the album's fourth single. It impacted US Top 40/Mainstream and Rhythmic radio on February 21, 2012. Prior to its release as a single, the song entered the UK Singles Chart on November 20, 2011, at number 12. It also debuted at number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100. "Take Care" became one of Drake's highest-charting songs as a solo artist in the UK and US, with first-week sales of 162,000 in the US. In its seventeenth week on the Hot 100, the track rose to a new peak of number 7. As of July 2012 the single has sold over two million digital copies. "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)" is the fifth official single from the album. Lil Wayne is also featured on this track. A video shoot for the song took place on March 21, 2012. The video was released on April 6, 2012. It will officially impact rhythmic and urban radio on April 24, 2012.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 631,000 copies. The album also topped the Billboard Rap Albums and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums in its debut week. On January 31, 2012, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of one million copies in the United States. As of July 12, 2012, Take Care had sold 1,810,000 copies in the US. As of July 14, 2012, Take Care has been on the Billboard 200 chart for 33 weeks. In Canada, Take Care debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 48,000 copies in its first week. It has been certificed double platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, indicating shipments of 160,000 copies. In the United Kingdom, Take Care entered at number five on the UK Albums Chart and on December 16, 2011, went Gold with the British Recorded Music Industry, with 100,000 UK copies shipped to retailers.
|The A.V. Club||A–|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The New York Times||favorable|
|The Village Voice||favorable|
Take Care received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, based on 33 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Rolling Stone writer Jon Dolan complimented its "luxe, expansive production" and stated, "Drake stretches out over languid, austerely plush tracks that blur hip-hop, R&B and downtempo dance music." Nitsuh Abebe of New York wrote that the album "is full of gorgeous tones: atmospheric, moody, muted music that can turn suddenly gushing and lavish. And the lyrics surrounding them can be rich with meaning". Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole called it "remarkably consistent" and noted an "immeasurably improved flow" by Drake. Brandon Soderberg of Spin called the album "an insular, indulgent, sad-sack hip-hop epic" and commended Drake for "mixing nice-guy vulnerability with wounded narcissism", commenting that he "finds ways turn the douche chills he elicits into a large part of his appeal." Pitchfork Media's Ryan Dombal found Drake's "technical abilities" to be improved and stated, "Just as his thematic concerns have become richer, so has the music backing them up." Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kotcomplimented the depth of Drake's "moral psychodramas" and stated, "the best of it affirms that Drake is shaping a pop persona with staying power."
However, Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly panned its content as "one overlong woozy monologue" and called the album a "total downer", adding that "Drake half-bakes his woozy rap-croon and glazes it with sluggish keyboard hums, stalling the album’s momentum". Alex Macpherson of The Guardian found his singing "insipid", his rapping "inert", and his lyrics "hollow", writing that "he doesn't seem to realise that introspection is only worth a damn if you're an interesting person." The Globe and Mail's Robert Everett-Green criticized Drake's lyrics as "drawling patter" and found the songs to "noodle around [...] aimlessly". Allmusic editor Tim Sendra viewed Drake as "a middle-of-the-pack rapper at best", but found Shebib's production to "fit Drake's voice perfectly" and denoted Drake's strength to be "his willingness to delve deeply into his emotions and the ability to transmit them in [...] a simple and real fashion". David Amidon of PopMatters praised the album's "wholly consistent audio template" and wrote of Drake, "Sure he’s corny, but he’s also an excellent songwriter, and he owns his quirks". Leon Neyfakh of The Boston Globe called the album "a mighty thing, every bit as turbulent and achingly defensive as Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'", and elaborated on Drake's subject matter and progression as a songwriter, stating:[I]nstead of just stressing out about fame, Drake is now writing songs about accepting the consequences of time passing and friendships changing. [...] Some will insist it’s boring, listening to a young star complain about being a star. But 'Take Care' is not about that; it’s about a person growing into himself, and smarting at the sacrifices required of all of us - famous or not - as we leave adolescence behind and grow distant from people we used to love. It may be mopey, but Drake is finding new words for ancient kinds of pain, and it is captivating.
Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club described the album as "plenty downbeat, but it’s also gorgeous, an immersive headphone masterwork that's tender and intimate like little else in contemporary rap and R&B." Adam Fleischer of XXL commended its music for "creating a captivating and enveloping listening experience", and wrote that Drake "expertly juggles his singing and rapping, confirming his growing songwriting abilities." Andy Hutchins of The Village Voice commended Drake's pop sensibilities and "understanding of melody [...] his willingness to sound a little more sing-songy than most rappers to make a bar more indelible", calling the album "a carefully crafted bundle of contradictory sentiments from a conflicted rapper who explores his own neuroses in as compelling a manner as anyone not named Kanye West." John McDonnell of NME called the album "an affecting masterpiece" and commended its "delicate, mellifluous sound and unashamedly candid, emotive lyrics." Ann Powers of NPR found its music complimentary to the album's subject matter, stating "the artfulness of this music allows me an in to that experience. I can make that leap and identify with Drake, or at least be intrigued by multiple characters in the little dramas he designs." Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented that "Drake has never sung as intensely as he does on this album", and called it "an album of eccentric black pop that takes" hip hop and R&B "as starting points, asks what they can do but haven’t been doing, then attempts those things. In the future an album like this will be commonplace; today, it’s radical." With this CD, he named Drake "hip-hop's current center of gravity...."
According to Metacritic, Take Care was the ninth-best ranked album in year-end top 10 lists by music critics and publications, based on 135 lists. It was also named as a longlisted nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize on June 14, 2012.
|The Globe and Mail||Canada||Albums of the Year||2011||8|
|Consequence of Sound||10|
|The Daily Beast||2|
|Los Angeles Times||1|
|The New York Times||1|
|The Washington Post||5|
|1.||"Over My Dead Body"||Aubrey Graham, Noah Shebib,Chantal Kreviazuk||40, Chantal Kreviazuk(co.)||4:33|
|2.||"Shot for Me"||Graham, Shebib, Abel Tesfaye||40||3:45|
|3.||"Headlines"||Graham, Matthew Samuels, Shebib, Adrian Eccleston||Boi-1da, 40 (add.)||3:56|
|4.||"Crew Love" (featuring The Weeknd)||Graham, Tesfaye, Daniel McKinney||Illangelo, 40, The Weeknd||3:29|
|5.||"Take Care" (featuring Rihanna)||Graham, Jamie Smith, Shebib||Jamie xx, 40||4:37|
|6.||"Marvins Room"||Graham, Shebib, Eccleston, Jason Beck||40||5:47|
|7.||"Buried Alive Interlude" (performed by Kendrick Lamar)||Shebib, Kendrick Lamar, Dwayne Chin-Quee||40, Supa Dups||2:31|
|8.||"Under Ground Kings"||Graham, Tyler Williams, Shebib||T-Minus, 40||3:33|
|9.||"We'll Be Fine" (featuring Birdman)||Graham, Bryan Williams, Tyler Williams, Shebib||T-Minus, 40||4:08|
|10.||"Make Me Proud" (featuring Nicki Minaj)||Graham, Onika Maraj, T. Williams, Nikhil Seetharam, Shebib||T-Minus||3:40|
|11.||"Lord Knows" (featuring Rick Ross)||Graham, William Roberts II, Justin Smith||Just Blaze||5:08|
|12.||"Cameras / Good Ones Go Interlude"||Graham, Shebib, Tesfaye||40, Drake (co.)||7:15|
|13.||"Doing It Wrong"||Graham, Shebib||40||4:25|
|14.||"The Real Her" (featuring Lil Wayne and André 3000)||Graham, Dwayne Carter Jr., André Benjamin, Shebib||40, Drake (co.)||5:21|
|15.||"Look What You’ve Done"||Graham, J. Woodward, Shebib||Chase N. Cashe, 40 (add.)||5:02|
|16.||"HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)" (featuring Lil Wayne)||Graham, Carter, Williams, Shebib||T-Minus||3:27|
|17.||"Practice"||Graham, Shebib, Tesfaye||40, Drake (co.)||3:58|
|18.||"The Ride"||Graham, Tesfaye||Doc McKinney, The Weeknd||5:51|
• (co.) Co-producer • (add.) Additional production
|[show]iTunes Store bonus tracks|
- On the digital edition of the album, the original single version of "Headlines" is track 3.
- On the physical edition of the album, "Marvins Room" and "Buried Alive Interlude" are listed as a single track.
- "Buried Alive Interlude" features an uncredited rap by Kendrick Lamar.
- "Cameras" on track 11 was co-produced by Drake, and "Good Ones Go (Interlude)" was produced by Noah "40" Shebib.
- On the physical edition of the album, "Make Me Proud" has a runtime of 3:36.
- On the physical edition of the album, "Headlines" has a run time of 3:26 and features the "Crew Love" introduction.
- Sample credits
- "Over My Dead Body" contains elements of "Sailin' Da South" as performed by DJ Screw, written by C. Hill.
- "Shot for Me" contains a sample from "Anything" as performed by SWV, written by T. Armstrong, B. Morgan and R. Smith.
- "Take Care" contains elements of "I'll Take Care of You" as performed by Gil Scott-Heron, written by B. Benton, remixed by Jamie xx.
- "Under Ground Kings" contains elements of "Neck of the Woods" as performed by Birdman (featuring Lil Wayne), written by Batman, D. Carter, B. Williams, R. Williams and T. Jones, "Duffle Bag Boy" as performed by Playaz Circle (featuring Lil Wayne), written by J. Banks, D. Carter, E. Conyers and T. Epps, and elements of "Farmer's Pleasure" as performed by Jah Cure, written bySiccature Alcock.
- "Cameras" contains excerpts from "Calling on You" as performed by Jon B., written by J. Buck and N. McCee.
- "Doing It Wrong" contains elements of "The Wrong Thing to Do" as performed by Don McLean, written by D. McLean.
- "Look What You've Done" contains elements of "If U Scared, Say U Scared" as performed by Playa, written by J. Peacock and S. Garrett.
- "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)" contains elements of "Swanging and Banging" as performed by E.S.G., written by C. Hill.
- "Practice" contains elements of "Back That Azz Up" as performed by Juvenile (featuring Lil Wayne and Mannie Fresh), written by D. Carter, T. Gray and B. Thomas.
- "The Motto" contains elements of "She Will" as performed by Lil Wayne (featuring Drake), written by D. Carter, A. Graham and T. Williams, and elements of "Baby Got Back" as performed by Sir Mix-a-Lot, written by A. Ray.