American rappers Drake and Big Sean have led comparable and successful careers since their rise. Both artists released a circuit of fruitful mix tapes in the beginning of their careers, giving them much recognition back around 2007. Examples being Sean’s tape, Finally Famous, and Drake’s, So Far Gone. I consider both tapes to be some of each respective artist’s best work. Since their escalations into mainstream, they have bothh struggled tremendously with finding a workable sound, place in hip-hop and confidence in their albums. With that said, I am going to break down and rate both of their recent releases, albums which are comparable, sound wise.
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, was given to us by surprise by Drake on February 13th. There was much speculation on this album as to whether or not Drake just released it to close out his record deal with Cash Money Records, upon some drama with label mate/CEO Birdman and label mate Lil Wayne. Regardless, I find this album to be highly interesting. It is hard to tell the difference sometimes while listening, whether you are actually listening to a Drake album or a Finally Rich by Chief Keef cover album or something by Migos. Even with that, most tracks on this album seem to mimic the 0/100 song formula, which he laid out months prior to this release, with that song as a single. In this case, that formula actually helps this album tremendously in bringing it cohesiveness and it is easily Drake’s most mature album to date.
In terms of originality, instrumental quality, sonic quality, or memorability, this album is quiet terrible. Drakes rapping comes off as cheesy, and weak compared to past work he has put out. For example, with the song Energy, which is a tribute to the haters of sorts, why is that a concept he would tackle at this point in his career? Drake has been receiving hate since his first studio album in 2010, Thank Me Later. With the song Legendary, he chants about going down in history, when the song is so simple and lackluster I will be shocked if people even remember a mere thing about the cut in a couple years. The only song which I feel has substantial depth on the entire piece is, Know Yourself. There are rumors that Drake’s, View From the 6th, album will be released this year as well, which I will be following closely. Hopefully he can pull through with the same confidence and cohesiveness on a much better body of work.
My rating: 3/10
Dark Sky Paradise, I found much more exciting while listening with the hype built up to its release on February 24th . This album, though on similar lines of Drake’s album sub-genre wise, is just as cohesive and confident. Big Sean just comes through with immensely better deliveries, concepts, word play, and probably the most significant category in my book, memorability. Comparisons between Dark Sky Paradise and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late aside though, DSP is actually fire. For the first time in Big Sean’s career he has released a project, where he feels completely comfortable and owns it. I feel he has finally found his place in rap music. The hi hat combos layered by the dark synths and baseline on Paradise complement Big Sean’s vocals so perfectly it sounds like he was specifically born and raised to release the song. Sean has ascended from the jester to Kanye’s throne and holds his own much stronger than on prior projects. Even the song IDFWU, which is probably the biggest change up on the album sound wise, fits well into the midst of Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise. A must listen.
My rating: decent 9/10
What do you all think of If You’re Reading this It’s Too Late and Dark Sky Paradise? What should I review next? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other albums of the past week to check out:
Gliss Riffer – Dan Deacon
Sour Soul – BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah
Supersonic Home – Adventures
The Changing Color of Hip Hop – Iggy Azalea
Citizen Zombie – The Pop Group
Man, it Feels Like Space Again – Pond