Drake – Nothing Was the Same

Young Money

Of the multitude of voices that have chimed in since Nothing Was the Same ’s leak the one that was the boldest — and most enduring — declared that Drake was the voice of a generation — in his case Gen Y. And in a week when the Huffington Post earned avalanches of clicks for a story about Millennial entitlement it felt even more apt calling Drizzy a generational icon: Nothing Was the Same ’s cocksure first single “Started From the Bottom” was a song about manifest destiny about ambition earned about billboard status unlocked and like all of Gen Y the Forest Hill kid was called deluded. Inauthentic. Spoiled.

Yet Nothing Was the Same isn’t representative of a generation because of those qualities — heck “Started From the Bottom” is its only bona fide banger — but because it delves deeper into Drake’s endless pool of seeming contradictions. For lesser talents these inconsistencies would be deemed schizoid but for Aubs it’s called just Drake being Drake. (Note: Every review of Nothing Was the Same calls it the most Drake album yet and they’re right.) Of course there are the signature romances from the hit-to-be R&B of “Hold On We’re Going Home” and the already famed “Wu-Tang Forever” in which producer Noah “40” Shebib buries a Wu-Tang sample under layers of ice.

But we already knew Drake was rap’s most beloved softie; Nothing Was the Same establishes his cult of personality and we’re glad to be along for the ride. For real — on “Tuscan Leather” he warns that Nothing Was the Same will be “heavy airplay all day no chorus” and that’s no lie. “From Time” lusts after a Hooters waitress; the Internet found her and barraged her days after the song’s leak. “Worst Behaviour” declares that “motherfuckers never loved us” and although every listener knows this is a spoiled-brat tantrum we actually believe him. And his smoky late-night jams — “Connect” and the wonderful “Pound Cake” in which Jay-Z swings by — convince us that once the party’s over Drake’s a brooding Gatsby figure a man with everything that’s missing the last puzzle piece.

Yet somehow through it all Drake emerges unscathed from a sea of conflicting ideas: He appears on Ellen has Kanye fly in for a hometown show and as on “Own It” gets away with seemingly emasculating lines like “niggas talk more than bitches these days.” (In classic Drake style he’s only talking about one person: himself.) It’s lines like those that make Nothing Was the Same a real statement of arrival. He’s not become a rap luminary; he already was. He hasn’t become a pop overlord; he already was. Drake has become a cultural cornerstone a Toronto MC who seems intent on not only shaping genre but notions of modern masculinity. Dude wasn’t kidding; nothing was the same.

It’s hard not be impressed by Nothing Was the Same — its closer “All Me” is exactly what it sounds like and it’s glorious. Because in one masterful stroke Drake impossibly captures the Millennial zeitgeist: Yes he’s bending the limits of the private and public. No it doesn’t feel like over sharing. And yes he’s made $25 million by 25 and he wants more. Sure that makes him spoiled. Do we care? Absolutely.