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Drake's Take Care: An 'emo' hip-hop album?
The soft-hearted rapper eschews his peers' typical braggadocio for more introspective music — dividing the genre's purists
Touchy-feely rapper Drake released his sophomore album, "Take Care," this week, and many critics are lauding his emo-inspired brand of hip-hop.
Touchy-feely rapper Drake released his sophomore album, "Take Care," this week, and many critics are lauding his emo-inspired brand of hip-hop.
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rake, the Canadian-born former teen soap star whose debut album, Thank Me Later, sold 1.5 million copies, is one of music's most successful rappers — and one of its most lampooned. "Hip-hop's hardcore faithful don't know what to make of him," says Greg Kot at The Chicago Tribune. "He's too soft, too sensitive, and does too much crooning. And where are the beats?" Translation: He's "too emo." With his new sophomore album, Take Care, Drake continues to deliver introspective hip-hop, and some critics argue that it's time to embrace the rapper's "emo-inspired" tracks. Is the album good enough to silence the haters?

Yes. It's that good: Drake boasts "inspiration, motivation, sincerity — and no shortage of style," says Darryl Sterdan at the Toronto Sun. He writes intelligent, contemplative lyrics, and delivers them in a way that's simultaneously low key and confident. A series of "confessional masterpieces" that combine "moody melodies and icy textures," Take Care is the sophomore album "any artist and fan would wish for."
"Drake's sophomore effort sizzles"

And a major improvement over his debut: Drake's first album was "a lackluster affair of tired hip-hop clichés" and "half-wrought emotional declarations," says Chris Coplan at Consequence of Sound. Take Care takes a similar introspective approach but "with far more lethal and appealing results." The production on tracks like "Marvin's Room" and "Make Me Proud" finally mirror the "morality play" in the artist's lyrics, proving that Drake is capable of more than "being the easy listening of the rap world."
"Album review: Drake — Take Care"

Its emotional range is far too limited: Drake is supposedly "notable for reintroducing emotion to hip-hop," says Wilson McBee at Prefix. But on Take Care, Drake "plays it pretty close to the sweatered chest." The album continues to chronicle Drake's grappling with the pitfalls of success and romantic liaisons. Yet while Take Care touches on "first-sight infatuation" (on the single "Take Care") and hand-wringing over a break up (on "Doing it Wrong"), it sidesteps the "real dramatic action" that lies between those two events in a romantic arc. We're left with a frustrating simplification of emotions.
"Album review: Drake — Take Care"

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