The Drake machine has been running at full capacity for more than a decade, during which time Drake has reevaluated the connection between hip-hop, R&B, and pop music; struck a balance between grand-scale ambition and granular experimentation; and embraced the meme-ification of his notoriety. However, throughout the last several years, for the very first time, it has seemed as if the machines are coming to a stop one by one. It takes a lot of effort to keep the throne in good condition, and the signs of wear and strain were starting to become visible.
What Drake has needed is an opportunity to renew himself, a chance to be freed of the load of carrying about his previous beliefs. It’s the kind of rejuvenation that can truly only be found outside of regular business hours.
However, the album “Certified Lover Boy,” which was published the previous year and was bloated, was his record with the least amount of concentration and also his album with the least amount of imagination – he sounded exhausted, exhausted with his own ideas. In addition to this, it’s possible that the individuals who have come up behind him have worn them out as well.
These constraints do, however, encourage creativity, and “Honestly, Nevermind” is a clear pivot, which is becoming a more unusual thing for a pop celebrity to do. In this album, Drake takes the dance floor to heart by producing house music that also incorporates elements of ballroom, Amapiano, Jersey club, and Baltimore club music. In the last several years, each of these styles has made its way from a local phenomena to the notice of tastemakers, and Drake, being the expert scavenger that he is, has taken bits and pieces from each of these styles to use in his own creations.
The fact that Drake has built a profession out of caressing is one of the reasons why this is so remarkable. His creations, which were usually spearheaded by his longstanding partner Noah Shebib, often known as 40, were very relaxing to the ear. However, there are some harsh edges to these rhythms, and they punch and kick. The sample of a squeaky bed, which is a common element in Jersey dance music, can be found in “Currents,” along with a well-known vocal ad-lib, which is a common element in Baltimore club music. The track “Texts Go Green” is propelled by twitchy percussion, while the piano-drenched, soulful house buildup that occurs at the conclusion of “A Keeper” is an invitation to let go and be free.
It turns out that this strategy works very well with Drake’s singing style, which is spare and doesn’t put undue strain on the vocal chords. It’s secretive, romantic, and sometimes sexy; he’s never singing at you so much as he’s singing about you, in your ear. It’s sensual, romantic, and sometimes even conspiratorial.
The most of the songs are about love drama, and the majority of the time, Drake is portrayed as the victim. There are moments on here that hearken back to Drake’s Instagram-caption period. On the hard-stomping track “Massive,” he sings, “I know my funeral going to be lighted because of how I treated people.” On the sluggish track “Liability,” he complains, “You’re too busy dancing in the club to our music.”
But the lack of lyrical vividness on this album is part of the record’s trade-off; on the majority of the tracks, Drake makes references to things rather than describing them. The phrases are meant to serve as hints, ideas, and light abstractions that are designed to evoke the same feeling as the production.
The age of the coronavirus has also contributed to the growth of hip-hop scenes that flourish in the chaotic environment created by social media. The ascendance of drill, which has been recentering hip-hop in grit and nerve, is the clearest illustration of this phenomenon. Despite the fact that Drake has experimented with drill in the past, working with artists like as Fivio Foreign and Lil Durk, among others, his latest album, “Honestly, Nevermind,” is an attack on the genre. Now that he is 35 years old, Drake is certainly considering how he will interact with the offspring of his other children.
This is the kind of hip-hop insider wink that Drake albums have flaunted for a long time, but as both he and his audience become older, it’s possible that they won’t be the stuff of his future. Whether or whether “Honestly, Nevermind” turns out to be a head fake or a permanent new path, it is possible that it is an indicator that he is leaving the old Drake — and everyone who followed him — in the rear view mirror. He’s throwing the ball in the direction his receivers are already going, not in the direction they’ve been going like a great quarterback would.