Drake - Nothing Was The Same (Review)

Drake - Nothing Was the Same

"Nothing Was The Same" is the third studio album by Canadian rapper Drake. The album features guest appearances from Jhené Aiko, Jay-Z, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and others as well as production from Noah "40" Shebib, Key Wane, Hudson Mohawke and others. The album is set to be released on September 24, 2013.


1) Tuscan Leather - The first song on the album has a dope instrumental, courtesy of Noah "40" Shebib, that features a sped-up Whitney Houston sample layered over breakneck hi-hats and plodding bass drums. The beat changes up for each of the three verses, but they all utilize the same sample that Noah flips differently every time. Drake comes through and spits some boastful bars about his power in the rap industry and his wealth and such. He even mentions Wu-Tang Clan's Cappadonna at one point in the song, which is the first of many such references spread throughout the album. This shit is pretty dope, but the song runs a little bit too long for me. Still, this is a good way to start the album.

2) Furthest Thing - The beat on this song has some ambient synths and spacey keyboards over head-nodding drums that gives the song a real airy feel. The beat changes up again after Drakes second verse to a more grounded Jake One instrumental with a soulful vocal sample and hard snares. Both beats are pretty ill and Drake does his thing, rapping about being stuck somewhere in between everything in his life.
"Somewhere between psychotic and iconic
Somewhere between I want it and I got it
Somewhere between I'm sober and I'm lifted
Somewhere between a mistress and commitment" 
Very nice.

3) Started from the Bottom - This was the first single released from the album and it's really dope. I've been a fan of this song since hearing it way back in January or February, but it still sounds just as fresh here in September. The beat, by Mike Zombie and Noah "40" Shebib, has some ethereal piano keys, shuffling snares and window-shattering bass that give it a dreamy feel. Drake comes correct lyrically and kicks some rhymes about where he comes from and all the hard work he and his family put in to get him where he is today. The lyrics are a bit of a stretch I'm sure, but his flow is on point and the beat is banging. Very dope. This album is shaping up to be something serious.



4) Wu-Tang Forever - So this is the song just about crashed the internet when it was released as a promotional single just a few days ago. The beat, by Noah "40" Shebib, has a soft piano loop and samples Wu-Tang Clan's song "It's Yourz" from their classic "Wu-Tang Forever" album. The beat is pretty ill and Drake sounds good over it, reminiscing about a woman from his past among other things. He should have just named this song "It's Yourz" though because calling it "Wu Tang Forever" had me expecting some grimy 90's boom-bap shit. I was disappointed in that regard, but I do like his paying homage to Wu-tang (specifically Raekwon) when he spits
"Machine gun raps for all my niggas in the back
Stadium packed, just glad to see the city on the map"
This is pretty dope despite the misleading song title.

5) Own It - This song continues the "its yours" theme from the previous track, but flips it so that its Drake saying it to a woman instead of the other way around. The beat, by Noah "40" Shebib and PartyNextDoor, is real slow and murky and is actually a sample played in reverse to keep with the flipped theme of the song. Drake sings more than raps on here, but it actually sounds pretty good. Eh, this isn't terrible, but it's not as good as all the other songs so far.

6) Worst Behavior - DJ Dahi comes through with a very strange instrumental that has a vocal sample loop and a ton of other sounds blended into the beat. I'm not really feelin' the instrumental that much and Drake doesn't do much with it, kicking some repetitive bars dedicated to his haters and even straight jacking some of Mase's rhymes from "Mo Money, Mo Problems." This song has another Wu-Tang reference, though, when Drake spits
"Bitch you better have my money when I come for that shit like O.D.B."
This is the worst track on the album so far for me.

7) From Time (featuring Jhené Aiko) - This song has another soft piano instrumental, this time by Chilly Gonzales and Noah "40" Shebib, that is very mellow and peaceful. The beat is excellent and Jhené Aiko blesses it beautifully with her sultry vocals as she plays Drakes former lover interest. Drake keeps with the theme and kicks some rhymes in response to her as the song plays out like a conversation. Very nice.

8) Hold On, We’re Going Home (featuring Majid Jordan) - This song is one of the singles from the album and it sounds like it was custom made for the radio. The beat, by Majid Jordan, Nineteen85 and Noah "40" Shebib, has some smooth synths over upbeat drums, but its pure R&B. Drake sings rather than raps throughout the song, which is something I'm not really too interested in hearing. I can definitely see this becoming a big radio hit, but it's just not for me. Oh well.

9) Connect - This song has a darker instrumental, courtesy of Hudson Mohawke, that has more mellow synths over soft drums. The beat even has a Trae The Truth sample intermixed in there beneath all the other layers of the instrumental. The energy level picks up briefly about halfway through the song and then quickly returns to being sparse and laid-back after only a few moments. Like the previous song, Drake doesn't really rap on here as much as he sings the verses, this time about being in a bad relationship. I mean he raps a few lines, but it's not much. Eh, this is just ok for me.

10) The Language - Now this is a little better. The beat has a slightly sinister feel to it and Drake sounds kinda dope over it, kicking some braggadocio bars about his stature in the rap industry and such. His flow is nice and the beat is ill, making for a good song despite the somewhat rehashed lyrical content. It's better than the past few songs, but still nothing mind blowing.

11) 305 to My City (featuring Detail) - Detail comes through with another really slow instrumental that doesn't really have much going for it to set it apart from all of the other mellow instrumentals on this half of the album. The beat is ok, I guess, and Drake seems to feel the same as he spits some pedestrian rhymes about a stripper who is always on her grind. This is pretty boring. Next.

12) Too Much (featuring Sampha) - Finally a beat that has some energy. The last few tracks have all been severely lacking in drive and were beginning to blend together a bit. Anyways, the instrumental on here is pretty ill, with a chopped up Sampha vocal loop over head-nodding drums. Drake sounds good on here as well, rapping about the anxieties that came along with the pressures of his stardom while Sampha provides the hook.
"Done saying, I'm done playing
Last time was on the outro
Stuck in the house, need to get out more
I've been stacking up like I'm fundraising
Most people in my position get complacent
Wanna come places with star girls and then end up on them front pages
I'm quiet, but I just ride with it
Moment I stop having fun with it, I'll be done with it
I'm the only one that's putting shots up
And like a potluck, you need to come with it"
I'm feelin' this shit. Very dope.

13) Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2 (featuring Jay-Z) - The final song on the album has a dreamy Boi-1da instrumental that has a ethereal vocal sample over tranquil drums. The hook on the song is a interpolation of Wu-Tang Clan's classic song "C.R.E.A.M.", further continuing the Wu-Tang theme found throughout the entire album. The second part of the song has a head-nodding instrumental with more piano riffs, stuttering drums and hard snares. Both beats are pretty dope and Drake rips them while Jay-Z struggles to keep up. Still, this shit is dope and is a nice way to close out the album.


*The following songs are both bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition of the album*

14) Come Thru - The first bonus track has a smooth instrumental with some soft keyboards and textured synths that would have sounded right at home on the album itself. The beat is dope and Drake comes correct over it, kicking some rhymes about a girl that he has lost touch with but still wants to be in a relationship with. The song is nice, but the extended and repetitious outro drags it down a little bit. Still, this is not bad.

15) All Me (featuring Big Sean and 2 Chainz) - The beat on this song, courtesy of Key Wane and Noah "40" Shebib, has a distorted vocal sample, church bells and keyboards over lumbering drums. 2 Chainz (who actually dropped a relatively dope album a few weeks back), Big Sean (who dropped a pretty terrible album a few weeks back) and Drake all come through and kick some boastful raps about their wealth and women and such. Not bad.


*The following song is a Best Buy exclusive bonus track*

16) The Motion (featuring Sampha) - Noah "40" Shebib returns for this Best Buy bonus track that has an instrumental that is full of more light keyboards and synths over sparse drums. The beat is passable and Drake sounds ok over it, rapping about how everyone is just going through "the motions" in life and how things change while Sampha provides the hook. Again, this is just ok for me.

I'm going to rate the album

3.5 / 5

because its got some fire on it, but it's also got some filler. The beats are stellar throughout, with only a handful that I'm not really feelin' as much as the others. Even those ones are not terrible, they just don't really have anything that makes them stand out in the overall soundscape of the album. This leads to many of the beats starting to blend together, especially towards the middle of the album. Drake himself is on point lyrically on most tracks and switches up his flow a few times throughout the album (which is nice). I don't think his lyrics are quite as strong as they were in some of his earlier material, but it's not a huge step down in my opinion. Still, the album is actually quite dope and has grown on me a little after repeated listens.

2 comments:

  1. I was really hyped to hear this album, but it just felt disappointing. Too many songs sound the same, and there's not enough RAPPING on here. Enjoyed Tuscan Leather, Furthest Thing, The Language, and All Me, but that was it.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. The middle of the album really starts to blend together for me and features far too little rapping, but it picks up a bit there at the end.

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