I know I’ve been leaning more towards music and less towards movies recently, but I promise you it’s only because I don’t have much to say about movies. With that out of the way, I’ve combed through Drake’s entire catalog of mixtapes, albums, and other song releases and determined that these are my top 10 favorites. You may be wondering why I made the leap from a Fall Out Boy article to a Drake article. No reason, really. I just wanted to write about Drake.
10. JODECI FREESTYLE feat. J. Cole and Dennis Graham
Drake and J. Cole is a match that doesn’t come about nearly as much as it should. They tend to bring out the best in each other, with Cole supplying quality beats and Drake challenging Cole to wake up for a second. On this track, Drake professes his love for ’90s R&B group Jodeci, and J. Cole shouts out some classic rappers. Both artists put in work and despite the occasional wack line, it comes together really nicely.
9. FIND YOUR LOVE
An unforgettable Kanye West beat sets the mood for this irresistible R&B jam, inescapable in the summer of 2010. While highly regarded as a rapper, Drake is infamous for the songs where he doesn’t rap, and this was the first (and probably best) example of it. He displays the type of vulnerability so many rappers fail to on this track, where he sings as a man chasing after the wrong girl, despite her rejection. While catchy on the surface, it’s surprisingly interesting when you dig a little deeper.
8. CHARGED UP
After Meek Mill accused Drake of having a “ghostwriter” (who’s credited and payed for his contributions), Drake came back in the best possible way with not one, but two devastating diss tracks. At the end of the day, “Charged Up” is better than “Back to Back”, but the two serve a dual purpose in all but ruining Meek’s career. He tried to save face a week later with “Wanna Know”, but if you’re reading this, it was too late. The beat is a bit too minimal for my taste, but the bars come fast and furious, making for a diss song that will go down in history.
7. FANCY feat. T.I. and Swizz Beatz
This goofy track off Thank Me Later is about a “fancy” girl. T.I. and Drake collectively spend three verses explaining what that means, creating a fun song that’s reminiscent of a time when T.I. could rap. Swizz Beatz supplies the throwback beat, which samples “I Don’t Want to Play Around” by Ace Spectrum. What can I say? It’s just a funny song.
6. 6PM IN NEW YORK
This track is the latest and most brutal entry in the “In the AM” series (the others being “9AM in Dallas” and “5AM in Toronto”), with Drake firing shots at the likes of Tyga, Chris Brown, Kanye West, and Kendrick Lamar. The song follows a common subject in modern hip hop: the haters. The difference this time, aside from a killer Boi-1da beat, is how direct the shots are, with lines like “You need to act your age and not your girl’s age”, referring to Tyga dating the then-17-year-old Kylie Jenner. While most of the songs on this list have at least a chorus to tie them together, this one is just a devastating 4 and a half minutes of bars.
5. MAKE ME PROUD ft. Nicki Minaj
Any track featuring Nicki Minaj is a blessing, but this one sticks particularly. It’s just so… weird. It’s got this bubbly bass-filled beat by Kromatik and T-Minus. Drake is on one of his weirdest flows yet. It somehow manages to make “I’m so, I’m so, I’m so, I’m so, I’m so proud of you” not only tolerable but memorable. Nicki shouts out Pink Friday Records, a label that to this day does not exist. But it works. Somehow, all these bizarre elements come together to make a really solid song.
This is arguably one of the best beats Drake has ever worked with. But songs don’t make this list just for having a good beat; the lyrics are also top notch. It’s a wordplay-based style we’re more used to from Wayne than Drake, but he has enough energy to make it work in his favor. This was one of Drake’s biggest hits at the time it was released, but still seems a bit underappreciated in the Drake canon. Maybe it’s not “Drake” enough for fans. Regardless, it’s straight fire.
3. YOU AND THE 6
This introspective track is set up as a conversation between Drake and his mother. It’s the kind of vivid storytelling you rarely expect from Drake, and it gives you a really good idea of how his life is going right now. I don’t have a lot to say about this song. It’s emotional, honest, well-written, and well-produced. Tenouttaten.
2. TUSCAN LEATHER
On this blistering 6-minute introduction to Nothing Was the Same, Drizzy lets us know he means business. Whether the album lives up to it is a matter of opinion, but regardless, this is a good-ass intro. Masterfully written and immaculately produced, its only downside is that it’s too long, as Drake himself admits several times in the third verse. Other than that, if you didn’t have faith in Drake as a rapper before, give this a listen.
Before I get to #1, here’s some honorable mentions: “5AM in Toronto”, “Closer”, “HYFR”, “How About Now”, “The Motion”, “Say What’s Real”
1. TAKE CARE feat. Rihanna
No matter how you slice it, this song is a masterpiece. Rihanna carries years of pain and heartbreak in her voice. The beat by Jamie xx and 40 fits the song so well that at one point they just let the sample play and it fits perfectly. Drake’s verses flow so perfectly that it doesn’t even fully register until you take a closer listen. It’s not only the best Drake song, but a prime contender for the best Rihanna song, and one of the best hit songs of the decade.
So, those are my favorite Drake songs. Let me know if you think I left something out. I’ll try to get back into movie reviews and stuff. I’ll also be doing an article on the best Drake features. Like this post if you like it, follow my blog if you like it like it, follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY if you please, and I’ll see you around