Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Drake, Lil Wayne, Releases of the Week, Trey Songz
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Drake’s “Goodnite and Goodluck” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 13/20 Watts
Constantly battling labels of most-overrated from fans and fellow rappers alike, Drake still has a lot to prove. Even amidst hits like “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful,” there are still those who call him out for being too poppy, too commercial and just not good enough. As he alludes to in mixtape opener “Drake Speaks,” The Drought Is Over: Friends With Money is supposed to be his counter punch.
The problem is that it fails to really accomplish that. Drake’s strong opening words, followed by the energetic and hard-hitting “Goodnite and Goodluck,” make you think you’re in for a collection of fresh, more street-worthy tracks. However, you end up discovering pretty quickly that rather than setting up a few months of hype in anticipation of 2010’s Thank Me Later, he fans the flames and lends more credence to the haters.
It’s not even like The Drought Is Over is a bad mixtape. On the contrary, it’s actually a pretty fair collection of songs. But it fails to provide us with an abundance of original material. Everyone’s favorites from So Far Gone are either included in their original form or reworked, and many of the best moments borrow from beats or lyrics far too recognizable to be lauded (see “Still Drake”).
Drake’s other issue has been an over-reliance on certain contributors. That goes double here, as the mixtape overdoses on both Lil’ Wayne and Trey Songz. Weezy alone appears on six tracks, and as catchy as they are, it starts to make you wonder if Drake has the ability to carry a full effort on his own.
Still, even with these criticisms, you can’t deny Drake the fact that he seemingly has pop hip-hop by the throat. Songs like “Overdose,” “Friends With Money” and the already-heard single “Every Girl” are too catchy to resist, and his potential marketability is endless. Regardless of doubts about his street cred, he’s one of the best in the game right now at crafting a tune that will stay in your head.
For his sake, let’s just hope he taps all of that potential while wrapping up his debut full length. Otherwise, he’s destined to fall to the mounting expectations and criticisms around him.
— John Cassillo