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Does Drake Have Any Classic Albums?

A lot of discussion has been had on Twitter in the last couple of days after a podcaster was seen saying that Drake doesn't have any classic albums and scoffing at the thought that he does. I am now taking the opportunity to take a look at every Drake album or mixtape there has been since 2009 and determine if it is a classic or not.

Drake through the eras.
via Drake It's All a Blur Tour

We will first start off with 2009's So Far Gone

I believe that So Far Gone has gotten some of my generation into rap. It has hits like "Best I Ever Had," "Successful," and "Houstatlantavegas." while also having some of Drake's best deep cuts in his career like "Say What's Real," "Congratulations," and "Let's Call It Off." Drake seemed hungry on this album, as he was trying to prove himself and bring himself up into the upper echelon of rappers. So Far Gone showed a different side of rap when it first came out, and it has given us some timeless music. So Far Gone would be a great album in any era. I would deem this a classic album.

Up next is 2010's Thank Me Later, Drake's debut studio album.

Thank Me Later was Drake's first "studio album." Thank Me Later definitely had some good ideas, but I don't know how great the execution was. It seemed like Drake was still trying to convince us that he could sing and rap; it seemed like a game of tug-of-war when you listen to the tracklist. "Karaoke," "Shut It Down," and "Cece's Interlude" are some songs where this album just falls flat for me. While the hits are great and, for some of us, our introduction to Drake. Thank Me Later feels dated if you listen to it now. I would say this album isn't a classic.

Up next is 2011's Take Care, an album that started Drake's rise to stardom.

When you hear "Over My Dead Body" and just how this album starts, you can tell it's a different Drake than the one we heard just a year before. Drake sounds more polished and focused on this album. The hits are a notch above what they were on Thank Me Later. The rapping and the singing on this album are so much better; the features are better. Take Care showed us that Drake was a star in the making. I could go through the whole tracklist and name why this album is a timeless classic. Drake makes his second classic in his career.

Now, in the year 2013, Drake drops the most concise album he has, Nothing Was the Same.

"Tuscan Leather" is one of the best introductions to a rap album ever. I believe this introduction showed us that even more than in 2011, Drake was here to stay for a long time. He raps, "Just give it time and we'll see who's still around a decade from now." And here we are talking about Drake coming up on this album's 10th anniversary. This is one of my personal favorite albums ever and it still holds up even 10 years later. "Furthest Thing," "From Time," and "Too Much" are some of Drake's best songs in his entire catalog. Drake was on a run at this point, as this album was another classic.

In 2015, we saw two Drake albums come out, and both were new adventures for Drake: a surprise mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, and a collaborative album with Future, What A Time To Be Alive.

If You're Reading This, It's Too Late gave all the fans that love the rapping, braggadocious Drake. Drake is rapping like he never has before on this album. Drake chose a direction with this album, and on this album, Drake sounds the most focused he's ever been on a project. This has some of Drake's best deep cuts as well, with "Jungle," "Now & Forever," and "6 PM in New York." This would be many rappers' best album in their discography, while for Drake, it's 3rd or 4th, in my opinion. Drake's classic album tally is up to 3.

What A Time To Be Alive did a lot for the collaborative album's space, as after this album came out, we saw an influx of rappers working together for projects. I do not think this album is a classic, though, as I don't see myself going back to every song on it. This album sounds more like Drake trying to match Future's style, and while Drake can do any style, I would have liked to have heard Future match Drake's style. While there are some great songs on this album, like "Diamonds Dancing," this album could have been better.

We have now hit Drake's commercial apex in 2016 with Views.

This album was overhated when it came out, which happens when you drop three classic albums before it. I'm here to tell you that Views is on par with or better than the albums that came before it. This has some of Drake's best songs on it, including "Keep the Family Close," which is Drake's best intro track in his career. "U With Me" is another great deep cut that should get more love. "Feel No Ways," "Weston Road Flows," "Fire and Desire," and "Redemption" are all cuts on this album that show Drake was at his apex with this album. This may be my favorite Drake album, and I could talk about this album all day, but I'll leave you with this: Views is a classic.

With the run Drake was on from 2009 to 2016, it seemed like he couldn't be stopped. That brings us to 2017's "playlist" More Life.

While More Life has some great songs like "Passionfruit," "Teenage Fever," and "Do Not Disturb," I believe the album has too much filler and the tracklist is bloated. Despite only adding two more extra songs than Views, this album doesn't have the same impact or punch that Views did. While I know this isn't supposed to be looked at like an album, it isn't a classic.

2018 was a wild year for Drake; he basically owned the charts in 2018, got into a major rap beef with Pusha T, and dropped Scorpion.

Everyone knows Drake is the best combination in hip-hop; he's an artist who can do both rapping and singing. It seems like Drake took this opportunity to give us a double album: one side rap and one side R&B. Side A is full of hard-hitting songs where Drake goes back to sounding like If You're Reading This Drake. Side A by itself would've been a great album and would have satisfied fans. Side B is where I hit a snag with this album. While it shows Drake at his best in some tracks, you get a song like "Ratchet Happy Birthday," which in my opinion is the worst song Drake has released since becoming a superstar. While Scorpion is a good album, it is not a classic, as the tracklist is too inconsistent to warrant that type of acclaim.

While Drake released Care Package, I will not be diving into that album as it is a batch full of loosies that never got onto an album. What I will say about Care Package is that a Drake album full of loosies was still one of the best albums to drop in 2019.

In a year when most artists didn't drop albums, Drake dropped an album full of tracks that couldn't make his albums. Dark Lane Demo Tapes is an album where Drake thought these songs weren't good enough, but he still wanted to give his fans something during the pandemic. While the tracklist does seem a little jumbled together, that is just the nature of this album. I don't think this album is a classic or will be one in the future, but for a Drake album full of B-side tracks, it still has gems on it and is overall a pretty good album. If most other rappers made this album, it would be at the top of their discography.

Certified Lover Boy was hyped up for a very long time, as Drake first announced this album in 2019. It got pushed back until we saw a promo on Sportscenter that said "CLB September 3." Then we saw the cover, which I think is somewhat the reason this album gets hated. When you look at Certified Lover Boy, it is not a bad album. It has some filler on the tracklist, but for the most part, it is a good Drake album that could be in rotation for a while and an album people switch up on in the next few years. I don't think it is a classic, but I could see the narrative shifting at some point on this album, which is usually the case for Drake albums.

I think on release Honestly, Nevermind got the most hate a Drake album has ever gotten. Now that it's been a year since its release, it's safe to admit that this album was overhated when it first came out. Songs like "A Keeper" and "Massive" are some of my favorite Drake songs that he's released. Everyone was tired of the formula Drake was using for his albums, so he switched up his sound for this album and still got hate, showing that no matter what he does, he will get hate. I wouldn't say it will ever be a classic, but it's a good album that I still find myself listening to a year later. The outro track "Jimmy Cooks" gave us a look into what I believe could be regarded as Drake's next classic.

"Jimmy Cooks," while we didn't know it at first, showed a sneak peek into Drake's next album, which was a collaborative album with 21 Savage called Her Loss. 21 Savage is one of Drake's best collaborators, and it is proven on this album. I would argue that Her Loss is a much better album than What A Time To Be Alive. Her Loss has no misses on the track list and shows why Drake and 21 are currently one of rap's best duos. Her Loss could be a classic in the future, and in a few years, I believe that we will be calling this album a classic.

We all hope that For All The Dogs adds to Drake's classic album collection.

Final Tally:

Classics: 4

Future Classics: 1

Not Classics: 6


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