My current relationship status made me all the more eager to press play on Nothing Was The Same this month. I was ready to feel emotion. I was ready to indulge in my latest heartache with that almost sick sense of satisfaction Drake always manages to evoke in me. But when I actually began listening to NWTS, I surprisingly didn’t feel like doing any of that.
The memes came flooding in weeks before NWTS even leaked dropped and the candles and the Kleenex were on stand-by. But instead when I came to listen to the record, I found myself effortlessly enjoying how each track seamlessly flowed into the next and not mourning my lack of love in the slightest.
Drake has said that he and Noah ‘40’ Shebib took their time with this album in order to create something as close to perfection as possible and it shows. While some tracks such as “Tuscan Leather” and “Paris Morton Music 2” sound like they were the result of a spontaneous freestyle that took just moments to record, the Toronto native clearly laboured over them just as much as he did with the rest of the LP.
In my opinion, there’s more intelligence, creativity and maturity in NWTS than there has been in its predecessors. And the result seems to be a stronger, more resilient and – dare I say it – less emotional Drake than we’ve seen before. Sure, there is obvious emotion intricately woven into every track, but it isn’t the depressing, sit-in-a-dark-room-by-yourself-and-shed-a-single-tear type of emotion that we have leaned towards with songs such as “Marvin’s Room”, “Fall For Your Type”, “Shot For Me” or “Brand New”.
NWTS still has its fair share of moist moments (the line “We’re not in Kansas anymore” makes me cringe… a lot), but I can hear more authority in Drake’s voice too. “Own It” may put the rap star’s feelings out on a platter – as he is always so unafraid to do – but he is demanding his love interest to come forward and claim what is hers in a way that gives him all the control. Although Drake admits that he would probably let his love get away with anything (“pussy is power” after all), there’s an air of ‘Do what you want, you know where I am when you’re finished’ in there too.
In his previous track “Houstatlantavegas”, Drake describes how he has become the guy that is always there to save the cliché party girl fallen from grace and to make sure she gets to bed safely after a night out, knowing all the while that she won’t remember who he is or how he feels about her in the morning. On “Own It” he is saying ‘Yeah I might do that shit still, but you have to come to me this time’. His attitude has changed. He’s not getting walked over like he appeared to in the past.
Powerful and immodest tracks such as “305 To My City”, “Pound Cake” and “The Language” balance out the record and remind the listener that Drake really has advanced in his field. And these songs are necessary for a Drizzy album. They lift you up – sort of like a shot of Red Bull – so you’re ready to go back and get lost in the deep and melancholic tones of tracks like “Too Much” and “From Time”, which force you to acknowledge possible deep-rooted feelings that perhaps question certain aspects of your lives – like a long lost brother or the fact that you love someone more than they love you.
When Jhené Aiko’s soft and sultry voice kicked in on “From Time” I was sure I was going to end up making a needy phone call to a certain someone. Instead, the lyrics reminded me of bad times that can occur in a relationship, such as putting in more than your fair share and supporting your partner more than they ever supported you – to no avail might I add. It may not have been the song’s intention, but I suddenly felt selfish.
“From Time” made me appreciate what I once had, but also helped me to realise that being with someone who doesn’t know what they want from love isn’t always healthy. While Drake looks back at women he should have ended up with (Bria, Courtney and so on and so on) he still knows that although they might be married, they can never replace him and who he was to them. “Who you settling for? Who better for you than the boy?” he confidently raps. He isn’t upset by the love he’s lost because, while he may know that he fucked up, he is aware that those females are probably still pining for him secretly. Basically, he’s won.
I’ve exhausted my emotions with Drake over the years. Him and me have been on a journey together. Since I first fell for my supposed soul-mate, to the tedious games of going back and forth with one another, to the dramatic break-up(s), to realising I will always want what I can’t have… Drake has had words of comfort for it all because he’s been through it too.
But now I watch him rise and I’ve realised that although he raps about women he loved and still cares for, I don’t believe that he is hurting as much as he seemed to be before. Instead, Drake has decided to explore relationships with his family in more depth (delving into issues with his mother and uncle on “Too Much”) and he’s revealing new distances between once-close friends (he speaks of a breakdown in his friendship with Nicki Minaj on “Tuscan Leather”).
The girls are always going to be a part of Drake’s core content, but I don’t feel like they bother him as much as they used to. Maybe he’s grown bored of them? And if he isn’t as down and out anymore over exes not texting him back or former flames staying up late with someone else, then should I be?