Among his recent achievements—at least one being declared hip-hop’s “center of gravity” by The New York Times—the black-Jewish hip-hop artist Drake has won “the right to be emotionally complicated,” writes Times’ music critic Jon Caramanica in a review of Drake’s new album, “Take Care.”
What sets Drake apart from hip-hop’s pseudo-hoodlums is emotionalism in earnest. “Drake is eager to dismantle himself, to show off his corroded insides,” Caramanica observes. “And while he’s a thrilling rapper, on the verge of keeping pace with the genre’s best technicians, he’ll choose feelings over skill almost every time.”
Drake knows he has a way with the ladies. One lyric goes: “Girl you ain’t the only one/That’s trying to be the only one.” But as Caramanica tells it—love, not conquest, is his aim:
No rapper has been as woman focused as Drake since LL Cool J, but seduction is barely a motif for him. He’s past that, on to disloyalty, miscommunication, manipulation. He lives in a world where complete trust isn’t possible and believes the only woman right for him is a scarred one.
Too bad Caramanica doesn’t get a cut, because that last line just sold a few thousand more albums.