Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Drake & Future [extended]

  • Thank Me Later [Universal/Motown, 2010] B+
  • Take Care [Cash Money/Universal Republic, 2011] **
  • Pluto [Epic, 2012] **
  • Honest [Epic, 2014] **
  • Monster [mixtape download, 2014] B+
  • If You're Reading This It's Too Late [Cash Money, 2015] ***
  • 56 Nights [mixtape download, 2015] *
  • What a Time to Be Alive [Cash Money/Epic, 2015] **
  • DS2 (Deluxe Edition) [Epic, 2015] A-
  • HNDRXX [Epic, 2017] **
  • Future [Epic, 2017] *

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Drake: Thank Me Later [Universal/Motown, 2010]
Neither thug nor thug wannabe, he's plenty talented, but pretty shallow and without much focus as a mack. That's why his very first official album, pleasing and hookful though it be, consistently bemoans the confusing emoluments and accoutrements of fame. Given his limitations, his famous friends are a mixed benefit, because they show him up. Weezy schools him with wheezy jokes from jail. Nicki Minaj's nasty mouth comes as a turn-on. And Jay-Z's 16 takes up the self-doubt theme not to explore that narrow seam of his expanded consciousness but to show the young man how it's done: "And since no good deed go unpunished/I'm not as cool with niggaz as I once was/I once was cool as the Fonz was/But these bright lights turned me to a monster." B+

Drake: Take Care [Cash Money/Universal Republic, 2011]
Musical docudrama proves conclusively that having too much money is bad for you, so how come no one gets the point? ("Make Me Proud," "Headlines") **

Future: Pluto [Epic, 2012]
The truth is, his Auto-Tuned flow has more future in it than his intermittently interplanetary rhymes ("Turn on the Light," "Permanent Scar") **

Future: Honest [Epic, 2014]
Born pop-rap journeyman benefits mightily from genius help ("Benz Friends [Whatchutola]," "I Won") **

Future: Monster [mixtape download, 2014]
Released shortly after Honest failed to catapult Atlanta's solidest trap-pop hope into a Jingle Baller and longer after babymama Ciara started saving it for a Christian quarterback, this mixtape doesn't bother with radio-friendly. Far from it. Before it sinks slowly into the generic, it justifies openers claiming "Radical" and "Monster" with a five-track sequence that begins with the club hit "Fuck Up Some Commas," ends with the outrageously catchy "2 Pac," scoops up a fine Lil Wayne 16 along the way, and never tops "Throw Away," a truer love song for Ciara than any hook machine he'd hoped would cross over: "I came home last night to a menage/Got my dick sucked I was thinking about you/I was fucking on a slut and I was thinking about you/When you're fucking another nigga I hope you're thinking about me." Actually painful. Strong like pop so seldom is. Vulnerable like pop so seldom is too. B+

Drake: If You're Reading This It's Too Late [Cash Money, 2015]
So articulate, so intelligent, so (relatively) decent--so how come I perk up when Lil Wayne comes on with his pottymouth absurdities? ("Used To," "Legend") ***

Future: 56 Nights [mixtape download, 2015]
Sprung from his Dubai lockup, DJ Esco enlists 808 Mafia to arouse Fewtch from one of his many insensate stupors ("Trap Niggas," "March Madness") *

What a Time to Be Alive [Cash Money/Epic, 2015]
Talented frequent collaborators though they remain, beyond the sure shot it's hard to tell what they're bringing out in each other ("Big Rings," "30 for 30 Freestyle") **

Future: DS2 (Deluxe Edition) [Epic, 2015]
A hypnotic, slow-motion trap-life tone poem that turns on two tells: "I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops" to set the mood and "Best thing I ever did was fall out of love" to rationalize it. Not that the departed Ciara is first cause of Future's beat-steeped lassitude. First cause is he's a junkie, addicted to the liquid scag crack magnates and FruityLoops prodigies mix with carbonated beverages so as to forget their demons--and believe that Future mentions "hell" and "the devil" more than your average syrup sipper. Does his life ever not sound like fun. I'm sure he fucks a lot, as in the echoing Metro Boomin' showpiece "Groupies" or the semiconscious "The Stripper and Percocet Joint." But does he come? Opiates, after all, are notoriously anorgasmic, and while he does once resort to the term "make love," the porn tracks are long on domination and athletic ability and the exception is "Rich Sex," about the special frisson of coitus with your chains on. In another inconsistency--he is large, he fucks up commas--one song does insist, "I'm just enjoying my life." And no doubt many of his poor fans believe him. But I don't. If only our deluded nation took hip-hop seriously, this miserable minor masterpiece would be all the proof we needed that money can't buy happiness. A-

Future: HNDRXX [Epic, 2017]
Better half of a pretty decent album, in order of appearance: "My Collection," "Coming Out Strong," "Testify," "Fresh Air," "Neva Missa Lost," "Turn on Me," "Sorry" ("Turn on Me," "Coming Out Strong") **

Future: Future [Epic, 2017]
Lesser half of a pretty decent album, in order of appearance: "Zoom," "Mask Off," "Outta Time," "Scrape," "When I Was Broke," "Feds Did a Sweep" ("When I Was Broke," "Mask Off") *