Aubrey Drake Graham is an unheard of force of nature, in a matter of two years he has gone from being a part of the cast of Degrassi to being arguably the most popular hip-hop artist in 2010. How did he do it? Critics say that it has a lot to do with him being co-signed by Lil Wayne. Possibly. Other’s say that his outside appearance is more acceptable to the main stream and that’s why he’s become so big. And there may be some truth to that, but it’s important to give credit when it’s due and Drake does not only have an ear for music, but is a hard worker and you can tell that by listening to Thank Me Later.

His 2009 mix tape, So Far Gone, accomplished more than most up and coming rap artist would dream of achieving with their first studio album. It had two top ten singles with “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful” and even though it was initially released as a free download, it later went on to sell 470,000 plus records as an EP. Drake was also featured on almost every top song in the hip-hop charts, as well as making an album with his music family Young Money. After all the initial success, it was time for Drake to release a proper album and show the world whether or not his initial fame was just a fluke or an appetizer for something more.

Thank Me Later starts with a bang–pun intended–with help from the soulful Alicia Keys in “Fireworks”.  On the song, Drake goes back and forth from his signature R&B croon to his spoken word rapping. Although at first interesting, overtime it does get a bit tiresome to hear. Drake shines the most when he chooses one over the other like in the tracks “Find Your Love” and “Up All Night”. On the latter, Drake’s attempts at making anthem music and pulls it off very well. He joins up with his partner in crime, Nicki Minaj, as they celebrate their success and assert their dedication to their crew, Young Money.

From listening to Thank Me Later, one sees that Drake seems to have two Achilles heels. One is learning how to handle his newfound fame and the other is how to handle women with his new found fame. In “Karaoke”, he discusses a love interest that although loves him back, doesn’t feel comfortable with the spotlight that surrounds them being together. Drake is clearly heartbroken from it and in that one can find the true reason for Drake’s success. Drake, is one of the few artists, who is able to put into words the sappy feelings that most men have over women, as well as success, without sounding like a totally chump—like 808’s and Heartbreak (sorry, Kanye). And in that he is successful.

So here is to you Drake.

Thank You.

Rating: 8.5/10

Top tracks: Up All Night and \”Find Your Love\”