In the wee hours of Thursday afternoon on June 16, after some rumors flew over the waves of the Internet, Drake made an Instagram post no one saw coming. Yes, the premiere of his new radio show, “Table for One,” on his Sirius XM channel, Sound 42.
Then he dropped an even bigger bombshell. His seventh studio album, “Honestly, Nevermind,” would release at midnight.
And it is one of the Toronto star’s most unique albums of his career.
The album begins with an ambient saxophone playing, getting the listeners in the mood for this 14-track dance album, executive produced by legendary South African DJ Black Coffee, along with Noah “40” Shebib, Oliver El-Khatib and Noel Cadastre, who is more widely known as OVO Noel.
It’s very mellow and laid back, a nice change of tone from hard-hitting hip-hop songs from his prior release like “Knife Talk” with boosting 808s from producer Metro Boomin. Then the short intro leads into the song that received a music video soon after the album dropped, “Falling Back.”
Drake takes his singing notes to a new high in this song (no pun intended) and showcases that he is more than a rapper who sings on the side. The chorus is as catchy as it can get; Drake continually says “falling back on me,”.
For the most part, the rest of the album carries this same vibe, such as with the next track, “Texts Go Green,” which refers to when an iPhone user gets blocked, to which Drake says it “feels a little different.” All while flowing on a poppy-type beat with production from Black Coffee, who collaborated with Drake before on “Get it Together” found on the “More Life” album, which also featured singer Jorja Smith.
Another pattern with this album is that for a good amount of the songs, the beat takes up about half the time while the rest consists of Drake singing to his heart’s content.
This beat speaks for itself with its infectious upbeat feel. This is especially with songs like “A Keeper,” where a soft piano makes the song feel more lighthearted as if that was even possible on a dance album like this.
But this whole album does not carry the same tone. Looking at a song like “Sticky,” Drake makes all of his strict rap fans happy by bringing back the flows and bodacious bars that many know him for.
Even some French bars were included, similar to his work on DJ Khaled’s smash hit, “Greece,” and OVO artist PARTYNEXTDOOR’s single “Come and See Me.”Right at the get-go, he comes at people who like to keep the talking digital and connects it to a Spanish tennis icon, Rafael Nadal.
“My brother named his ting Nadal / Let’s stop all this back and forth over the ‘net,” Drake raps.
The only other time Drake is heard rapping is the outro of the project, a curveball compared to the rest of the songs on “Honestly, Nevermind.” And with “Jimmy Cooks,” it’s almost like a continuation of the aforementioned “Knife Talk” from “Certified Lover Boy.”
Tay Keith, Vinylz and CuBeatz, frequent producers for Drake, make a mix of a jazzy type beat along with some hard-hitting drums and 808s while the Toronto star begins by saying there are people who need him to go, but he doesn’t want to leave.
He also sends his condolences to Lil Keed, an artist a part of the label Young Stoner Life who recently passed away reportedly due to organ failure.
Even with these shifts in tone, and with songs like “Liability” slowing down the tempo and creating vibes not usually heard from Drake’s projects, this release is one of the most cohesive and sonically well-put-together albums of his career.
Looking back at Drake’s discography over his close-to 15-year musical career, personally, this album is in his top five, right below his 2011 release “Take Care” and above his underrated 2016 release “Views.”
On his track with Lil Baby called “Wants and Needs” off of his short EP “Scary Hours 2,” Drake stated something that rings true with the initial release of “Honestly, Nevermind”: “Come with a classic, they come around years later and say it’s a sleeper.”
Well, Drake surely has yet another classic on his hands. The question is: when will everyone else come around and realize it?