For my money, Drake is just about the most clutch mainstream rapper there is presently. Whether on those freestyle type Young Money tracks, R&B collaborations or even mixtape posse cuts, his charm, wit and talent add a certain gravitas that other emcees lack. Sometimes he can sound very corny on the tough talk but it’s cool, no rapper is perfect. Thanks to my boy Kev Tripp I can say that I was one of the first cats up on him during the first run of mixtapes, when he was “the kid from DeGrassi.” While some still hold that against him, I actually used to watch the show and going from playing an athlete to a chair bound teenager was a legitimate show of talent. I digress.
This new joint, Started From The Bottom has been out for a few days but I’m trying to figure out how I feel about it. This is a stripped down approach to making music, with bare-bones construction and light key notes along with a straightforward drum track and faint atmospherics for garnish. Drake still employs his trademarks crooning on the break which adds some dynamism and breaks the tonal monotony of the rest fo the song.
Verbally the bars are half stream of consciousness, half trap/drill construction with short stanzas and little to no structural acrobatics. The stanzas are almost halfbar, but they flow continuously without the general pauses like Rick Ross usually does. Lyrically, Drake is unapologetic in some of the fronting and the flossing like wearing all of his chains even when he’s in the house because of how high he has come and his starting point. It’s very “Jiggaman you rich take the durag off” but hey no ideas are original.
Started From The Bottom is a different approach from Drake and a solid effort. I’m not convinced there should be a whole album of this, but in doses it’s a show of further versatility from the rapper who can presently drive in the most lanes. Can you dig it?