Source Material: Drake, Take Care
by Mosi Reeves | September 24, 2013
This look at the influences behind Drake's platinum 2011 album takes a different path from our usual Source Material entries. It's partly out of necessity, as Take Care has very few musical samples beyond minor vocal interpolations, or snippets of lyrics he quotes from other rappers and singers. An example is "Doing It Wrong," where he sings the chorus from '70s folk singer Don McLean's ["The Wrong Thing to Do."] And it would be tedious to rehash the sundry musicians that occupied his particular demimonde in the fall of 2011, which ranged from Clams Casino to Kanye West.
However, we can simply look at his many collaborators on Take Care. Of course, there is The Weeknd, who captured the music world's fancy with a trio of EP-length R&B experiments (collected as Trilogy the following year) and whom Drake cannily recruited to work on several tracks like "Crew Love" and "The Ride." Then there is Jamie xx, the producer behind post-dubstep pop trio the xx, who reprised his remix of the late Gil Scott-Heron's "I'll Take Care of You" for the Drake-Rihanna duet "Take Care." ("I'll Take Care of You" was written by Brook Benton and was originally performed by Bobby Blue Bland in 1962.) The presence of The Weeknd as well as Chantal Kreviazuk ("Over My Dead Body"), a singer-songwriter best known in the States for penning pop hits for Avril Lavigne, Pitbull and others, give lie to the idea that Drake doesn't value his Canadian identity. More familiar guests included Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Andre 3000 and a then-rising Kendrick Lamar.
There are a handful of sample sources, too. Coko's vocal line from SWV's "Anything (Old Skool Mix)" bubbles amidst "Shot For Me." A loop of DJ Screw's chopped-and-screwed version of ESG's "Sailin Da South" closes out "Over My Dead Body." Overall, this playlist attempts to evoke an era in which an amniotic, codeine-inspired sound -- sometimes referred to as cloud rap, or its close relative, yacht rap -- overtook the genre, and of which Take Care proved to be the critical and commercial peak.