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Drake's 'Take Care': Read the EW review

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One of the most hotly-anticipated albums of the fall hits store shelves both real and virtual today. Drake’s Take Care is already the top-selling album on iTunes and promises to find its way to the head of the Billboard chart despite its high-profile leak last week.

The walk-up to Take Care has been a little unusual, as a handful of the tracks from the album have been unleashed for free online in the months prior to its release (though a handful of those tracks didn’t end up on the final version of the album). It primed listeners for what was to come, though the results were even more dramatic than even first expected.

Check out the EW review of Take Care, a version of which will be appearing in the issue of the magazine hitting newsstands this Friday.

Drake
Take Care
(Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic)

On his platinum-selling 2010 debut, Thank Me Later, Drake managed to blend his special brand of understated Canadian ­swagger with surprisingly vulnerable ­reflections on the opposite sex. It didn’t reinvent the wheels of steel, but it acted as both a statement of his vast potential and a titillating wake-up call for hip-hop.

Unfortunately, his second album, Take Care—the bulk of which made its way online over the past several months via individual leaks by Drake himself—spends most of its 17 tracks hitting the snooze button. READ FULL STORY

Drake's new album 'Take Care' leaks; is it a bigger story now when albums don't?

Some time between Saturday night and Sunday morning, the entirety of Drake’s Take Care, the followup to his breakout 2010 debut Thank Me Later, found its way onto the Internet.

As news of the leak spread, Twitter exploded with chatter about it, and while any artists get extremely rankled when their music gets out prior to the release date (and, of course, for free), Drake himself was pretty casual about it. “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time,” he tweeted late last night.

The idea of an album leaking isn’t really a story. After all, pretty much everything leaks, and the timeline for Take Care is about right (the release date is next Tuesday, November 15, which means the finished album probably got lifted somewhere along the lines of production).

Drake’s casual reaction is the right one. After all, if people hadn’t gone out of their way to leak his album, that probably means people weren’t interested in the first place. An album leak is something of a validation, and though it may also feel like a backhanded (and bad for business) compliment, it still tells the artist, “You are big enough to steal from.”

It will probably cost Drake a little bit in album sales, but research shows that for a guy in Drake’s position, leaks don’t have as negative an impact as you might think — the logic being that people who will download the leak were unlikely to purchase the album in the first place. Plus, considering Drake himself had unleashed no fewer than six of the tracks from Take Care himself (including “Crew Love,” which showed up on Saturday on a radio station in Toronto), there was already plenty of Drake music out there for people to take.

In reality, it’s a bigger story when albums don’t leak. READ FULL STORY

Did Chris Brown knock Drake out in a fight over Rihanna? His rep says the story is 'completely fabricated'

Verbal battles are nothing new in hip-hop and R&B — but this one may have gotten physical.

During an interview with British radio host Tim Westwood, Artist and on-air personality DJ Whoo Kid mentioned offhand that he had witnessed an altercation between Drake and Chris Brown over the former’s relationship with Rihanna.

“Thank God there’s Drake right now,” Whoo Kid said. “He has at least eight records on the radio that’s killing it. Him and Rihanna supposedly fooled around. I think he got elbowed by Chris Brown, too, but that never came out.”

Whoo Kid didn’t mention a time or a place when this incident happened, but when asked for more details, he says he knows exactly where the blow was delivered.

“In the chin, like in the corner. Left part,” he explained to Westwood, who then asked what happened after that. “Man down. Simple as that.”

UPDATE: DJ Whoo Kid tweeted that he and Westwood were joking on the radio, and that “Chris Brown did not knock out Drake!” Brown’s publicist responded to the statement, noting “the Whoo Kid story is completely fabricated and not true.”

You can listen to the audio of the interview below. READ FULL STORY

Drake releases more free music for fans: Do you think dropping these gems for nothing's a good strategy?

Usually when artists kick their whole “I do it for the art, my fans and not the money or my label ” spiel, my impulse is to respond with, “Yeah, right.”

But Drake’s track record this summer more than backs up what he said to us a few weeks back about not caring about the restrictions his label place on him in regards to releasing freebies, as he did recently.

This past Saturday he dropped two songs, “Free Spirit” and “Club Paradise,” on his website. Both are cuts from recording sessions for his upcoming Take Care album.

Of course a record label or any sound-minded business would side against releasing their products for free. But Drake, who made his name off of releasing free mixtapes, believes otherwise.

So far he’s released Saturday’s offerings, “Dreams Money Can Buy,” and official album cuts “Marvin’s Room” and “Headlines,” without charge. The last two are now available for purchase on iTunes. Still, the fact that true fans could scoop them right from the man himself for nothing initially says plenty.

Moreover, they’re all quality works. “Free Spirit” is a treacherous, slow winding song on which he and Rick Ross urge women to tattoo their names on their bodies so that they’re always near, even when gone.

The piano-led “Club Paradise,” which Drake released for “our boy Avery…this was his favorite s— during the recording process,” finds Drake in a more pensive place—thinking about how wild it is that he’s gone from an unknown artist to being a spectator at high-end fashion shows.

“No wonder why I feel awkward at this Fashion Week s—/ No wonder why I keep f—in’ up the double cheek kiss,” he raps.

READ FULL STORY

Drake talks about making his upcoming album, growing as a rapper, and finding a mentor in Stevie Wonder: An EW Q&A

The summer’s nearly over. But rap wiz Drake is feeling the heat. The deadline to submit the final version of his sophomore album, Take Care, is one month out. To say the least, it’s crunch time. Though, it seems he’s comfy in the clutch.

While holed up in his “quaint” Toronto studio recently, Drake checked in with EW to give us a progress report on the album, due on his birthday, October 24. Creatively, he says he’s “at a great place” and has a tons a recorded material to select from.

In the EW story on stands now, he gave us five recording rules to live by. Here, though, we get into the rest of the conversation—one that includes, among other things, how Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album impacted his project, how his song with Stevie Wonder might make you shed a tear, and why you won’t hear him crying about his riches this go around.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In what ways are you challenging yourself this album?
DRAKE: I push myself in a lot of aspects when I write a song. I write a piece and where most people would stop and say “Oh, that’s the hook right there,” I’ll move that to the first four bars of the verse and do a new hook. That makes the song easy to learn and catchy. That’s how I like to challenge myself. I’ll write something and everyone that’s around might be like “Oh that’s that hook right there.” And then I’ll write something better than that.

How many tracks are you shooting for here?
Obviously, I can only fit so many songs on a CD. So what I’m doing is there will be a Take Care physical edition in stores that’ll hopefully have 15 to 17 songs on it. Then I know a lot of people do deluxe editions. But since October 24 is a special day for me, I got, like, a Take Care birthday edition that I’m going to put on iTunes that will have extra songs. I really want to encourage people to be excited about the album releasing. I remember how excited a lot of artists used to make me. I used to want to buy the physical copy to see the artwork. And if there were any bonus tracks, I’d go find them. I’m definitely trying to cause some of that excitement. I hope people go get the songs off the birthday edition. It’s going to be great, man. I’ve got a wide array of music this time. I’m very excited.

Talk to me about your team. Who are the people who are helping guide you through the album?
There are about three or four major opinions that I respect. Obviously, the main one would be [engineer and producer] 40 (Noah Shebib). He’s worked with me every single night I’ve set foot in the studio since Comeback Season. He knows what I’m capable of and he’s not afraid to say “You can do that better” or “That’s it” or “I know you can write a better verse than that.” And Oliver El-Khatib, who has progressed from my friend who just used to advise me on how to dress to a guy who came up with the artwork for So Far Gone to, since he’s such a creative brain, that he’s become one of my managers. Then my DJ Future the Prince has a great ear for music. And probably the most important person in the equation is Hush, who is a friend of mine who grew up rapping in Toronto and he’s present every night. If anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s Hush. We love rap the same way and we have the same exact ear. So I know he’s hearing what I’m hearing. I never take criticism personally from anyone. I love feedback, but especially when it comes to Hush. He understands rap probably better than anyone else I mentioned. And he’s a close friend of mine.

Rap has become like fast food. Fans want it quickly and a lot of it. It’s only been a year since Thank Me Later and your fans seem to be starving for Take Care. Do you think they’ve forgotten that artists need life experiences to craft their art? READ FULL STORY

Drake releases 'Take Care' single 'Headlines' -- hear it here

Similar to how he brought in his last album Thank Me Later with “Over“—a cut that didn’t scream “pop smash!” but was a quality tone-setter—Canadian rhymer Drake dropped the first single from his forthcoming sophomore album Take Care this weekend.

The cut, “Headlines,” is a menacing beginning for the highly anticipated set. Aware of those who think his decline is imminent, Drake kicks his first verse off by saying that the negativity surrounding him is actually motivation to continue on his hot streak. Finding his groove shouldn’t be too difficult, considering he’s featured on “I’m On One.” It’s the biggest rap record of the summer. Still, he asks for help.

“I had someone tell me I fell off/ Oh, I needed that / And the they want to see me pick back up/ Well, where’d I leave it at?” he raps melodically. Listen here: READ FULL STORY

Drake drops 'Marvin's Room' video: Watch here!

His record label may be pulling all of his new tracks off the Internet, but Drake continues to be a one-man promotional machine for his forthcoming album Take Care.

So while his new single “Marvin’s Room” remains somewhat elusive, that didn’t stop the rapper from uploading the song’s brand new video, which finds him laying out a pretty literal interpretation of his own lyrics about drinking heavily and pining over a woman you know he shouldn’t be messing with in the first place.

It looks like it was made for about nine bucks (plus the cost of those whiskey shots and bottles of Heineken), but it’s so direct that it hits way harder than the more expensive, more cinematic and more jumbled Eminem video that premiered yesterday. Check out Drake’s moody clip for “Marvin’s Room” after the jump.

READ FULL STORY

Drake-approved R&B upstart The Weeknd: Why all the blog frenzy over an unknown?

Chances are you’ve either heard the Weeknd is the greatest thing to happen to R&B since the “Single Ladies” dance, or you don’t even know who he is.

If you haven’t heard of the Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfay), it might have something to do with the fact that his self-released debut was released only a week ago. Prior to that, he had a handful of songs floating around YouTube.

But ever since the Weeknd’s House of Balloons appeared as a free online download, his music has gathered the kind of media attention publicists usually offer blood sacrifices for: Fellow Canadian Drake has repeatedly Tweeted lyrics and linked to the mixtape, and an ensuing flurry of positive reviews tore through the online blogging community, including an 8.5 rating from tastemaker Pitchfork.

Listen to the slightly NSFW “Wicked Games” after the jump: READ FULL STORY

Drake's forthcoming album 'Take Care': The producer spills details to EW

DrakeImage Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage.comDrake and record producer Boi-1da have a lot in common: They’re both 24, Canucks, kinda big deals in the hip-hop scene, and have Grammy nominations under their belts. Now, they’re working on an album together for a second time—specifically, Drake’s second and forthcoming disc, Take Care. Last night on the Grammy Awards’ red carpet, EW snaked a few hints from producer Boi-1da, who shared his thoughts on his buddy’s forthcoming oeuvre.

“It is amazing stuff. A lot of rapping, more than on the last album,” Boi-1da told us. “He is trying to go in a slightly different direction, but stay consistent enough to give the fans what they want. He is more confident, and sure that what he is doing, he’s doing right. That opens artists up to trying new things and experimenting.”

READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj debuts 'Moment 4 Life' music video featuring Drake: Fairy tales do come true

Ever-buzzy raptress Nicki Minaj just debuted her latest music video, for single “Moment 4 Life,” which features some rapping from the equally as buzzy Drake. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Minaj production without a semi-solid theme of complete wackiness: “Moment 4 Life” depicts a Cinderella-esque Minaj enjoying the best night of her life because she’s found love—in the form of Drake. (They even smootch at the end!) It also wouldn’t be a Minaj production without several crazy outfits, wigs, and costume changes. In fact, the best part of the video is during the intro—before the music starts—when Minaj plays both the Cinderella character and her fairy godmother. “I don’t know,” the Cinderella Minaj says. “I just feel like tonight is going to be amazing. It’s going to be a dream.” Ding ding! Then her fairy godmother—oh yeah, she’s got Nicki’s patented British accent going on the whole time—grants Cinderella Nicki the ability to have this magical, special, too-good-to-handle “Moment 4 Life.” Get it? Clever. And totally crazy. But that’s why we love her. I will say the video tends to cast the song in a bit more of a romantic way than I had thought about it by just listening to it—this has the potential to be a wedding/love song even! That’s special. Now check out the video here:

READ FULL STORY

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