Drake doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone at this stage, although rumblings crop up that he wants to be respected as a top-tier lyricist before all is said and done. That statement is why the Canadian superstar’s surprise latest album, Honestly, Nevermind, is a polarizing yet enjoyable shift in sound as Drizzy confidently swerves into a different lane.
Honestly, Nevermind is first and foremost, not a Hip-Hop album as many expected. Further, it isn’t the only time Drake has toyed with House and Dance rhythms, but it is the first time he’s committed so much time to the effort. The response to the OVO honcho’s seventh album bordered on comical with notable figures such as Irv Gotti pondering the end of Hip-Hop as we know it because of Drizzy’s massive influence.
While it is true that Honestly, Nevermind will undoubtedly inspire a parade of imitators, much of the album sounds like a long experiment to see what works. Not every track immediately dazzles. In fact, early impressions from some called the project weak in unfair comparison to earlier works. This isn’t Toronto tough talk or UK-influenced Hip-Hop. Honestly, Nevermind was made for day parties, evening kickbacks, and Instagram captions to send subliminal messages to a past lover or two.
The album’s first single “Sticky” is one of the standout tracks featuring production from the deft hands of Gordo, who also lends a number of tracks across Honestly, Nevermind. Along with “Jimmy Cooks” which features 21 Savage, “Sticky” is the only time listeners are treated to traditional rapping from the album’s star.
Gordo, alongside RY X, once again shows up for the album’s second single “Massive,” a booming track seemingly crafted for large auditoriums and sweaty nightclubs. While the vocals are capable, the chorus will undoubtedly inspire the random late-night text after one too many shots.
“Oh, when you’re ready
We can put this behind us
Baby, we can find us again, I know
Put this behind us
We can find us again
‘Cause I don’t wanna go
‘Cause I don’t wanna go
I was alone, I was alone in this world
And I needed people
I know my funeral gon’ be lit ’cause of how I treated people
I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna…”
Perhaps the album’s strongest track, “Flight’s Booked,” features a sample from Floetry’s “Getting Late” and the track from Kid Masterpiece with assistance from Alex Lustig is flawless. The song features not only Drake’s strongest vocal performance but leans into exquisite if succinct songwriting that hints at a chance at a rekindled relationship.
“Trust me, I’m starting to realize
And look beyond my fears
Sun keeps on turning to twilight
Baby, we don’t have long
I can’t keep my hands off you
All night, all my love
You say it’s getting too late
Baby, don’t be afraid”
The album’s lone misstep, “Liability” is a chopped-and-screwed attempt at Bedroom Pop that simply doesn’t work for a variety of reasons. While Nyan’s production is more than capable, the slowed vocals take away some of the song’s vast potential.
The album’s closer with 21 Savage garnered quite a bit of chatter during its release as it harkened back to the days of The Boy’s trap-influenced forays. Locking back in with Tay Keith, the aforementioned “Jimmy Cooks” is sonically jarring considering what came before it. However, the pair recreate their chemistry from their past collaborations, sparking passing thoughts of a joint project not like Drake’s work alongside Future.
Honestly, Nevermind most likely won’t go down as one of Drake’s vaunted releases as suddenly, music listeners morphed overnight from causal fans of House to opinionated experts via an array of kneejerk reactions. A day into its release last month, people declared the album an immediate failure, and the chatter nearly achieved its goals of muddying the experience. But if one has an open ear, and the right listening environment, Honestly, Nevermind could serve as the proper audio backdrop.
Listen to Honestly, Nevermind via your preferred DSPs in the link provided below.