If an album is to be a compilation of songs that interweave to create a musical story and evoke a certain feeling, Drake does just that with Nothing Was The Same. Picking up where he left off with 2011′s Take Care, Drizzy continues to evolve his now signature sound crafted by producer and right-hand-man 40 Shebib. Sonically, Nothing Was The Same truly is a step higher from the feeling of “Marvin’s Room”, a little darker and moody, but unapologetic in content; he continues to push the envelope in regards to emotion on a track.
The production may not be what is considered “classic hip hop”, taking many references from experimental and electronic styles and slowing down the tempo. A good reference for sound would be The Weeknd’s first project, House of Balloons. Although Nothing Was The Same does not contain any features from Abel, it does boast lyrical accompaniment from Jay Z, Jhene Aiko, Birdman, and 2 Chainz.
In the album’s fifteen tracks, it is hard to really skip any as they blend seamlessly in this sonic story. Key songs include “Furthest Thing”, “Wu-Tang Forever”, “Worst Behavior”, “From Time” (featuring Jhene Aiko), and “Too Much” (featuring Sampha). Nothing Was the Same solidifies Drake in his artistry, bridging the gap between his transition from his earlier mixtape work to commercial sound, and finding the happy medium. “Started From the Bottom” was a great way to introduce his evolved sound to the public as it blended his darker earlier work, reminiscent of So Far Gone, with a catchy hook and mean bass line that we have come to know him for in the pop realm.
Drake pushes his vocals on the effort, both in rapping and singing alike, playing with different inflections in his range. It is an album you truly need to sit with from beginning to end to get the full grasp of theme and sound. For that alone, it is a great follow-up for the soon to be 27-year old rapper as it shows so much growth. “Heartbreak Drake” is no longer here, but his mature older brother who is reflecting on past experience on wax, truly speaking to a generation.