Drake's masterpiece that is Take Care turns seven years old today, and rap music hasn't been the same since
In the years since Drake released this album he has arguably become the biggest artist in the world, but don't be confused, this was definitely his peak.
Rap music 20 years ago wasn't a place that would have welcomed Aubrey Graham - the young actor-turned-rapper from Toronto, Canada.
The world of hip-hop was an intimidating place for someone like Drake. There wasn't room for a young guy from Canada to come in and start rapping and singing about his feelings, and how girls have treated him in the past.
But Take Care changed all of that.
It would be easy to list off all of Drake's accomplishments that he has achieved since the release of this iconic album seven years ago, but for now we're just going to talk about Take Care itself.
When the album came out Drake was a rapper. A successful rapper, but just that. Not a superstar. Not the 'Hotline Bling' or 'In My Feelings' Drake that we have now.
And as surprising as it may seem, "Take Care Drake" was a different beast. A far greater, more-rounded artist than the one that top charts with every song today.
On Take Care, a fairly different Drake combined the cocky, braggadocious rapping style that the hip-hop heads loved, with the melodic, more catchy songs that r&b fans could really vibe to.
And to be honest, he merged the two better than anyone else ever has.
Since then, the rise of the amount of artists like Drake has risen exponentially. We've got a sea full of rappers who are talking about their feelings and their emotions. They're talking about their insecurities and how they feel vulnerable at certain points. They're doing Drake. But not as good as Drake does Drake.
There were artists like him in the past, but none of them ever entered into the conversation of "best rapper in the world". But that's exactly where Take Care put Drake. This "soft" rapper was your favourite rapper's favourite rapper, and there was nothing you could do about it.
Take Care changed the way rap music was listened to. Sure there was the occasional line about murder and guns thrown in there, like: "You know good and well that you don't want a problem like that/You gone make someone around me catch a body like that" on 'Headlines', but on that very same song we hear Drake's insecurities with the lines: "She wanna ask when it got so empty/ Tell her I apologize it happened over time/She says they missed the old drake, girl don't tempt me."
The majority of people don't grow up selling drugs and shooting guns, but everyone grows up feeling down sometimes. And rap music never used to be a medium to express feelings like that. Now it is. Largely thanks to Drake, and largely thanks to this album.
Legacy aside, the album is a musical masterpiece. The features are amazing, with Nicki Minaj, Andre 3000, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and Lil Wayne all playing a part. There isn't a bad song on it, and there are many excellent songs on it.
The flow is so smooth. Drake's presence on each song is so strong. Every syllable seems thought out and intentional, and every line is there for a reason. The punchlines are clever, it all sounds amazing, it tells an interesting story. It's just an amazing album. Largely about the content that Drake, the rapper who appeared to have it all, discusses.
Life seemed perfect for Drake, but it wasn't. Of course it wasn't. It was flawed for reasons he struggled to explain, because that's how life works. And it was so damn refreshing to hear a rapper talk like this. You're not perfect. You are human. Now we can relate. It was real-life being reflected through incredible music.
This infuriated hip-hop purists, because they didn't think this sort of thing belonged in their genre. They didn't think Drake belonged. And in truth, he didn't. But he does now. And that's mostly because of Take Care and the impact it had. Hit after hit, banger after banger, verse after verse, Drake was on top of the game. And he has been ever since.
It says a lot that an artist like Drake could have a plethora of number ones every single year, yet people constantly beg him to go back to "Take Care Drake".
Maybe he will, maybe he won't. As Drake himself put it: "I don't like to talk when there's nothing else left to say."
Maybe he said it all on this album. It's funny that Drake's next album after this was titled 'Nothing Was The Same', because really, that would have been the more accurate name for Take Care. Because since this day seven years ago, the rap game hasn't been the same.
It never will be again.