(Photo: Matt Sayles Chris Pizzello AP)
"I wouldn't change a thing if you paid me," Drake raps on Tuscan Leather, the darkly atmospheric opening salvo on Nothing Was the Same (*** out of four). But for a guy sitting on top of the world, he sounds awfully moody - just as you'd expect.
On his latest album (out Tuesday; sampled via a leaked copy), Canada's leading hip-hop export continues to juggle bravado with brooding, though he sounds more empowered in the latter. The dissonant chords that twinkle behind his boasts in the previously released single Started From the Bottom give way to flecks of bitterness in the eerily ambient Own It, and to defiance in the stark, thumping Worst Behavior.
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Drake's introspection is softer and more complex on From Time, enhanced by Jhené Aiko's delicate singing, but in the soberly insinuating Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2, he approaches guest Jay Z in vigor. Drake may never match Jay's regal ease, or his wit. But Nothing finds the younger rapper asserting his own angsty authority with increased confidence.
Download: From Time, Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2