Drake’s critically lauded “Take Care” took home the prize for rap album at the 55th Grammy Awards on Sunday.
For his second album, Drake could have employed a surefire strategy of platinum producers, staggered singles and aggressive promotion to help ensure that the album would avoid that ill-fated sophomore slump. Given the pomp and hype the 26-year-old has amassed over his abbreviated career, such an assault was certainly expected.
He skipped tapping names like Timbaland, Kanye West and Swizz Beatz (who all contributed to tracks on his first disc) and instead relied on his in-house crew of Noah “40” Shebib, Tone Mason and Boi-1da. The result was an album that wove a rare mix of braggadocios anthems and unfiltered introspection and was one of the year’s most cohesive listens and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
“This album has consistency. You will not hear a piece of music that does not belong,” he told the Times during an interview ahead of the disc’s 2011 release. He pointed out that he recorded the album as one continual track. “The words were really important to me. When you get a young artist and they are on the rise, often the music becomes not what they have going on in their lives or surrounding things, but it starts to lose substance. You can always be like, ‘Man I’m the …’ but I think you have to thread some life in there so there’s something that will last.”
Drake’s “Take Care” was up against releases from socially conscious emcee Lupe Fiasco, hip-hop outfit the Roots, prolific elder statesmen Nas, 2 Chainz and Maybach Music Group overlord Rick Ross.
Historically the trophy for rap album has gone to universally lauded discs, with the last five years belonging to juggernaut releases from Kanye West, Eminem and Lil Wayne. Last year the award went to West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012. The 2013 awards are being held at the Staples Center and telecast on CBS. They are broadcast live except for viewers on the West Coast.
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