Aubrey Drake Graham is actually a big reason why I am a Hip-Hop fan. Before he sold 5 million albums, made 42 million dollars on the Club Paradise tour, or surpassed Jay-Z for the most number one singles on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-hop chart, he was Wheel Chair Jimmy. During and after his infamous stint on the Canadian drama, Degrassi, he started his rap career. His first tape Room For Improvement was exactly as advertised, while possessing some real lyrical and musical talent, Drake was clearly an amateur in the rap game. Fortunately, Drake stuck with it, and in 2007 he released a free mixtape titled Comeback Season. Featuring the likes of Rich Boy, Little Brother, The Clipse, Lil Wayne, and Trey Songz, the mixtape has since gone Platinum (250,000 downloads) on Datpiff.com and has been viewed over 1,150,000 times.
In the intro to the tape Drake describes the immense pressure he feels after “hitting rock bottom”, and vows to support the people who are depending on him. The first full song “The Presentation” deserves a post on its own. The first bars, “Shake up the world? that is what I’m about to do” prove to be poetic justice 5 years and the saying “YOLO” later. By riding a slow beat and the tunes of a graceful piano, Drake proves his sophomore effort is much more serious with bars “like a nigga turned blood I came out of the blue/ they like damn who’s Drake? Where’s Wheel Chair Jimmy at? On my Chris Brown shit I’m still here Gimmie That.” Obviously, this preceded their feud over Rihanna, which allegedly resulted in San Antonio Spur’s point guard Tony Parker taking a bottle to the eye in the crossfire. Later on in the track, Drake effortlessly switches topics from his lack of money to his impending attack on the rap game as the beat trails off, “To all the A&R’s who playing stars, why you gotta act dumb? Ya girl know how I beat it like a flat drum. And spit dirty like I’m chewing on black gum. I fooled yall there ain’t shit for me to come back from.”
Then, 1 minute and 30 seconds into the song, that beat is replaced by a different one thats far more upbeat and playful and suddenly the beast comes out. The next 2 minutes contain complex bars including gems such as, “Im perfecting my craft using mo’ sess, tryna make some cheese off a single is a process. Get it? Kraft, single, cheese, process? Sit back and admire the talent that I posses. Top notch, no less, oh yes, I’m known in the city but need to bust out like a model that show chest.” After delivering the last line he busts out with a little chuckle as if he knows he killed it. He continues to drop bombs through the rest of the song and truly blesses the track with some very clever word play.
The tape is renowned for the smoothness he posseses while spitting out some tough rhymes. When listening to it in 2012 one can’t help but notice spurts like, “And I was praying I would drop June, but label reps applying that pressure to make them pop tunes. But I keep it rock’n for Pete sake. You fake gangsters are cliche. And if you ain’t talking dough when you see Drake, I be in ya face like no speaka la ingles.” While he does indeed make boat loads of money, Drake seems to have given into the label’s wishes of making pop tunes and forgetting about our dear friend Pete Rock (and C.L. Smooth for that matter). As a true Drake fan it pains me to see him produce joints like his Thank Me Later single “Find Your Love”. If for no other reason than the fact that I know he has all the talent in the world, I think the balance between “pop tunes” and real rap was achieved on his initial standout tape “So Far Gone”, and I wish Drizzy nothing but success in the future.
Other standout songs from that tape include: