Drake – “Thank Me Later” album
Few debut albums have been released with the same anticipation as Drake’s Thank Me Later, Though he had already made a name for himself as an actor on Degrassi: The Next Generation. He first appeared on the hip-hop scene as Lil Wayne’s protégé in 2009 while Wayne was experiencing the greatest success of his career. All the puzzle pieces were in place for Drake. He had the support of rap’s biggest icon, the label Young Money Entertainment, a subsidiary of Cash Money, and he had already made an impact on the rap circuit. Though this was Drake’s first major label LP, his mix tape So Far Gone spurned two hit singles: “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful.” Drake was also part of the all-star roster (Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem and himself) performing in the song “Forever” for the More Than a Game soundtrack, and he contributed a verse to the smash single “Bedrock” from his label’s compilation album We Are Young Money.
Prior to the album’s release, two singles hit radio waves and received massive amounts of airplay. The first single, “Over,” produced by Boi-1da, gave Drake the opportunity to phrase his mission statement in the rap game. In the chorus he raps, “I’m doin’ me, I’m livin’ life right now man and this what I’mma do ‘til it’s over, ‘til it’s over, but it’s far from over.” These words bring with them the confidence that Drake has an extended career in music. The video featured Drake sitting on a bed and standing in a dark room with his memories being projected on the walls and ceiling around him. “Over” remained the only single for the album until “Find Your Love” was released two months later. “Find Your Love” shows off a very different side of Drake from its predecessor. On the song, Drake focuses his attentions on singing as opposed to rapping. He croons about impossible love claiming “I bet if I give all my love then nothing’s gonna tear us apart.” The song was produced by Kanye West and the video found Drake in Jamaica, obsessing over a woman involved with a gang leader.
When Thank Me Later was finally released it debuted as the number one selling album on the US Billboard 200. In the first week alone it had sold more than 100,000 copies in Canada and more than 447,000 copies in the United States. It would go on to receive platinum status in both countries. To date it has sold more than 1.5 million copies in the United States alone. It also received favorable reviews from most critics. In addition to the singles “Over” and “Find Your Love,” the album boasts a number of fan favorites including “Fancy” which features T.I. and Swizz Beatz, as well as the opening track, “Fireworks,” which features Alicia Keys. Other guests on the album include Young Jeezy, The-Dream, Jay-Z, label mate Nicki Minaj, and Drake’s mentor Lil Wayne. The collaboration with Lil Wayne, titled “Miss Me,” produced by Boi-1da, would go on to become the album’s third single. Though Wayne and Drake do not appear together in the video due to the former’s incarceration, prerecorded footage of him performing his verse is projected on a chain link fence and brick walls on the set. Thank Me Later boosted Drake from popularity to superstardom and established a voice that will continue to be heard in hip-hop for years to come.