As much as Drake’s latest mixtape, The Drought Is Over: Friends With Money, has been making the rounds all over the internet for the past five months, it’s worth noting since its official release date is actually October 27th. The 24-track collection, looking to follow-up on the continued success and acclaim of So Far Gone, is another assortment of solid beats, radio-friendly rap and Lil’ Wayne cameos. As successful as it is musically though, it doesn’t always excel similarly when discussed in terms of originality.
The Drought Is Over actually starts stronger than So Far Gone, to be honest. Beginning with a clip of Drake clearing up his persona and calling out those who doubted him with “Drake Speaks,” the mood is decidedly less cheerful, and more about proving himself to the world. These opening bombs seem to set a tone for an album all about redemption. “Good Night and Good Luck” embraces a flow more street-influenced than he’s alluded to before this point, and with a solid loop of samples spinning behind him, you’d be hard-pressed to doubt his approach.
The issue arises when Drake abandons this new persona on the next track, “Uptown,” which, like many other songs on The Drought Is Over, is just a reworking of an old track from the last mixtape. This is the initial disappointment in a slew of them, mostly revolving around exhaustion from the old tired beats and lyrics. It’s not that these songs are bad (they’re not), but some different material is much more desirable than continued cuts of “Successful,” featuring Trey Songz and Lil’ Wayne, and song of the year nominee, “Best I Ever Had.”
As for the rest, it fluctuates between shameless pop/hip-hop combos like “She Just Wanna Dance,” decent freestyles like “Can’t Hide From Love Freestyle” and other potentially solid outcomes such as the slightly psychedelic “Overdose on Life.” It becomes an almost-exhausting rotation, with noteworthy moments popping up all over the place, but amidst seas of beats and lyrics we’ve already heard, or would rather not, if possible.
Overall, The Drought Is Over presents an effort that has some glaringly excellent interludes that are unfortunately clouded by a lot of wasted space. If Drake’s stated purpose at the onset was to try and confront the doubters of his credibility, he only accomplishes this in part, which may not be enough. Overridingly, the songs not involving Lil’ Wayne in some capacity lacked energy and focus, save the ones we already know and love. I’ll chalk it up to just being a mixtape, rather than a full album release, but Drake has to step it up if he wants to silence the gaggle of haters. Similarities include Kid Cudi, Trey Songz and Fabolous.
Rating: 6.5/10Top Track: “Good Night and Good Luck” (not available, but for the five or so people who haven't heard "Best I Ever Had" yet, it's below)
[Previously on Animal Noises: Matt's Track of the Week: "Forever" (Feat. Kanye West, Lil' Wayne & Eminem)]