Take Care: How Drake Made It Cool to Be a "Pussy" - DJBooth

Take Care: How Drake Made It Cool to Be a "Pussy"

From the bottom of my melodramatic heart, thank you, Drake.
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On November 15, the hip-hop world will celebrate the seven-year anniversary of Take Care, the album that established all the Drake-isms that have grown near and dear to our hearts.

We’re talking about the album that made melancholy breakup anthems and half-sung, half-rapped lyrics over mellow beats a national trend, and laid the foundation for “sad” humblebrags about how Drake gets laid all the time, like on “Marvins Room” when he cries that he’s “ashamed” because he slept with four women that week. Shut the fuck up, Drake.

More importantly, though, Take Care solidified Drake’s status as mainstream hip-hop’s sensitive soul. I don’t know who broke Drake’s heart in order for him to gift us Take Care, but please give them a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2011, Drake was like the Taylor Swift of rap but with a smaller dick.

But all of that pales in comparison to the REAL reason why Take Care was such a pivotal event in our nation’s history. Take Care was the precise moment when Drake officially made it cool to be a pussy.

And it was about damn time.

While other rappers were popping bottles of Patron and partying with hoes in the club, Drake was sitting at home and eating full cartons of ice cream, and watching The Notebook in his footie pajamas. Respect.

Please understand that I'm not mocking Drake. I’m commending him. For years, my people (pussies) have been excluded from hip-hop culture. Since its inception, rap music has been unapologetically “masculine,” which means dudes like me who have never won a fist fight and don’t know how football works are usually on the outside looking in. As a man with no masculinity, I've always craved representation in hip-hop, and I found my savior in Aubrey Drake Graham.

Suddenly, I didn’t need to hide my femininity anymore. My collection of Backstreet Boys CDs were no longer a shameful secret, but a badge of honor. Take Care is one the most important rap albums of the decade because it was music made for dudes who can quote Mean Girls verbatim and know nothing about cars.

Take Care opens with “Over My Dead Body,” featuring a painfully serene beat by Noah “40” Shebib and a calm chorus sung by Chantal Kreviazuk. At the risk of sounding corny, the song is beautiful. Even when Drake is at his cockiest on the record, it comes off as endearing. I mean, he brags about performing at a bar mitzvah, which, to this day, is one of the most confusing boasts of all time.

But the song is also the perfect introduction to the album. It lets us know that we’re about to be taken on a carnival ride through a grown-ass man’s broken heart. And Drake does everything in his power to let us know how broken his heart is (HINT: it’s very, very broken.) There’s obviously the aforementioned “Marvins Room,” the Drake-iest Drake song of Drake’s career. But let’s not forget about the album’s title track, the passive-aggressive “Shot For Me,” or the unintentionally creepy love song “Hate Sleeping Alone.” There are more drunk CryFests on Take Care than Rick Ross-owned Wing Stops in the entire Southeast region.

Not every song on Take Care is a vulnerable, gut-spilling ballad, but the album is still packed to the brim with enough soul-searching to empower every non-masculine, male rap fan that pressed play. And society was never the same.

Of course, other mainstream rappers dabbled in emo before Drake. In 2008, Kanye crafted 808s & Heartbreak, the inspiration behind Take Care and the only record in his catalog that sounds like a robot with a My Chemical Romance addiction. 2Pac and Biggie made tons of songs predicting their own deaths, which still scares the fuck out of me. And Eminem obviously had some issues with his mom that he worked out in a public way.

Unlike his peers, though, Drake made emo-rap his entire brand, subsequently opening the floodgates for more openly emotional rappers. Fast forward seven years, now every rapper treats the recording booth like their sixth-grade journal.

At the top of this list are Lil Uzi Vert, who is basically what would happen if a genie turned a Fall Out Boy song into a person—I swear, I mean that as a huge compliment—and Post Malone, who spent the entirety of beerbongs & bentleys venting about his anxiety-riddled soul, even though the world expected a party album about the cons of showering. The list goes on and on.

Ever since Take Care was added to our iPod Nanos, my people have no longer had to live in fear of judgment and persecution. I can now be open about what a bitch I am and wear my hypersensitivity on my designer sleeves. Pussies are here to stay. We craft cohesive Adele playlists after a rough day at work and we cry our eyes out during Pixar movies—but then again, so does everyone else.

From the bottom of my melodramatic heart, thank you, Drake. You finally showed us that you can ball and bawl at the same time.

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