Analyzing the longevity of Drake's Legacy in rap

65th GRAMMY Awards - Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective
65th GRAMMY Awards - Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective / Maury Phillips/GettyImages

He was once known as Jimmy Brooks off the hit TV show called Degrassi. Nowadays, Drake is considered by many to rank among the greatest rappers of all time.

While he certainly isn’t the first artist to combine melodic cadences with traditional rap in one song, Toronto’s Very Own has managed to maintain a lengthy and successful rap career whilst retaining a unique approach to what other artists such as Lauryn Hill, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony did before him.

If you trace back to Drake’s mixtape days in the mid-2000s, you might notice that he didn’t do much harmonizing in his music. Tracks like Closer To My Dreams, Come Winter, City is Mine, and his Barry Bonds freestyle are a far cry from what we’re used to hearing from the Toronto native in 2023.

Some claim that Drizzy lost his substance once his mixtape phase faded, others refute this statement and say that Drake only improved with time.

His debut album Thank Me Later spawned several memorable tracks; some of which weren't singles. Show Me A Good Time, Light Up, and Unforgettable all reference Drake's sudden rise to fame in some way. Since we all can't be famous, it goes without saying that a great portion of Thank Me Later wasn't relatable. Still, one of Drake's greatest talents allows him to paint vivid pictures with words that enticingly take you on (not your journey) but his.

Drake's Room For Improvement and Comeback Season mixtapes showcased an introspective look at his climb from an up-and-coming backpack rapper to a mainstream star with the struggle of trying to find the right woman spliced in. Thank Me Later worked similarly, only instead of the rise, he was now detailing the adjustments to his newfound success.

Take Care and Nothing Was The Same contained plenty of uptempo records, but when examining songs like From Time and Marvins Room, we get a sense of Drake's more vulnerable side.

To analyze further than NWTS would be a waste of your time because as I'm sure you figured out, there's a pattern to take away from this.

If You're Reading This It's Too Late is considered to be Drake's best work by many. As it stands, this mixtape is a far cry from its predecessor. The same exact phrase was used earlier in this article to describe how his first mixtapes differ from the music he's making now. That's how it's always been and things probably won't change anytime soon.

So, did Drake change with time? Of course, he did. But given his history, it clearly wasn't for the worst. Almost every great musician knew when it was time to change things up, get with the new age, or reinvent themselves. Drake shouldn’t be the exception.