It's a sign of the changing times that Drake sounds more humble and more in-check on his impressive sophomore album "Take Care" (Cash Money) than he did on his hit-and-miss debut "Thank Me Later" from last year.
Drenched in dubstep's moody synths, the bulk of "Take Care" is melancholy and cautious, effectively capturing today's zeitgeist of uncertainty and diminishing expectations. His rhymes are filled with emotional self-doubt and realizations about how success didn't bring him the happiness he thought it would. ("Good Ones Go" is especially uneasy.) Oh, sure, Drake still boasts, but it's usually hedged. "I'm the greatest -- man, I said that before I knew I was," he says in "Underground Kings."
Drake needs his guests to draw him out of the gloom. Rihanna draws him onto the dance floor on the gorgeous title track, providing a sweet counterpoint to her own "We Found Love."
"Take Care" proves that all his high-profile mentors were right to lavish him with time and resources. He's grown into the role of hip-hop's newest superstar.
BOTTOM LINE Building his own hip-hop lane