|2022||Honestly, Nevermind||Drake||★||24||Pop||Pop Hip-Hop|
What would happen if you took “Passionfruit,” removed the fun character of it and threw it on top of a watered down tropical house beat?
What would “One Dance” be like if you removed the memorable upbeat vocals and gave it a pre-set Fruity Loops Studio dance track?
These are questions nobody has ever asked themselves. But for some reason Drake felt the need to answer. And not just once, but 13 times across 52 minutes.
Drake has had some success with dance tracks in the past, but on his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, he deserts almost all elements of hip-hop and trap music to fully embrace dance beats.
The problem, beyond Drake segmenting some of his fanbase, is that the beats selected and the lines delivered are so watered down, so lazy and so unoriginal that there is nothing whatsoever that draws you in. Especially compared to his previous club, tropical house and dancehall-influenced songs — which aren’t always great, but can be a lot of fun and well timed to break up an album — each song on Honestly, Nevermind is a very clear cut below, if not multiple levels worse.
There’s not one song here that stands out, not one chorus that’s catchy enough to grab your attention, not one beat fun enough to get you up and on your feet. Everything is just the exact same level of bland and unimaginative.
Well, except for the final, 14th track on the record, which is a fine, traditional hip-hop song featuring 21 Savage (the only guest on the entire record). The track is fine, and of the expected quality of a normal cut on a normal Drake record. Here, it feels totally misplaced and unnecessary, although, if I do return to one song on this album, that would likely be the one.
Maybe a song from Honestly, Nevermind gets picked up for radio and becomes a hit thanks to a meme or TikTok (it tends to always happen with Drake), and maybe in the perfect situation a song from here will pop on and catch me at the right time for it to work, but I think that chances are pretty slim that I’ll change my mind on this one.
What this record does do is help highlight how long it’s really been since Drake released an album that was legitimately good.
I like Drake, but it’s been at least seven years since he produced a strong, concise project that worked all the way through. I’d argue that If You’re Reading This… is his last good record, and we’ve come a long way in hip-hop since 2015.
Drake will always produce mega hits, he’ll (almost) always have a few really solid songs on every record, and he’s still great at hopping on the right person’s track for a well-placed feature. And he has some timeless tracks and tracks that are perfect for certain situations. But at this point, until Drake proves otherwise, I think we can stop anticipating his albums as momentous releases that could one day be seen as a classic, and just wait to enjoy the few songs that end up popping.
For this reason, Honestly, Nevermind is aptly named.
Person One “Oh wow, Drake dropped a surprise album? I’m going to have to check that out!”
Person Two: “Yeah, it’s listed under dance music, not hip-hop, and has no features.”
Person One: “Honestly… nevermind.”