Drake is one of the most unique rappers of all time. His confident lyrics, harmonious vocal abilities, technical abilities and integration of personal backstory into his songs all contribute to him being considered one of the greatest rappers alive.
His highly successful discography includes four studio albums, two mixtapes, one playlist and one EP (Extended play). Today, we will be examining Drake’s work and ranking it on a scale of worst to best.
Please note before you continue that this list is my personal decision; arguing on the best work of artists is a touchy subject and my choices may or may not resonate with you. I am not attempting to start a huge debate; I am just trying to pay tribute to a talented, successful, intelligent and inspiring rapper.
You should also know that Drake’s work with Young Money and his appearances on the tracks of other artists like “Forever” (2009) and “No Frauds” (2017) will not be recognized since we are focusing more on Drake’s solo (and one collaborative) work.
With that out of the way, here is my ranking of Drake’s discography:
#1o. “Room For Improvement” (2006)
Credentials: “Kick, Push” (Remix), “Come Winter” and “A.M. 2 P.M.”
The problem with this mixtape is not as much that it is his first; it is just that it is boring and “meh”. “Room For Improvement” did introduce the world to Drake, but it did not introduce him as a force to be reckoned with. Drake is just starting out in this mixtape; he does not exhibit his personal style(s) in this album nor does he give any reason to keep listening. Drake had to start somewhere, though, and it is obvious that he put plenty of effort into the mixtape. There is definitely some room for improvement on this mixtape.
#9. “Comeback Season” (2009)
Credentials: “Think Good Thoughts”, “Asthma Team” and “Going in for Life”’
Much like it’s predecessor, there is nothing about “Comeback Season” that is very unique or that convinces you to keep listening. Drake becomes more confident in this mixtape by stating right away that he wants to “shake up the world” and he does begin to form his own personal style in the tracks above, but there is nothing that great about “Comeback Season”. For that reason, it earns its place at Number Nine.
#8. “Thank Me Later” (2010)
Credentials: “Find Your Love”, “Up All Night” and “Over”
This was the album that truly introduced Drake as a major contender in the world of hip-hop. Drake tackles the themes of fake friends, wealth, gratitude and, of course, love in this fifteen-track phenomenon. “Find Your Love” is often credited as the track that made Drake the star that he is today while “Up All Night”, “Over” and “Best I Ever Had” also show how talented he is. “Thank Me Later” is one of Drake’s best.
#7. “What A Time To Be Alive” (2015)
Credentials: “Big Rings”, “Jumpman” and “Digital Dash”
I may be in the minority here, but I can not stand Future, so when I heard that Drake and him were doing a collaborative mixtape, I was pretty upset. After a couple of listens, though, I can confess that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. “What A Time To Be Alive” aligns two of the most confident and popular rappers of our time and shows off their abilities. The two rappers have great chemistry together and use the gravity of their lyrics to provide fans with a great collaborative mixtape full of awesome and catchy tracks like “Big Rings” and “Jumpman”.
#6. “Views” (2016)
Credentials: “Too Good” (feat. Rihanna), “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance” (feat. Wizkid & Kyla)
Drake’s “Views” has such a strong urban feel to it that you can almost smell his hometown of Toronto. Whenever I listen to a song on this album, I always picture Toronto in the wintertime; the reason why I do this is because winter is a season that is often used to heavily record and collect thoughts, feelings and emotions and Drake definitely does that in this album. Drake does not disappoint fans with passionate songs like “Once Dance”, “Too Good” and the crazy popular “Hotline Bling”. My favorite track on this album (“Fire & Desire”) is partially sampled off of Brandy’s “I Dedicate (Part II) and whose lyrics have also been debated to be about Nicki Minaj and her boyfriend/Drake’s rival, Meek Mill. This album does have some problems and it is not perfect, but I really enjoy the urban vibe of it and respect Drake’s dedication to his hometown through the tracks.
#5. “More Life” (2017)
Credentials: “Fake Love“, “Passionfruit” and “Fake Love” (feat. Kanye West)
This multi-genre playlist serves as Drake’s tribute to the human desire for more time on this planet. In “More Life”, Drake mixes the beats and musical styles of U.K. grime (“No Long Talk”), Caribbean dancehall (“Blem”), South African house (“Get It Together”) and Earth, Wind, and Fire (“Glow”) to create a lengthy and cultured playlist. This multi-cultured playlist did come as shock to many Drake fans because of how “non-Drakean” it was, but the smooth sequencing and assured lyrics made up for the absence of the familiar Drakean style. “More Life” is not Drake’s best, but it is also farm from his worst.
#4. “So Far Gone” (2009)
Credentials: “Best I Ever Had”, “Uptown” (feat. Bun B & Lil Wayne) and “Fear”
Critics consider “So Far Gone” to be one of the best mixtapes ever released. This mixtape was a major catalyst in launching Drake’s career on an international scale and was well received by both critics and hip-hop fans alike. Drake’s commentary on materialism throughout “So Far Gone” and soft touches of humor and honesty contribute to this being considered one of his best. “So Far Gone” is definitely one for the books.
#3. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” (2015)
Credentials: “Legend”, “Energy” and “Used To” (feat. Lil Wayne)
With this mixtape, Drake shut competitors’ mouths and forced everyone to realize how astounding he is. Through tracks like “Legend” and “Energy”, he showcases his astounding confidence and deep, thoughtful lyrics. This is a truly rewarding listen. You can feel the soul and passion of this mixtape like the wind on your skin. Drake takes the time to get thoughts and feelings off of his chest and it is remarkable.
#2. “Take Care” (2011)
Credentials: “Take Care” (feat. Rihanna), “HYFR” (Hell Ya F***ing Right) [feat. Lil Wayne] and “The Motto” (feat. Lil Wayne)
Choosing between “Take Care” and the Number One Choice as Drake’s best album was very difficult because of how personal and emotional they both are. Drake’s talents as a songwriter and interpretation of modern society are both obvious in his second studio album. This album was carefully made with delicate sound and rich thematic concerns, which makes it highly entertaining and unique. The reasons why this album is being considered second best is because it is a bit of a “downer” and does feel slightly like a drawn out monologue. Put those reasons aside, however, and you get one incredible and amazing album.
#1. “Nothing Was the Same” (2013)
Credentials: “Too Much”, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (feat. Majid Jordan) and “Started from the Bottom”
Many people will disagree with my decision to call “Nothing Was the Same” Drake’s best, but I would be lying to you if I told you that I enjoyed another Drake album more than I enjoyed this one. It does not matter how many times I have listened to it before; every time I hear “Nothing Was the Same”, I feel awed and transfixed. My favorite track on this album (and favorite Drake track, period), “Too Much”, attacks over-thinking because of how dangerous it can be. “Started from the Bottom” boasts a majestic beat and ridiculously confident message about rising from nothing while the popular “Hold On, We’re Going Home” perfectly describes the depths of infatuation. “Nothing Was the Same” is, in my opinion, Drake’s best work.
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