Thank Me Later: A Reaction

Dear Mr. Graham,

This is not a fan letter and it’s not a review; it’s a reaction. I know what fame is like, how often do you hear someone’s objective opinion?

Right.

So honestly:

Bad news first—bear with me, promise it isn’t long—I gotta say, I was a li’l put off by the hearts and the fairies on your album. The back of your album, low key, looked like something a very talented teenage girl drew in her notebook while ignoring her science teacher and singin’ Find Your Love in her head. Not the biggest fan of that. Especially ‘cause the front is impressionist but it’s still got a strength. Then, you turn it over and Becky just beasted during physics. If the intent was juxtaposition, you could’ve gone further. If there was no intent, the images are a li’l stark. But, that and a TOTALLY unnecessary appearance by The Dream, are just about it on the negatives.

Now…

“DAWG!” (Randy Jackson voice, AI not J5) DUDE! (That’s more my style) I feel like I know you now. We often feel like we know an artist through the art that they produce, the iconography they create. For most artists—I won’t say any names ‘cause a hater I am not—but for most artists, there isn’t much to get to know.  There’s a saying ‘round the SpokenFree camp: “We don’t knock hustle. We knock content.” Their content often hangs solely on their pride. Celebrities, epitomize living life to the fullest. If people only hear from you how much better you are than everyone around you, they see that as the key to success. Whether you like it or not, that’s what it is. That said….well the fuck done. “Drake” isn’t a walking ego. He is a person who exists within a very real space and that is made evident on Thank Me Later.  Between, and often within, every track we get a different bit of “Drake”. But it’s depth not inconsistency. I never felt outside of “Drake” on this album. I hardly even noticed Mrs. Keys-Beats on Fireworks, and I only noticed The Dream enough to be annoyed on Shut It Down. Nicki Minaj is your ace boon, so of course y’all made it happen. But the true dopeness is that even when the feature was UNDENIABLE, Jeezy-Unforgettable, Jay-Light Up, Wayne-Miss Me, you held your own like you BEEN kickin’ it with legends on the reggie. Dude. I KNOW you were nervous in the studio. The fact that the best were simply as good as you throughout your album is damned impressive. In fact, that makes up for the cajones deficit the fairies and hearts got you.

I think it’s important to stress the humanity behind the celebrity and you believe in that like Jay (Z, of course). It’s deeper than music. Celebrity has greater influence than any other level of power in human history. I see how that could fuck with a person. Y’all (You and Jay) recognize that so much you live it. “Hip-hop was losing life, so I put my heart in it” (The Resistance). I respect a man who doesn’t deny the cockiness that being on a winning spree incites. You ‘bout to clown on E’ERYBODY…at least a few good times. No more put-a-heel-on-a-gym-shoe groupies. No more debt (at least for a minute). Nothing dictating what you do other than you (outside of the shit you’ve chosen to commit yourself to). How could you not ball? But more than I appreciate that cockiness, I appreciate the humility of knowing this is only a winning spree. Nothing lasts forever. What makes that humility and not insecurity is that you confront that challenge head on. Aubrey says: “Oh you Fancy, huh? A’ight then. Thank Me Later.” THAT is definitely a good look Aubz, definitely a good look.

My only note is less about “Drake” and more about Aubrey, ‘cause “Drake” really tells Aubrey’s stories.

So.

Man to man:

Keep your vulnerabilities in your music. You can’t wear your heart on your sleeve. I guarantee you’ll never find a fly enough pair of kicks to go with it. It’s an important lesson, trust me. You can’t chase love like you chase your dreams. It will come to you. And it’s in your best interest to have more than a heavily used and damaged heart to offer it.

All in all though, I fucks with it hardcore—and not just this album, but you. Thank Me Later is BEYOND “better than good enough.” When your audience can feel like they connect to why every element is as it is, you’ll never make a major misstep. So the key is honesty…but I think you knew that already, didn’t you?

Congrats my dude. Awesome first round.

Two fingers/One love,

Tyler Allen Hill

The Gent

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