90FM Album Reviews: Drake–"5 AM In Toronto"
Steven Woodward


Like a parent watching his or her child grow up before their very eyes, Hip-Hip fans currently have a front-row seat to watch one of its most prominent artits blossom before their eyes. Just four years ago Drake was an up and coming Toronto artist with an acting background, a solid mixtape, and a Lil’ Wayne co-sign. Now, the Toronto rapper has two platinum albums and a Grammy. Wheelchair Jimmy who? Whether it was 2011’s “Lord Knows”, or this past summer’s “Stay Schemin’”, Drake’s had the game on notice that he’s not to be messed with, and that any perception of him being soft, either has a rapper or person are just that, perceptions. “5 A.M in Toronto”, the second single off of Drake’s third studio album, “Nothing was the Same”, should shatter these perceptions and end any debate about the greatness of Drake.

“5 A.M in Toronto”, produced by Boi-1da, showcases the lyrical side of Drake listeners have known since “Say what’s Real”, if not earlier, and then multiplies that to the nth degree. It’s like the guy you play Call of Duty with who can’t shoot so he just pulls the right trigger down and hopes to hit something, only in Drake’s case, he headshots the game over and over again for just over three minutes, never running out of ammunition. “5 A.M in Toronto” is Ether without the focus.”Sinatra lifestyle, I’m just being frank with ya”. The lifestyle he’s alluding to is drowning out his detractors with the sound of cashing his checks and then stealing their women. Going on to seemingly overstate his influence in rap, Drake boastfully raps, “Give these niggas the look, the verse, and even the hook. That’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake”. But with his “gold trophy from the committee for validation”, what would have been a laughable line not too long ago, especially given the heavily “808’s and Heartbreak” influenced “Thank Me Later”, has now become a real debate. After a summer that included a nightclub brawl, Drake also relays a sense of newfound focus this year on the track, not wanting to waste his time with things that won’t get him paid. Comparing himself to LeBron James, Drake raps, “I’m on my King James shit, I’m tryin’ to win here again”

While Drake has at times shifted in to a lane too poppy for most rap fans, there is no doubt he’s maintained a lyrical quality on his solo projects that should place him in the discussion with rap’s elites. And at a time when there is no clear cut heir to rap’s throne, sleeping on October’s Very Own would be an unwise decision.