CD Reviews

Take Care, The Div and Camp

Commercial Rap

Drake Take Care Universal/Young Money

Drake’s 2010 debut, Thank Me Later solidified the Canadian as a bonafide superstar. And questions immediately arose regarding whether he could keep the momentum on his follow-up. With Take Care it’s safe to say that Drake has squashed any talk of a sophomore jinx. Once again, Drake demonstrates his unique ability to appeal to both genders with his clever rhymes drenched in both emotion and exceptional R&B crooning. The production is as good as it ever was: Songs such as the moody piano-driven “Over My Dead Body” and raucous Just Blaze-produced “Lord Knows” allow Drake to thump his chest proudly or slide into a more subtle groove effortlessly. He whirls brilliant narratives on the ode to his mother “Look What You’ve Done,” gets bromantic with his homies on The Weeknd-assisted “Crew Love” and stumbles through inebriated phone calls to women on “Marvin’s Room.” It’s difficult to name a thing that Drake can’t do. Take Care proves that Drake is much more than a rapper; he is an artist. ★★★★☆

West Coast Swagger Rap

Pac Div The Div RBC

Pac Div has made noise on the independent scene with their seamless blend of old-school and new-school hip-hop straight out of Los Angeles. With several mixtapes and an EP building their fan base, the trio signed with Universal Records, but an album never materialized. After severing ties with the label, the group thanks the fans for their patience with a full-length album simply titled The Div. It encompasses the Cali swagger while still paying homage to the underground roots that they were birthed from. They verbally slap suckers upside their head on the Asher Roth-assisted “Useless,” dismiss gold-digging groupies on “She” and make music to rattle trunks on “Top Down.” They remain accessible without trying too hard to appeal to a mainstream audience thanks to relatable subject matter and a stew of exceptional production from the likes of No I.D., Swiff D, Cook Classics and Pac Div member Like. The Div is good, damn good. So good that Universal is likely kicking themselves for letting them go. ★★★★☆

Brutally Honest Hip-Hop

Childish Gambino Camp Glassnote

When Community actor Donald Glover opted to throw his hat into the hip-hop world, there was reasonable concern as to whether he’d be a corny Will Smith or win over die-hard fans like fellow actor-turned-rapper Drake. Donning the moniker Childish Gambino, the 28-year-old releases his debut album, Camp, and the results are a little more Drake than Fresh Prince. Camp oozes witty banter and emotionally charged rhymes. The album kicks off with the reflective “Outside,” which finds Gambino reflecting on his humble beginnings and not fitting into the ghetto mentality despite his very real struggles. From there, the album bounces between aggressive songs such as the shit-talking “Backpackers” to more insanely personal diatribes (“All the Shine”). Glover waxes poetic about women, race and growing up an outcast with a great deal of candor that must be heard to be appreciated. There’s no acting here, Camp is as honest a debut as you’ll hear. ★★★★☆

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Tour Buzz


Tour Buzz

By Geoff Carter

YIPPY-YO-YIPPY-YAY: I’ve met a bunch of musicians I admire, but only one has received an impulsive bear hug. Funk pioneer George Clinton, whose band Parliament-Funkadelic plays at Fiesta Rancho’s Club Tequila on Oct. 28 ($42), is an inspiration to everyone from Prince to the Wu-Tang Clan; a tireless touring machine who seems no closer to retirement at age 70 than he did at 35; and the most colorfully attired man in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.