Drake's debut album Thank Me Later is a time capsule full of gems. Released in 2010, the release marked a time when the Canadian rapper still had so much to prove. But instead of being crushed by the weight of this, a young Aubrey Graham rose to the challenge. Propelling him to superstardom, Thank Me Later is brimming with heavyweight features, impressive production credits and a Drake that is decidedly young, fresh and at times even shaky on his feet. Even his voice sounds lighter and sharper, and throughout the record, you can hear him still working out how to manipulate his lilt into the smooth, mellifluous instrument we are all too familiar with today.
To celebrate the record's 10th anniversary, we're delving into the triumphs of Thank Me Later and why it still holds up today.
1. Thank Me Later perfectly encapsulates the beginnings of new-gen pop-rap
Drake released Thank Me Later following his 2009 breakout mixtape, So Far Gone. Not only did his debut studio album not get as much attention as the tape but it also received flak for leaning into pop melodies and textures. Though, it's clear that Drake was already pioneering a new chapter of rap that blurred the lines of genre.
2. Over is timeless
Celebratory trap fan-favourite, Over is a meditation on fame underscored by the iconic opening line: "I know way too many people here right now that I didn't know last year, who the fuck are y'all?" Whirring string sections make this flagrantly fun track a classic club hit that has everyone acting up.
3. Superstar production created the standout track, Show Me a Good Time
Written and produced by hip hop royalty No I.D. as well as Kanye West and Jeff Bhasker, who collaborated with West on 808s & Heartbreak as well as Watch The Throne, Show Me A Good Time is in and of itself a masterpiece.
4. It takes us back to a time when when Drake and Nicki Minaj still collaborated
Every era of Drake has its embellishments, but what we miss the most is Nicki and Drake making music together. Listening to Up All Night, a gritty party track that saw the rappers bragging about being young and at the top of their game is like being transported back in time.
5. We love cynical, forlorn Drake but Find Your Love epitomizes his youthful optimism
This song was designed for those in love looking for something to play on repeat.
6. Miss Me feat. Lil Wayne
Drake's nascent flow lends itself perfectly to the cymbal-heavy trap beats that are littered throughout Thank Me Later. And none more so than on Miss Me where he joins mentor, Lil Wayne who throws down a few classic likes like, "Yes, I am Weezy but I ain't asthmatic."
7. The growing pains throughout the record feel like a backstage pass to a Drake we no longer have access too
Thank Me Later isn't by any means perfect. There are moments on the record that feel distinctly disparate with the Drake we know today and worlds away from the glossy productions we've come to expect from the megastar. Though, it's in these lowkey moments that we see glimpses of the raw ambition of a young rapper with something to prove. To know that everything works out - even better than this, young Drake could have even imagined - makes the journey of Thank Me Later all the more exciting.
8. It's incredible to see how far 40 has come over the last decade
It isn't just Drake that has grown up over the last ten years. Noah James Shebib, better known as 40, has been by the rapper's side since the beginning. Their synergy has created some of the biggest hits in rap history, but to take a step back in time and experience 40's early production is a treat.
9. Drake proved that rappers could be vulnerable and successful
At just 23-years-old, Drake threw rap a curveball with his vulnerability. Inspired by the likes of West, the success of songs like The Resistance hinged on its confessional aspects. From guilt trips and lamenting not calling his grandma to being afraid of the breadth of his dreams, Drake lays it all out and with this, inspired not only a new generation of fans but a new guard of artists.
10. The album laid out the blueprint for what it meant to be a hybrid rapper that sings, raps, and creates pop
It's hard to remember a time when artists didn't interpolate rapping with singing. Drake pioneered this movement with his ubiquitous sing-song flow. Today, we see a new generation of rappers that emulating the Canadian rapper's style— and for that, we're thankful.