Drake: A Hip-Hop Sensation Falls Flat

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Thank Me Later is Drake's hotly anticipated major-label debut. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Toronto-based rapper Drake released his debut album, Thank Me Later, on Tuesday. Aubrey Drake Graham has been hailed as hip-hop's newest star, but he's not new to the world of entertainment. He formerly starred as Jimmy Brooks, the basketball star from Degrassi: The Next Generation — a popular Canadian teen drama.

Last year, "Best I Ever Had," Drake's hit from his So Far Gone EP, exploded onto Top 40 radio. The EP became the fifth-best-selling album of 2009, unheard of for a mixtape, and the rapper scored a record deal with Lil Wayne's label, Young Money Entertainment.

His highly anticipated major-label debut features dreamy melodies and electric synths, along with big-name guests like Jay-Z and Timbaland. But for an MC whose buzz was so powerful for the past year and a half, the album disappoints. Thank Me Later is, simply put, a pop-influenced hip-hop album. Its songs are redundant, both musically and lyrically, with Drake rapping about what he knows best: the pressures of celebrity life. But he doesn't do it convincingly enough to evoke sympathy.

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