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Coming off the monster success of “Take Care” in 2011, 2012 was a bit of a quiet year for Hip-Hop superstar Drake. This lull in his usually super-active career, however, does not mean Drake didn’t pick his spots. Despite not releasing a (real) solo single or album, Drizzy still had a great 2012, hitting U.S. charts seven times (of nine tracks he was involved with). Here is Drake’s best work of the year- all broken into categories.

Quick note- This is a list put together of work released in 2012. This strikes everything from “Take Care” from consideration, as it was released November 15th, 2011.

 

Best Hook/Best Track-Saving Effort:

No Lie- 2 Chainz (Feat. Drake)

I’ve never been a big 2 Chainz fan, and when I first listened to “No Lie”, I was fully expecting to listen through the track one time, be up to date, and never purposely play the song again. 2 Chainz’ verse goes very much like his verses in all of his songs go: he talks about what he’s smoking on, throws in a punchline that kind of makes sense, and goes on to talk about his car and his girl. Don’t get me wrong, I can see 2 Chainz is at least a serviceable rapper, but his stuff just isn’t my type. *Sidenote- Props to 2 Chainz for his 147K first week back in August.* I was about ready to quit on this song when 2 Chainz’ verse came to an end and Drake’s hook began. The change-up couldn’t have come too soon, and Drake delivers a great hook with an inventive (like always) melody. He then parlays the hook into a smooth-flowing verse where he (maybe?) refers to Rihanna, quipping: “She could have a Grammy, I still treat that a** like a nominee”. This track is just another example of what Drake brings to any project. 2 Chainz can thank Drake for securing his third track on my iPod. Skip to 0:58 if you’re looking to sidestep 2 Chainz.

Best Line:

Stay Schemin’- Rick Ross (Feat. Drake & French Montana)

“B*tch you wasn’t with me shootin’ in the gym”

There was, like there always is with Drake, a ton of lines I could have chosen for this category. This time, though, I wanted to go with a line that wasn’t just  a double meaning. Even though Drake later apologized to Vanessa Bryant, this line was still a great one.  Besides- Anytime a line spawns as many memes as this one (go ahead, Google it), this type of consideration is deserved; and Rick Ross repeating the line just made it better. Say what you may about whether or not Drake’s point in the line was valid (“well she was raising the kids!!”), but it definitely makes you think. Drake’s verse begins at around 1:48, for those of you who aren’t big Rick Ross fans.

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Best Verse:

Pop That- French Montana (Feat. Rick Ross, Drake, & Lil’ Wayne)

Surprised here? I was too when I first thought of it. But go back and listen through the whole verse (preferably while reading the lyrics) and you’ll see what I mean. My favorite lines from this verse were also in contention for “Best Line”. In one line, Drizzy says: “Gettin’ cheddar packs like KD” Let’s walk through that one. KD can stand for Kevin Durant (has a big contract) or Kraft Dinner (cheddar packs). He then says “OKC that’s player sh**”. Durant obviously plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the double entendre also can be interpreted as “okay, see, that’s player sh**”. The other line is self-explanatory, but the flow just makes it stand out. Near the end of the verse, Drake says: “I’m Young Papi, Champagne, they know the face and they know the name, got one watch that could probably pay for all your chains, and you’d owe me change.” Really, read through the whole verse. It’s all like that. Drizzy’s verse comes in at around 2:38.

 

Best Overall Work:

Enough Said- Aaliyah (Feat. Drake)

Drake has made his thoughts on the late Aaliyah known previously through the letter he wrote on the anniversary of her death a while back, and through references in songs such as “We’ll Be Fine” (“Since I saw Aaliyah’s precious life go to soon, she deserve the credit for how I’m about to get it”), and the obvious amount of work Drake put into this track strongly showed his respect. Had it not been for this track being my pick for “Best Overall Work”, the verse alone would have been in contention for the “Best Verse” slot mentioned above. One thing Drake does extremely well is get his thoughts and feelings out without ever too cheesy, and this track is a great example of that. The reference to the Chris Brown feud is well placed and explained, and, being a big Mario Balotelli fan, I also appreciated the second line. The “every million I gain an enemy or a cousin” line was also very well done.

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This article was first posted on January 4, 2013