Drake recently hit a huge milestone: attaining 11 No. 1 records on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Having 10 or more chart-topping projects is a major feat only accomplished by a few artists in history – like The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. Drake has now proved he is up there with the greats.
The Canadian rapper's achievement has us reflecting upon his years of discography. We've already selected our Top 10 Drake Songs, but in light of his recent achievement, we figured we'd use this Top 10 to look at his albums instead. Drake's been releasing studio albums and various mixtapes since 2006. His style has evolved and improved, but his charisma, passion, and drive has stayed the same across all of his projects.
For this Top 10, we will be including some of Drake's mixtapes as well as his LPs – the only thing we won't be grading are his compilation albums. Without further ado, let's get to it!
10. Certified Lover Boy
After months of delay and anticipation, Certified Lover Boy was released in September 2021. To put it bluntly, this album is only known for "Fair Trade"...and that's about it.
While Certified Lover Boy has been panned by critics – and some fans, too – it's not an awful album. It's classic Drake, who tries his best to balance relationships, fame, and being a good person. The album does have a dark and cloistered atmosphere that paints Drake as a Citizen Kane type character. Y'know, the type of guy all alone in his opulent castle who just needs some connection? Really, Certified Lover Boy's only fault is that it didn't live up to the massive fan hype...and also got caught up in a feud with Kanye West's Donda, which was dropped around the same time.
9. Honestly, Nevermind
Drake's latest album that hit #1 on the Billboard 200! In terms of its rollout, it was the complete opposite of Certified Lover Boy: only being announced to the public 90 minutes before it dropped. So that eliminated the fan hype problem. But was it better than Certified Lover Boy? Yes...but only by a little bit.
What makes this album stand out from the rest is its foray into dance music territory. There's definitely some Chicago house and techno music influences in the mix. The latter style is definitely reflected in the pulsating song "Sticky," which includes some forceful bars from Drake that ride over ferocious kick drums and ghostly synths. Then there's the popular track "Jimmy Cooks," which attracted a lot of attention from hip-hop fans due to its featuring of 21 Savage.
Honestly, Nevermind may not be Drake's best work, but it's a good kind of album to have in the bank. We're happy to see Drake experiment.
8. So Far Gone
Essentially, the mixtape that changed everything for Drake. So Far Gone is his third tape and is considered by fans to be a major turning point in his career. Not only did he show a shift in sound on this album, but this was the project that catapulted him to international success.
So Far Gone was released on February 13, 2009, under Drake's October’s Very Own label. It features rappers like Lil Wayne and Bun B and singers like Trey Songz, Lloyd, Lykke Li, and Omarion. This mixtape eventually led to Drake signing to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment label in June 2009. Some standout tracks include "Best I Ever Had," "Successful (feat. Lil Wayne & Trey Songz)," and "November 18th."
7. More Life
Drake has referred to More Life as a "playlist" rather than an album. Most likely because it came just after one of the biggest albums of his career (that's next up on our list!) and features a plethora of up-and-coming artists. From Jorja Smith to Quavo, Young Thug, and 2 Chainz, More Life is a collaborative effort...and Drake's attempt to get his featured artists into the mainstream.
His attempt definitely worked. Like several of his albums, More Life made it to the top of the Billboard 200 in April 2017. The title “More Life” is actually Jamaican slang made popular by dancehall artist Vybz Kartel. Standout tracks on this "playlist" include "Passionfruit," "Fake Love," "Gyalchester," and "Portland (feat. Quavo & Travis Scott)."
While Drake became a superstar before Views, this album is considered to be one of his most ambitious projects. Drake announced on August 6, 2014 that the title of his next album would be "Views From The 6." However, Drake shortened it to Views closer to the album release to make it less Toronto-centric.
Views is probably Drake's most highly-anticipated album. This is because of the long delay between 2013’s Nothing Was The Same and the 2016 release of Views. It's been his longest break between albums to date. During the hiatus, Drake released many bangers as singles, including the beloved “Hotline Bling,” “Right Hand,” “Summer Sixteen,” and our favorite Drake song to bop to, “One Dance.” Like a brilliant view on top of the CN Tower, this album is something to behold.
5. Thank Me Later
Drake's proper debut studio album is Thank Me Later. Obviously, we had to put this in the middle of our list for the fans who prefer OG Drake as opposed to modern Drake. (Everyone has their preferences!)
For a debut studio album, Drake really went all-in on this one. It features hip-hop and R&B greats of the era such as Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Swizz Beatz, JAY-Z, and of course, Lil Wayne. Thank Me Later managed to peak on top of the Billboard 200 mountain. Many compare this album to Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak.
According to Songfacts, Drake told MTV about this album: "I definitely wanted it to be consistent with that sound, because I felt like So Far Gone – the story and the sound – it was like a teaser of a story that I wanted to tell and I feel like it ended off on a note that just need to be continued, I didn’t want to just make this first album and completely forget about every thing I had just rapped about and start from a new perspective. I really wanted to continue the story."
Many people have a hard time getting through Scorpion, as there's not a cohesive theme throughout the album...and way too many tracks. We'd like to think of Scorpion as a compilation of singles as opposed to one whole experience. Because while they don't all fit together, many of the tracks on Scorpion are insanely good. Like, some of the best work Drake's ever done.
Two of Drake's most well-known bops – "Nice For What" and "God's Plan" – are on this record. When we listen to this album, it reminds us of all the fun we had during the summer of 2018. Like Views, Scorpion was an ambitious undertaking for Drake. Not only because of the plethora of songs, but also because it is a double-sided project; the first side is solely dedicated to rap while the other incorporates more of an R&B style.
3. If You're Reading This It's Too Late
When doing research for this list, we didn't realize If You're Reading This It's Too Late isn't an album, but a mixtape. The legacy this project holds is so great, we had completely forgotten it's actually just a bridge between two bigger projects. In fact, this project was contractually considered Drake’s fourth studio album so he could renegotiate his contract with Birdman’s Cash Money Records. But all in all, IYRTITL is still just a mixtape. And for a mixtape, it's a damn mighty one.
The mixtape was released unexpectedly on February 13, 2015: the six-year anniversary of Drake’s breakout third mixtape, So Far Gone. We've professed on our Top 10 Drake Songs list how much we love the track "Legend," but there are so many other rad songs on this gift of a compilation. Notable ones include "Know Yourself," "Energy," "Jungle," "How Bout Now"...the list goes on.
2. Nothing Was the Same
The album cover for this Drake project is our favorite. It was made by Kadir Nelson and shows a grown-up Drake (deluxe version) looking at baby Drake (standard version) and reflecting over the journey of life he's gone through so far.
Visual art aside, this project is a sonic work of art, too. Dare we say a masterpiece. “Worst Behavior” and "Started From the Bottom" became anthems of 2013. Drake's machismo as he spits bars is wonderfully reckless and contagious. Every single track on Nothing Was the Same shows off Drake's lyrical genius. From the intro on "Tuscan Leather" to "Poundcake/Paris Morton Music 2" and “The Language," there are no filler tracks on this project. Like the baby portrait of Drake on the cover, Nothing Was the Same simply never gets old.
1. Take Care
Sorry...this spot is indisputable. Drake's hands-down best album absolutely goes to Take Care. It's peak Drake. And if you dare to argue that, we guarantee you hardcore Drake fans will be quick to debate you.
Surprisingly, Take Care never reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart like several other albums on this list have. And yet it probably deserves the accolade the most. It's Drake's most vulnerable, raw project. While it may lack in cohesion of sound compared to Nothing Was the Same, it's just as gut-wrenching. Drake totally unravels his mortal man pettiness in this magnum opus...and we're all here for it. Seriously, have you listened to "Marvins Room"? The storytelling on that thing cannot be beat.
This was the album that legitimized Drake as a rapper to keep your eye on. It also legitimized some other notable artists too, such as The Weeknd (who's featured on the song "The Ride"), Birdman, Tyga, André 3000, and the one and only Kendrick Lamar. Oh, and Rihanna and Nicki Minaj make appearances, too. Take Care is both rough and smooth at the same time, and although Drake puts on a mean persona throughout the experience, his work is so kind on the ears.
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