Drake - Too Much | Track Review | By Volume

Understand that I am only as he made me: a faithful servant to all of the noise, all of the lights, all of the flashing in my head. Laura Stevenson - Wheel


Too Much

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Author: on September 25, 2013

For a guy with a seemingly endless amount of hubris and an internet community with no dearth of collectables in the gift shop that has become his inimitable multimedia presence, my favorite Drake moments are those where he stands atop a platform and directs a million people’s attention on his most personal of responsibilities. Consider his recent performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Taking a moment to collect himself, he says to the audience (and the world, mother, God): “Before I do this song, I just want to say to my friends and family, I want the best for everybody. I love you all.” The camera tracks backward, Sampha leans into his piano, and “Too Much” starts.

“Too Much” should be an expected number walking in to Nothing Was The Same, sharing more than a passing resemblance to Take Care’s inky blue R&B production, with Sampha’s hook nearly running away with the whole song. And on first glimpse, Drake seems to pick up a narrative thread from that album’s “Look What You’ve Done”, where he took a moment to shine the light on his mother and uncle, among others, for making him who he is today. Where “Look What You’ve Done” was a warm rain in the middle of a blizzard, though, “Too Much” is Drake upending any passive aggressiveness that might have built up in the two years since, pulling the weird and unfocused Nothing Was The Same through a reality check so specific he had to warn his mom in real time, on national television.

Only Drake could take a timeless ode to familial bonds like “Look” and date it, but here’s where the guy stands on the bonds in his life in 2013: “All my family from the M-town that I’ve been around / starting treating me like I’m ‘him’ now / Like we don’t know each other / we ain’t grow together / we just friends now / Shit got me feeling pinned down / pick the pen up or put the pen down.” Drake’s ubiquitous “no new friends” is missing from these verses, but part of his staying power is the way his saddest laments tether themselves to his largest boasts; what one learns from within these crystal castles provides necessary context in the great debate that is the man’s realness. Maybe he can’t have new friends not because he’s exclusive, but because he’s still smarting from the ones he’s lost in the process.

What Drake does with his music is peculiar for people that consistently have a show of it atop the Billboard charts. It is a constant war, between accepting his fame as relative, constructed, and fickle, or as representative of his very real talent and trendsetting abilities. This is the man who can still sound like Lil’ Wayne, and who speaks often and highly of collaborations. Then he makes a song called “All Me.” Where a certain nameless artist purports to perfection, of setting the trends, Drake makes no bones about being of a moment. He feeds off the generation and feeds them right back. On “Too Much,” he considers the toll it takes on the generation he grew up with, those that share his experiences. One wonders how they’ll respond, and what Drake will have to say on the matter in 2015.


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