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Drake has been one of the most prominent recording artists for over a decade. His uncanny ability to articulate vulnerability while being one of the most tactfully braggadocious acts of all time helps him walk the fine line between rap superstar and global sensation. Though becoming the bud of the industry’s jokes for his intense accountability may have been tough for some, he’s found a way to capture the last laugh with every release.
The Toronto, Canada-bred actor-turned-MC first burst on the scene with his breakthrough commercial debut, So Far Gone. The former “Degrassi” television star used the strength of his Lil Wayne co-sign to become one of the highest-selling artists that Hip Hop music has ever seen. From supporting his Young Money head honcho, Weezy, on tour singing Bobby Valentino’s part on Tha Carter III standout, “Mrs. Officer,” to selling out arenas, the journey from Aubrey Graham to Drake has been dynamic.
While Hip Hop purists waste time debating if Drake has a proper classic album, there is no doubt that the “Started From The Bottom” rapper helped shape his generation’s soundtrack. We took the liberty of ranking Drizzy’s solo albums from our least to most favorite.
Editor’s note: This list excludes mixtapes and joint albums.
11. Honestly, Nevermind
The consensus around Honestly, Nevermind was those who get it, love it and those who don’t get it, hate it. While no one was expecting a full dance album from the rapper at the height of his career, that’s precisely what the Certified Lover Boy follow-up was. While there were strong singles like “Sticky” and the 21 Savage–assisted bop, “Jimmy Cooks,” the rest of the album was reminiscent of something you would hear in Ibiza or a playlist curated by a Forever 21 manager. Although Drake’s track record would suggest that he’s physically incapable of making a bad album, Honestly, Nevermind is probably the most forgettable body of work in his catalog. Pushing the envelope is necessary for great artists, but sometimes the music does not resonate as well as intended, and that’s okay.
10. Certified Lover Boy
The lead up to Certified Lover Boy felt bigger than every song on the highly anticipated project. Although the follow-up to Scorpion has decisive moments like “Pipe Down” and “TSU,” the remainder of the album seems unfocused with too many features. The project housed multiple tracks that sound like he was attempting his best impression of old Drake. “You Only Live Twice” featuring Lil Wayne and Rick Ross was basically “Lord Knows” 2.0, and “Love All” with JAY-Z was the sequel to “Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2” that no one asked for. Unfortunately, Drake sounded out of place and unnecessary on some of the album’s best tracks, including “Knife Talk” with 21 Savage and “Way 2 Sexy” with Young Thug and Future. On a positive note, Certified Lover Boy gave fans an introduction to YEBBA and squashed beef with his former foe Kid Cudi.
9. For All The Dogs
Second only to Views, For All The Dogs, was the most hype Drake has had leading up to an album. High anticipation comes with high hopes, and this LP was met with lackluster reviews from media critics and fans upon release. With a whopping 23 songs, the blockbuster album’s main critique was that the project was unevolved, unfocused, and unfulfilling most times. After multiple delays and pushbacks for various reasons, For All The Dogs leaned on a slew of new collaborators that push toward a more modern style. This new style favors mosh pit–ready tracks that are ideal for live performance, which makes sense in its zeitgeist, seeing as though the acclaimed MC finished the project during his record-breaking “It’s All A Blur Tour” featuring 21 Savage.
Each Drake album will have moments like “Drew A Picasso” and “Amen” that only he can create, but unfortunately, that level of intentionality was not consistent throughout the whole LP. Though For All The Dogs appeared to be successful — all 23 songs landed in the top half of the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2023 — this offering seemed to be the first time OG Drake fans faced the reality that they may have outgrown the artist who created the soundtrack to some of their greatest moments over the years. For all the parties involved, that’s a harsh pill to swallow.
8. Thank Me Later
Thank Me Later was undoubtedly Drake’s “Mama, I made it” moment. The triumphant project boasts features from Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Alicia Keys, The-Dream, Swizz Beatz, T.I., JAY-Z and many more. Drake described this project as his chance to prove he belonged. Songs like “Karaoke,” the Nicki Minaj–assisted “Up All Night” and “Fireworks” all had their own space on the project and allowed him to showcase the versatility that helped him become one of his generation’s lead stars. “Miss Me” marked Lil Wayne’s official passing of the torch before his brief jail stint in Rikers Island at the height of his career. In one of Lil Wayne’s last verses before his incarceration, the legendary MC prophetically rapped, “I’ll be gone till November / F**k it, I ain’t tripping, I know Drizzy gonna kill ‘em.” Over 10 years and more than 190 awards later, including five Grammys, the Young Money founder’s presumption about the 6 God still rings true.
7. More Life
Looking back, More Life significantly foreshadowed the sound of Drake’s future projects. The cultured global phenomenon used his 2017 LP to piece together all of his current influences and blend them to create what he called “a playlist.” The collection of bops famously included “Passionfruit,” “Teenage Fever,” and U.K.-leaning tracks like “No Long Talk” and “Skepta Interlude.” More Life also gave Jorja Smith the springboard she needed to expand into the American music market. The More Life era also featured one of his last collaborations with his part-time rap nemesis Kanye West. The project flowed seamlessly and had something for every Drake fan while also offering room for new fans to jump on board.
Scorpion was rumored to be a completely different album before Drake’s highly reported beef with West and Pusha T. The double -disc project boasted 25 tracks, including career-defining hits like “In My Feelings” and the RIAA Diamond-certified smash “God’s Plan.” With his back against the wall, the 6 God delivered a collection of songs that settled the score and allowed him to get everything he needed off his chest surrounding his enemies, the birth of his first child and his relationship with fame. Scorpion stands as one of Drake’s most R&B-heavy projects excluding Take Care. The tracklist includes fan-favorite B-sides like “Ratchet Happy Birthday,” “Sandra’s Rose” and “Jaded.”
Views came out at the peak of Drake’s hype. The artist’s fourth studio album solidified him as a global superstar with his Afrobeat-infused smash “One Dance” and the Caribbean-leaning banger “Controlla” — both inescapable no matter how hard you tried to avoid them. Views was light on the number of features but heavy on impact. Wizkid and Kyla Reid’s work on “One Dance” helped put them on the radar of American fans, while frequent collaborators like PARTYNEXTDOOR, Rihanna and Future supported the monumental release. Drake’s ability to embrace being the bud of the joke and utilize meme culture to his benefit helped propel him into the rarefied air of stardom. His viral video for “Hotline Bling” led to commercials, endless YouTube views and a new set of fans outside the Hip Hop and R&B spaces he previously dominated.
4. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
If there wasn’t so much controversy looming over If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, this album may have been higher on this list. The 17-track LP dropped as a surprise on Feb. 12, 2015, after a few whispers of there possibly being a tape coming from the popular rapper. This project showed Drake at his highest level of confidence in his ability, amplified with a declaratory introductory track titled “Legend.” The project offered a raw and uncut version of Drake that broke him from the shell of being too nice or the Hip Hop punching bag. This project clarified that he was no longer willing to accept anything less than respect from his peers. Tracks like “Energy” and “Know Yourself” became instant classics for The Boy. He closed the album with the poignant time-stamp record “6PM In New York,” which offered him a space to reflect out loud, considering his legacy, stating, “28 at midnight, wonder what’s next for me.”
3. Nothing Was The Same
Nothing Was The Same is Drake’s most concise album with just 15 records, including the two deluxe tracks. The rapper’s follow-up to what many consider his magnum opus was a tall task, but he delivered effortlessly. The project started with his most rap-heavy intro, “Tuscan Leather,” which set the tone for the no-skip journey that fans embarked on for the project’s duration. Tracks like “Connect” and “Come Thru” are all-time great Drake B-sides. Still, the project also included heavy hitters like “Started From the Bottom” and Drake’s karaoke favorite, “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” which featured fellow OVO Sound member Majid Jordan. Drake’s cover featured an animated drawing of his head in the clouds, which was the perfect representation of where he was at the time of the album’s release — in a world of his own.
2. So Far Gone
Music fans had never heard anything like So Far Gone at the time of its release. Drawing from a wide range of influences like West, Lil Wayne, UGK, JAY-Z and more, the album burst onto the scene as a Blog Era-classic that changed how people would make music forever. His women-friendly tracks, paired perfectly with his backpack rapper skills, made him a favorite in every demographic. The Lil Wayne co-sign was the final stamp necessary to migrate Aubrey Graham from wheelchair Jimmy on TV to the most significant role he would ever play in life: Drake, one of the greatest musicians to have ever lived. All the experiences that the budding superstar experienced with his game-changing debut in the mainstream set the tone for his future career. While humble for most of the project, bars like “Buzz so big, I could probably sell a blank disk” proved that the MC knew he had arrived on So Far Gone.
1. Take Care
Take Care is not only Drake’s best album but arguably one of the best LPs of the 21st century. While So Far Gone showed the rising MC implementing his musical influences, Take Care inspired the following generation of artists to use his blueprint to succeed. Whether it be R&B crooners like Brent Faiyaz, Summer Walker and Bryson Tiller or bonafide Hip Hop stars like Jack Harlow and Rod Wave, his impact set the tone for the next generation of stars. Drake’s Take Care featured dangerously vulnerable verses and melancholy soundscapes that helped further a lane for The Weeknd to become one of the most prominent artists in the world. The album was a well-executed attempt to blend high-level raps and singing from one person in a way we had never seen before. The only critique of Take Care was that it was too sad, but transparency is now a baseline requirement to be a high-performing artist in Hip Hop.