Is Drake’s Sophomore Album Too-Emo for Men?

Surely you heard Drake’s much anticipated (and leaked) sophomore album. Drake’s given listeners his blessing to, “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time.” So I have, listened, that is, and I like it. But then again, I favor R&B and introspection. “Take Care” is what I put on at the end of the day when I’m winding down and prepping for bed.

This, of course, annoys the men in my life. They all acknowledge that Drake can spit. That isn’t the problem. What is, is they felt duped by Drake’s first album, “Thank Me Later”, which they determined was for the ladies. “Take Care” was supposed to be hard and for the fellas, an assumption I’m not sure how they arrived at. He rocks Cosby sweaters on red carpets. There was no way this would be for the streets. Maybe the suburbs?

The first listen garnered the following reactions from my dudes:
“This is too f—in emotional man. He sounds like the male Mary J.”
“Softest dude ever.”
“Someone needs to email him the link to Childish Gambino. Help him get his testosterone back.”
“Nikki spits harder.”

It seems my guys aren’t going for emo-rap. No real surprise. In general, guys are never all that great with discussing (or dealing with) emotions. But maybe, every now and again, they need to be. 

On Take Care Drake brings up a lot of issues that men need to address, most notably his unresolved issues with his father. On “Look What You’ve Done,” (my favorite track. I replayed it four times) Drake addresses his daddy issues, an  idea that’s overwhelming discussed about women, but affects men with absent fathers equally. Drizzy also raps about a argument with his mother where she crossed the line, “And you tell me I’m just like my father, my one button, you push it/ Now it’s “Fuck you, I hate you, I’ll move out in a heartbeat.” 

Later in the verse, he adds, “And my father living in Memphis now/ he can’t come this way/Over some minor charges and child support that just wasn’t paid/ Damn, boo-hoo, sad story, Black American dad story.”

Drake’s dismissal of his situation as just another “Black American dad” speaks to the number of Black males who don’t grow up with a father in the home—82% since 1990. And a father’s absence affects his son in every aspect of his life, from his self-esteem to his relationships to the way he views the world. It gives him a vulnerable spot, the one Drake notes when he blows up at his Mom, that few things other than a father or father-like figure (Drake addresses that in verse two) can fill.

The best way for anyone to get thru (not over) an issue—any issue, not just absentee fatherism is to confront it and talk about it. Stuffing it down emotions or avoiding them, or rejecting them in favor of bravado—what so many guys do—doesn’t make the issue better, rather just allows it to seep out in other forms.

Instead of guys dissing Drake as too emotional, I wish they’d give Take Care a chance and open up a little more. I don’t expect Drake to solve anything, of course, but maybe it could make them think, “it’s not just me” and be a first step to a discussion. Demetria L. Lucas

Demetria L. Lucas is a life coach and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk