How Much Time Is This Nigga Spending On The Intro?

Albums are much like movies; it’s almost a crime to not start them from the beginning. Imagine not seeing the opener to the Hype Williams directed film, Belly?! You’d miss the best part of the movie! Cult classics like Jaws wouldn’t be the same without the dramatic orchestra playing in the beginning. The same goes for GoodFellas, The GodFather, and many more.

With this idea in mind is why a proper intro can make an album, or a poor one can break it. Album intros set the score for the soundtrack in what’s expected in the body of work brought to us by the artist.

Hip-hop is a genre full of epic album intros. After all, where would rap be if we never heard any of them off of Hov’s albums? I know nothing in the club is rapped in unison like Meek Mills’ “Dreams and Nightmares” intro. The dark fantasy Kanye made probably wouldn’t have sounded quite as twisted if it wasn’t for Nicki Minaj’s initial rhyme.  In addition to these artists, Drake is another rapper that has made defining moments with his intros. Young Money’s Canadian cash cow has countless intro tracks that are not only cinematic, but also are considered certified classics!

Take a look at how they’re ranked below:

8. Keep The Family Close
from Views

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For his album, Views, Drake decided to take his listeners on a trip to Toronto and show us what his side of “The 6” is like. The theatrical “Keep The Family Close” created a chilly setting to set the stage before the seasons start to change in songs throughout the album. You can hear the wind whipping in the background of the winter-themed track as Drake sings on how he was left in cold by a past lover. While this was a dope idea for a debut, I personally found this track to be way too dramatic for my taste in regards to what I like in Drizzy. My most favored moments in his music are found when he lays down verses that show off his leading, lyrical ability.

Notable Quotables: All of my “let’s just be friends” are friends I don’t have anymore

7. Lust For Life
from So Far Gone

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Lust For Life was the intro that introduced me to Drizzy for the first time back in 2009. (Aside from when I got acquainted with Aubrey as “Jimmy” on the teen-drama Degrassi, of course.) So Far Gone depicted Drake’s world filled with plenty of women, a hunger to take his career to new heights, and just exactly what comes with his newfound fame. We see early on how important track placement is to Drake as the following song, Houstalantavegas, nearly blends into Lust For Life.

Notable Quotables: So what I tend to do is to think of today as the past / It’s funny when you coming in first, but you hope that you last / You just hope that it lasts

6. Legend
from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

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Between Drake’s record breaking Billboard hits, and overall influence in the game, there’s no question if his moments in music are memorable. Our OVO artist made sure everyone was reminded of his impact in rap with Legend off of the surprise project, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. On this PARTYNEXTDOOR produced track, Drake effortlessly executes with another one of his mesmerizing melodies that emphasizes his success and supertstar status. The Ginuwine So Anxious sample turned this intro in an instant classic as the icing on the cake to me.

Notable Quotables: Right or wrong, I’ma write my wrongs / They can’t live this long / You don’t know where you’re gonna go / I got this shit mapped out strong

5. Fireworks (featuring Alicia Keys)
from Thank Me Later

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“October’s Own” is now “looking like July 4” as Drake opens with Fireworks from his first studio album, Thank Me Later. His career has rocket launched sky-high since his breakout, So Far Gone, and has proven everything he aspired to be. Drake opens up in more ways than one as he uses the intro to discuss where his head is at amidst his highly-anticipated debut along with his romantic relationships and what’s going on with his parents. His dreams are coming into fruition and reality his hitting him even harder than expected.

Notable Quotables: Hate is so familiar to me, I’m slowly embracing it / Doesn’t come natural, bear (bare) with me, it could take a bit

4. Over My Dead Body
from Take Care

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Now into his sophomore album with Take Care ,Drake describes just how tight his grip is on the rap game and how he has no plans of letting go. He’s manifested everything he wished for since his So Far Gone mixtape. Drake returns with more braggadocio in his bars this time around.

While many might’ve been moved by his message addressed to his haters and nay-sayers, I wasn’t too impressed with a few of Drake’s bars. I found some of his lyrics to be a LITTLE lackluster here, although still being a solid introduction. Some include “Oh you wanna be a motherfuckin funny guy, don’t make me break your Kevin Hart (heart) boy” and  “Shout out the Asian girls, let the lights dim some.”

Notable Quotables: Oh well, I guess you lose some and win some / Long as the outcome is income

My city love me like Mac Dre in the Bay / Second album, I’m back paving the way / The backpackers are back on the bandwagon / Like this was my Comeback Season back, back in the day

3. Survival
from Scorpion

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“This just the intro, let me not get ahead of myself,” Drake declares on Survival as he begins his double-disc album. After being disrespected in a rap beef that described his dirty laundry in detail, Drake is still determined to come out on top. He addresses his many adversities in an introduction that’s short, but seriously strong lyrically.

Notable Qutoables:  I’ve had real Philly niggas try to write my ending / Taking shots with the GOAT and talked about shots that we sending / I’ve had scuffles with bad boys that wasn’t pretending / I’ve had too many nights to mention, that’s just the beginning / I’m pretty sure we got a label, I’m still independent / I fell back a hundred times when I don’t get the credit / Seen this movie a hundred times, I know where it’s headed /Realize someone gotta die when no one’ll dead it

Niggas gambling with they life for some content / That’s the type of lottery that could get your top picked / I am a cream-of-the-crop nigga / You niggas pop mollies, my Mali’s pop niggas / House on both coasts, but I live on the charts

I stopped asking myself and I started feeling myself

2. Free Smoke
from More Life

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Drake’s “got more chune for your head top” and shooting straight shots at whoever tries to come between him and his crown on Free Smoke. Boi-1-da gave this beat extra bass as Drake gets dominant with a distinct delivery and aggressive attitude. “Oh you gotta love it!” He talks how far he’s come since starting out and his past struggles preparing him for the position he’s in now, which is PAID. “We all so spoiled now. More life, more everything,” he states proudly.

Notable Quotables: I took the team plane from Oracle / Mama never used to cook much / Used to chef KD / Now me and Chef, KD / Bet on shots for twenty G’s

I make too much these days to ever say, “Poor me”

I didn’t listen to Hov on that old song when he told me pay it no mind / I get more satisfaction outta going at your head and seeing all of you die / And I seen a lot of you die 

How you let the kid fighting ghost-writing rumors turn you to a ghost?

1. Tuscan Leather
from Nothing Was The Same

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Named after a signature Tom Ford fragrance, this song is just as strong as the scent mentioned. “How much time is this nigga spending on the intro?” he asks. But, I could honestly care less. When Drake said, “I could go an hour on this beat nigga,” I FELT that he should continue to do so. Although lengthy, the six-minute song is nothing but lyrical and worth every second of a listen. The illustrious production was provided by 40 as he flipped the late and great Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” THREE TIMES, reversed her vocals, and gave Drake a different beat with each of his verses. ELITE to say THE LEAST.

Notable Quotables: I’m just as famous as my mentor / But that’s still the boss, don’t get sent for / Get hype on tracks and jump in front of a bullet you wasn’t meant for

Born a perfectionist, guess that makes me a bit obsessive / That shit I heard from you lately really relieved some pressure / Like aye, B I got your CD, you get an E for effort / I piece letters together and get to talking reckless / Owl chains like credentials, you know you see the necklace / My life’s a completed checklist

I’m tired of hearing about who you checking for now / Just give it time, we’ll see who’s still around a decade from now

I just set the bar, niggas fall under it like a limbo / The family all that matters, I’m just out here with my kinfolk / Off everything my pen wrote we went from Bundy to Winslow

How would you rank Drake’s intros? Care to share in a comment below?

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