Over the past three years, Drake has risen from mixtape maestro to genuine superstar; the kind of enigmatic talent who can proudly embrace his “emotional” side one minute, then release the “Practice” video the next. And in doing so, he has carved out a rather unique niche in the world of hip-hop and R&B — and we’re not just talking about his sweaters. Often duplicated, but never replicated, there truly is no one making music quite like him.
And yet, despite all that (and no offense to the wobbly, wonderful “Practice” clip), Drake has never made a truly great music video, or at least one that fits neatly into his maudlin, monochromatic world. Until now, that is.
On Friday (April 6), Drake finally premiered his long-in-the-works “Take Care” clip. And yes, it was worth the wait. Full of massively icy landscapes, achingly tense slow-motion footage, artfully framed animals and, uh, Rihanna, it is basically Drake personified. Morose and masterful, slow-burning and incredibly sexual (even when it’s not supposed to be), it exudes both an incredible level of restraint and an over-the-top amount of pomp. It is very serious, very cold, very pained. Nothing much really happens, but at its conclusion, you feel like you’ve been through an awful lot (maybe a journey through the mind of Damien Hirst?). None of his contemporaries — not even the ever-obtuse Kanye — make videos like this, mostly because no one else can get away with it.
Directed by Yoann Lemoine — who described the video to MTV News back in February as “very minimal” (he wasn’t kidding) — “Take Care” smolders with an underlying tension. You feel it in the sinewy slo-mo shots of bulls charging and birds taking flight, the gradual crumbling of icons, the shower of arrows and even the tender, charged embrace Drake and Rihanna share. And in that regard, the clip is also a perfect accompaniment to the track’s main bit of source material: Jamie XX’s lovely, languorous remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s cover of “I’ll Take Care of You,” which practically burns with want.
And when the drums finally do break through, and Heron’s voice is echoing around the room, there is, mercifully, a release — one Lemoine shows with footage of burning trees and smoking earth. All the iciness melts away, and we’re left with something even more, something elemental. And you sort of feel like you need a cold shower.
And because of all that, “Take Care” stands head and shoulders above most other videos, regardless of genre. Full of bold imagery and a tugging sense of regret and doubt, it isn’t merely art for art’s sake (though it’s easy to see Drake’s detractors dismissing it as such); it’s actual art. Welcome to the club, Drizzy; you’ve finally made one for the ages. Who cares if it’s been six months since Take Care was released? In the words of another misunderstood genius — the immortal Jack Horner — “This is the film I want them to remember me by.”
What did you think of Drake’s “Take Care” video? Share your reviews in the comments!