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    The Albums: Thank Me Later (2010), Take Care (2011), Nothing Was The Same (2013)

    After the success of breakthrough mixtape So Far Gone, Drake faced the tremendous burden of crafting a hit record that satisfied core fans he'd won over with his hybrid rap/R&B stylings. Though 2010's Thank Me Later proved occasionally inconsistent, its highs showcased a rapper of considerable skill, a gifted pop songwriter, an improving singer, and an artist unafraid to take risks. Having proven himself commercially sustainable, Drake's creative freedom increased with stellar sophomore effort Take Care, a cohesive vision of the ups and downs of fame that featured a sound that both reflected the moment and shaped the movement of the hip-hop and R&B landscape to come. Drake's most recent album, this fall's Nothing Was the Same, marked perhaps the rapper's most cohesive and focused work yet, a predictably evocative set of songs that explore the inner workings and activities of a man considering his massive stardom against a simpler past.