The 421th Drake tune we’ve reviewed in 2016.
Natasha Genet Avery:
Anthony Easton: That trick Kanye does, where his most heartbreaking declarations of excessive emotions are told via an affectless style is here, along with a spacious production. Rihanna’s pan-Caribbean vocals are better than Drake’s too. It’s still kind of boring, though, and not in a Warholian boredom-as-an-aesthetic-category sense, just in a plain, not very interesting sense.
Katie Gill: Drake’s a rapper that (whether he likes it or not) has built a market on being safe and mass marketable. Nowhere is that more apparent than this song whose main flaw is that it’s just dull. Add in the fact that Drake & Rihanna are dating and that gives a spin on the lyrics that I don’t know if I’m comfortable with or not.
Alfred Soto: The Gaye-Terrell of lethargy return for more tuneful nothings. “I don’t know how to talk to you,” Drake whines at her despite not knowing how to sing — to her and anyone.
Will Adams: It’s not enough that Drake has inspired a generation of dudes who feel the need to air their shitty sentiments because “Hey, Drake did it.” With “One Dance” and now “Too Good,” they now do so with shitty vocals because, hey, Drake can’t sing at all but sings anyway, so why can’t I? “Too Good” is one-third Rihanna banger, two-thirds Drake belching his insecurities over a warm, summery production. Is it any wonder that he’s mixed to the very front for the chorus that goes, “I’m way too good to you”? Fuck off.
Thomas Inskeep: Say what you will about Drake — and everyone has their opinions about the man of the moment — but no one else is bringing riffs on dancehall and highlife into mainstream hip-hop and pop the way he is right now. This plows a similar row to Rihanna’s own “Work” (and actually samples a Popcaan record), a very Afro-Caribbean one at that, and I’ll give him plenty of credit for it. Also: very good for grinding up against someone.
Taylor Alatorre: Even if this is just a lower stakes, higher-tempo remake of “Take Care,” I’ll take a hundred of those over whatever “9” and “U With Me?” are trying to be. And unlike with “Hotline Bling,” which remains frustrating in its ambiguity, Drake’s self-awareness is in full force on this one. His regression into 2011 lyricism is justified in that he allows Rihanna to confront him with his own words, in a way that places the spotlight on his high expectations rather than hers. Likewise, his clunky adoption of patois is practically focus-tested for mockery, but when it’s followed up by an actual Popcaan sample as a stand-in for barely veiled lust, his schoolboyish affection for the music of the Caribbean diaspora shines through. Long live Dancehall Drake, the saving grace of the Views era.