You might call yourself a Drake fan – but do you know Drake’s old songs?
Drake has become one of the most successful artists of our generation. But it’s not always been that way. Drake’s fan-base has grown massively over the last decade. That means that not all Drake fans will be familiar with older tunes from his discography.
All the songs on this list were released over a decade ago, when Drake was relatively new in the rap game.
The old songs in this list were key stepping stones for him to become the global phenomenon he is today. They are also some of the artist’s best songs.
Let’s dive in and discover the best old Drake songs that all hardcore fans should know.
10. ‘Best I Ever Had’ (2009)
The R&B influenced love song ‘Best I Ever Had’ was one of Drake’s first songs to become a big hit. The track is an early example of Drake’s melodic style.
The track was recorded for Drake’s debut EP So Far Gone (2009).
Despite only reaching number twenty-four on Drake’s native Canadian single chart, the track topped Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.
Produced by Drake’s long-term producer Boi-1da, the song was nominated for two Grammy awards – Best Rap Song and Best Rap Solo Performance.
9. ‘The Motto’ feat. Lil Wayne, Tyga (2011)
Featuring fellow rap royalty Lil Wayne, ‘The Motto’ became iconic for spreading the now well-known acronym YOLO. The song features as a bonus track on Drake’s sophomore album Take Care.
The track is one of numerous Drake hits that feature Lil Wayne. Sonically, the track is harmonically sparse, and has a minimal beat.
The song topped Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart – Drake’s twelfth song to do so – and reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over 6 million units in the US.
An old Drake song that was truly a product of its time.
8. ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ feat. Majid Jordan (2013)
The second single from Drake’s third album Nothing Was the Same (2013), ‘Hold One, We’re Going Home’ was a big international success for Drake.
The song charted in the top thirty in most major European markets, reaching number four on the UK singles chart, and peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100.
The oft-covered love song features Canadian R&B duo Majid Jordan, with the lyrics expressing hope and optimism about a new relationship.
The track, featuring the production skills of Drake’s long-term collaborator 40, features big 80s synths combined with tender R&B vibes.
One of the big songs of 2013, Pitchfork named the track as their best song of 2013.
7. ‘I’m Goin’ In’ feat. Lil Wayne, Jeezy (2009)
‘I’m Goin’ In’ was the second successful single from Drake’s debut So Far Gone EP. The song features fellow rap superstar Lil Wayne as well as Jeezy (Young Jeezy at the time of release).
With a hard, slow beat and use of autotune, the track is a precursor to Drake’s later trap-influenced tracks.
The song reached number eleven on Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart, and number forty on the Billboard Hot 100.
Released in October 2009, before he had even dropped an album, ‘I’m Goin’ In’ was one of the first Drake songs to make a major impact in the charts.
6. ‘Forever’ feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem (2009)
The smash hit ‘Forever’ features four of the biggest names in rap. The song was initially released as part of the soundtrack for the basketball star LeBron James’ documentary More than a Game (2008). It was one of Drake’s first real big hits.
The track is undoubtedly amongst the great ‘posse cuts’ of all time, and has an upbeat, hyped-up feel, with synth brass hits, air horn blasts, and jazz piano licks.
Produced by Boi-1da, the track peaked Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart, and reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
The high-charting and high profile collaboration with Kanye, Lil Wayne, and Eminem was undoubtedly a big step forward for Drake, getting his name firmly on the map, and laying the foundations for the success of his upcoming debut album.
5. ‘Find Your Love’ (2010)
The second single from Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later, ‘Find Your Love’ cemented the Canadian rapper’s rapidly growing reputation.
The track is amongst the first Drake songs to make a global impact, charting in several European markets.
Co-produced with Kanye West, the song bears the influences of Kanye’s distinctive sound – a bold and eclectic sound palette, a dramatic mood, and big melodic hooks. The track has an R&B feel with a dancehall-influenced beat.
Drake expressed his indebtedness to Ye in an interview, stating: “he has one of the best ears in music, period… I’d even go as far as to say he’s the most influential person, as far as a musician, that I’d ever had in my life.”
The song reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as charting in several European countries.
4. ‘Take Care’ feat. Rihanna (2012)
The title track from Drake’s sophomore album, ‘Take Care’ sees him pair up with one of the most successful and best-selling female artists of all time – the one and only Rihanna.
As the title suggests, the track is a love song that has themes of tenderness and care within a relationship.
Sonically, the song is a club track, featuring thundering drums and bass, and house-influenced piano comping. It was produced by 40 and Jamie xx, whose influence is easy to spot.
The track was a worldwide success, charting in the top fifty all over Europe, and reaching number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. The record sold well over 6 million copies worldwide.
3. ‘Headlines’ (2011)
The second single from Drake’s second Take Care album (2011), ‘Headlines’ says a lot about Drake’s savvy approach to releasing music.
In an interview, Drake explained that he didn’t see the song as necessarily one of the best on the record, but he released it because of its message.
The lyrics effectively position Drake as an object of fascination and admiration. The refrain “they know, they know, they know,” paired with the title which hints at the artist’s growing reputation subtly affirm his self-confidence.
Credit to Drake, the swag of the track is more subtle and far more effective than many other rap songs in this vein.
The song featured the combined production talents of Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib, who would later work with Drake on the majority of his songs.
Drake clearly played it well, with the song selling over 4 million copies in the US alone.
2. ‘Started from the Bottom’ (2013)
The lead single from Drake’s third album Nothing Was the Same (2013), ‘Started from the Bottom’ is one of the most essential old Drake songs that every fan needs to know.
As the name suggests, the track explores Drake’s rags-to-riches story. He intended to use the track to clarify his origin story, and clear up misconceptions about his background.
The track features a haunting, minor key piano riff, with a minimalist and bass-heavy trap-esque beat. The infectious track has been remixed numerous times by multiple rappers.
‘Started from the Bottom’ reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and charted respectably on various charts in Europe, reaching number twenty-five on the UK singles chart.
The song was nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance at the 2014 Grammy awards, and won Track of the Year at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards.
1. ‘Over’ (2010)
Drake’s debut single ‘Over’ is one the most important old Drake songs you need to know about.
The lead single from his first album Thank Me Later (2010), the track was produced by Boi-1da and features orchestral flourishes over a mid-tempo hip-hop beat. The lyrics explore the artist’s recent introduction to fame.
‘Over’ is the first Drake song that registered on the average person’s musical radar. It’s the track that saw him change from being an aspiring artist to an artist who had “made it.”
The track has a celebratory feel, and the lyrics have a certain self-effacing charm, as Drake expresses surprise at his new life, whilst affirming himself. “What am I doing? What am I doing? Oh yeah, that’s right, I’m doin’ me, I’m doin’ me / I’m living life right now, man, and this what I’mma do ’til it’s over.”
The track topped Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart, and reached number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100, marking a very respectable entry to the world of chart success.
One of the essential and very best old Drake songs.
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