"Started From the Bottom"

Drake's new single arrived on the Internet with Cliff's Notes: an open letter from the man himself. "I feel sometimes that people don't have enough information about my beginnings," he wrote. "Started From the Bottom" doesn't exactly fill in the blanks – we learn Drake used to argue with his mom and sometimes borrowed his uncle's car. The real statement is the revamped sound: Drake raps in a higher register over a spare, staccato beat built around a nattering 808 and piano loop. But the result is a duller Drizzy – his rhymes lack his usual wit and flair. The dude seems defensive – unnecessarily, and to the detriment of his music.

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