Drake Taps Nicki Minaj for Best 'Take Care' Banger Yet

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Drake / Nicki Minaj (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty, Drake; Erik Voake, Minaj)
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Drake's second album Take Care has been slightly delayed, but he made good by letting its best banger yet out of the bag today. With producer T-Minus ("Moment 4 Life," "How Low") adding a club-ready rumble to the Toronto rapper-singer's recent mode of woozy contemplation, and a typically off-the-wall guest verse by Nicki Minaj, "Make Me Proud" is the first obvious smash to emerge from the follow-up to last year's Thank Me Later. No wonder Drake says he'll be performing the song this weekend on Saturday Night Live.

It's also something of a girl-power anthem. This, from a guy who's spent other Take Care tracks drunk-dialing old flames, suggesting a woman be permanently stamped with his brand like livestock, and otherwise being more wrapped up in himself than a first-class diva. Name-checking Yale and Harvard, Drake describes a confident young woman who knows better than to take a risk on the type of dudes he pals around with, and somehow manages not to sound condescending when he encourages her to continue being awesome. "I like a woman with a future and a past," he begins.

The reality — that his collaborator needs no one to give her a pep talk — only helps. Minaj comes in a cappella, then slides her insistent cadence and signature voice changes over the flickering synths and thumping beat: "Ain't got time to talk, just hi and bye," she sniffs. This is a girl who knows how to make a guest appearance.

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