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Drake, hip-hop’s freshman phenom, has finally released an official studio album. After three mixtapes, two national tours, an endorsement with Sprite and two Grammy nominations, his debut album “Thank Me Later” hit stores and iTunes Tuesday, after being leaked on the internet two weeks ago. For this reason, many people question whether Drake will sell his projected high numbers. I don’t. If it’s about the music, Drake will never lose.

There has been so much discussion about whether the hype and buzz surrounding Drake is warranted. To me, building up a following as he did, organically, first through his Myspace, and then across the internet as a whole, deserves a round of applause. There will always be doubters, and those who think that Drake is everything wrong with hip-hop, (a teen actor turned rapper/singer who writes rhymes about his emotions and “freestyles” from his Blackberry) but with any level of success comes negativity and criticism.

Thank Me Later is an impressive first effort, but it doesn’t have the same feel as So Far Gone…which is to be expected. TML is commercial, something that will easily crossover…which is the right business move. When I was in the store yesterday to pick up my hard copy, I grabbed the last copy on the shelf, and the kids in line in front of me were like the Rainbow Coalition…all preparing to make the same purchase that I did.

I think thats what sets Drake apart. He’s Jewish, and Black. He grew up middle class, like many of the people who actually buy albums. He’s easy to relate to, because he showcases a unique and refreshing realness that is missing today in hip-hop. He never talks about anything that he hasn’t experienced. If he continues that, I’ll continue to support him.

With that said, Thank Me Later is in stores now. Pick it up, and check out the following stand out tracks:

Fireworks (ft. Alicia Keys)
The Resistance
Light Up (ft. Jay-Z)

Side note: Yesterday Drake attempted to give a free concert at New York City’s Seaport…unfortunately NYPD prevented Drake from making it to the stage…causing CHAOS and RIOTS… pop group Hanson was also set to perform, but it’s safe to say that most of the people in the crowd were not there to see them. (MmmBop) Check out the video below: