Rolling Stone recently sat down with Toronto based rapper Drake of Young Money to talk about his upcoming sophomore effort Take Care. Drake is still in full recording mode, as he readies his first single, “Headlines,” but he invited Rolling Stone to hear a few of the tracks set to make the final cut. Title names are revealed such as “Shot For Me,” “Free Spirit,” and “The Real Her,” which feature verses from frequent collaborators Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. There will also be a track with fan-favorite The Weeknd and, if Drake can work it out, there will be a track with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machines. Below, you can check out Rolling Stone’s take on what they heard in the studio:

He cues up several tracks in various states of completion, all of which sit squarely in the sparse, somber register that’s become his trademark. “Shot for Me,” the likely album opener, is a marvel of melancholy bravado: He sings “Bitch, I’m the man” in a moan that undercuts the brag, over a beat (courtesy of Shebib) that pairs aching synthesizer notes with an exhilarating barrage of high-hats. Other highlights include “Free Spirit,” featuring Rick Ross and the refrain “Tat my name on you so I know it’s real,” and “The Real Her,” a narcotically woozy love song with detuned pianos and a Lil Wayne guest spot. Drake is also looking forward to collaborating with Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. buzzy R&B gloomster the Weeknd — and, if he gets his wish, veteran beatsmith DJ Premier, Florence and the Machine’s Florence Welch, and the xx’s Jamie Smith. “No matter who’s on it, it goes through the Drake filter,” Shebib says. “He’s so hands-on about how everything sounds.”

Drake also talks about his 2010 debut album Thank Me Later, saying, “…I think I got caught up in making it seem big and first-album-ish. I was a bit numb, a bit disconnected from myself. I wasn’t able to slow down and realize what was going on around me.” With Take Care he is going back to his So Far Gone roots, going with a more raw sound. Look forward to Take Care when it drops October 24, 2011.

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