Surprise albums almost seem commonplace nowadays. Drake’s new mixtape cum long EP, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the 3rd highly anticipated major label surprise release in the last 12 months – joining the cultural firestorm created by both Beyoncé and D’Angelo, Drake and his team may have saw the publicity gained from being unpredictable in their releases and followed suit. There are even those debating the idea that this 17-song ‘mixtape’ might just be a bit of an appetizer (and contractual obligation) in build-up for the expect LP Views from the 6.
Be it what it may, it dropped on midnight on Friday, so if you’re listening to any other record this long weekend you might be doing it wrong.
Part of Drake’s inherent charm to those north of the border is the way he almost talks authentically about life in Toronto. Notice how I qualified that with ‘almost’? Yeah, K’naan, Kardinal, and Redway still hold the medals for authentically speaking to life in Toronto, but I find that his throwbacks no longer claim that he’s what he isn’t, and more to what he is and what he was. This has always been a bit of a challenge with Drake – the transparency in his lyrics can not go unnoticed not only to an outsider, but are so evident to those living in the City that sometimes it’s cringe-worthy. However, instead of claiming what he isn’t, it seems that he is finally accepting that he didn’t grow up in a ghettoized version of Toronto he’s making up in his mind – and it’s super-refreshing to hear.
Musically and from a production stand-point, this is classic Drake. Muted bass, lyrical rapping, down-tempo feel dripping in delay and reverb, this is exactly what we expect from a Drake album. Which is why it’s pretty obvious that this is a bit of warm-up. This sounds like the songs that aren’t going to make the main album (still expected this year at some point) that Drake and Cash Money just wanted to get out there to see what catches.
You know the phrase, “throw shit at the wall and see what sticks”? We just got metaphorical shit thrown at us – and some of it’s sticking.