It's never too late to listen to this sensational mixtape
Drake burst back onto the scene with a surprise mixtape, and boy has he delivered.
Many of the Canadian rapper’s fans were led to believe that his next offering would be in the form of Views From The 6, which was announced as his next album back in July 2014. What we weren’t expecting was for Drake to pull a maneuver made most famous by Beyoncé, and drop a mixtape out of nowhere. The 17 track mixtape appeared suddenly on iTunes unannounced on February 12th, the only indication of its arrival being a link to the iTunes page from Drizzy’s twitter account.
As previously mentioned the mixtape contains 17 tracks and is over an hour long. You read that right, 17 tracks and no filler. No interludes or skits, these are 17 full length tracks, none of which are written for radio airplay. As if we weren’t warned of the negative content within the record by the suicide letter style title and artwork, from the off the tone for the mostly downbeat mixtape is set. ‘Legend’ is the lead in, in which Drake proclaims “If I die, all I know is I’m a motherfucking legend/It’s too late for my city, I’m the youngest nigga reppin’.” Straight off the bat we realize that this is going to be a downbeat, self-loving and Toronto praising set of songs.
As the mixtape develops it’s clear to see that there aren’t going to be any radio friendly songs, with Drake using the record to vent over a range of electronic beats. The most obvious subject of Drake’s displeasure is his record label Cash Money Records, most notably shown in ‘Star67’. Here after a blatantly frustrated spoken intro from Lil’ Wayne, Drake drops the bars “Brand new beretta, can’t wait to let it go/Walk up in my label like ‘Where the check though?’”. Clearly he’s unimpressed with the treatment he and others are receiving from the label. The overpowering lack of material for a single is possibly a final middle finger to label boss Birdman and co, as Drizzy fulfills contractual obligations with this hate filled album so that he can leave the label as soon as possible.
There’s no doubt that this was produced solely for Drake’s benefit. Whilst many fans may be disappointed by having to pay for a mixtape, this cohesive group of songs fits better together more than any album most artists could muster. Drake’s confidence exudes from every track, notably the upbeat and fast paced ‘6 God’ and ‘Used To’. It’s no coincidence that these two songs have already been released by Drake before the mixtape – Cash Money clearly are not getting anything else from the Toronto superstar.
Winding down the album are the tracks ‘You & The 6’ and ‘Jungle’. The former is the now customary song dedicated to his single mother in the form of a one sided conversation. The final official song ‘Jungle’ is one which finishes the album perfectly with its melancholy feel, on which Drake proclaims “I’m not losing it though. I’m just venting.”. This perfectly rounds off the thoughts that are explored throughout the full length of the tape. Although ‘Jungle’ already offers a perfect ending and summation of everything that goes before it, the listener is also treated to a bonus track in the form of ‘6PM in New York’. This is far more upbeat, whilst still firmly summarizing the main themes and thoughts throughout the duration of the mixtape. Opening the track by blaring out “Oh you gotta love it.” is a strong move. This perfectly sums up Drake’s belief that he’s already above the rest and he can do whatever he pleases, a viewpoint which is cemented by his huge diss of Tyga. “It’s so childish calling my name on the world stage/You need to act your age and not your girl’s age” attacks Tyga without a care, slyly pointing out the dubious nature of his relationship with 17 year old Kylie Jenner. This is an equally perfect ending to the tape, in which we can see Drake can do what he wants, easily fending off any competition. Showing that he can just vent for over an hour whilst still flowing effortlessly from track to track, Drake has produced another incredible musical offering worthy of being called an album, whilst still only being a “mixtape” in his own words.
Clearly for a big enough artist this sudden way of releasing music is highly productive, with the album going straight to number 1 in the US and Canada, also garnering 17.3 million streams on Spotify beating his own record made by 2013’s Nothing Was The Same. On top of this it has also lead to Drake becoming the first rapper to top the Billboard Artist 100 Chart, which is comprised from a combination of sales, streaming and airplay.
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is now available digitally on Cash Money Records.