Drake dropped something pretty big.
But it’s not Views From The 6, his still-upcoming album. It’s actually a mixtape (Drake’s own words even though it’s full album-length and costs $12.99.) Despite it being a non-free mixtape, I had to buy it right away so props to Drake for that marketing through non-marketing. He also released a short film with it along with not announcing it, so Drake’s all on his Beyoncé shit. It kind of worked, cause #IfYoureReadingThisItsTooLate and a few track names were trending on twitter all day. Read on for my If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late review.
Some more quick words first though: Drake is supposedly releasing this to speed up the completion of his 5 record contract with Cash Money so his next album is his last with them. He also released it in the middle of Kanye’s fashion show and Diddy’s Hot 97 show, probably to steal some shine (mostly from Diddy.) Drake’s trynna remind people he’s on top of the game with a mixtape that is kind of just a bunch of tracks thrown together, but it actually works and it’s worth a few listens.
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late delivers a laid back sound that paves the way for Drake to rap some emotional shit and also some boasting shit. It isn’t particularly innovative or groundbreaking, but it’s definitely worth multiple listens and worth paying for the mixtape. Drake didn’t quite reach Beyoncé levels with his surprise album, but hip hop should be happy.
For its smooth but not really daring sound, I give Drake’s new mixtape a:
Dope and varied from the beginning
From the first track (Legend) and its laid back but slightly funky beat, you know this is a Drake joint. He only confirms that when he comes in singing. This isn’t a break-up album where he’s down on himself though, saying, “if I die I’mma legend”, showing that this is a confident Drake even if he’s still soft. He continues that into Energy, too. All in all this album kind of sounds like if he made So Far Gone (which is about 5 years old) now. It’s laid back and has that raw feel, but he’s (rightfully) a hell of a lot more confident now.
Also, the beats are more varied than you might expect from a mixtape he dropped out of nowhere. 10 Bands is a good example of this, and the track sounds like it would fit right in on Nothing Was The Same. Know Yourself also fits in that category considering it has a minimal but mad tight beat that allows Drake to go off, and it’s the first great and really memorable track on the album. One of the things that makes it feel like a mixtape is how intimate it sounds and how conversational Drake is, despite being so celebratory at times.
Drake sounds like a cool and calm veteran
The 5th track is No Tellin’, which is probably my favorite track on the album. It’s a simple but hypnotic beat that really lets Drake go with the flow he wants and just stay comfortable. It gets the fuck in your head, though, and it’s also almost a perfect marriage of a few of the sounds from Drake’s different albums. No Tellin’ also has one of the best lines in the album, “the new shit is on steroids, I would never pass a physical.”
This is followed by Madonna, a chill track with a tight beat. Then comes 6 God, which is one of the moments where the mixtape almost approaches banger status but is still somehow laid-back. Star67 is the 8th track, which is also one of the highlights of the album. Pulling you in with a mini-skit and an intriguing spacey beat, Star67 would probably be dug even by those folks who don’t like Drake. It undergoes a mid-song transition that sounds like it’s straight out of James Bond, it’s personal, and it’s mad dope.
The second half picks up with some dope feats
Drake comes back in with Preach, a track that sounds more like Drake but still not predictable with PARTYNEXTDOOR on the feat. This is about halfway through the album, and fades out into Wednesday Night Interlude also featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. It slows the album down (not that it was mad quick or anything) but more importantly makes it feel like an album rather than just a collection of tracks.
Then the most famous feature (Lil Wayne) jumps on Used To (which you may have heard a few weeks ago.) It’s a solid track, but it’s just enjoyable, not great or anything, kind of like the whole mixtape. Weezy’s verse is pretty funny though, including a Friday reference (which is necessary for good hip hop.) Then Drake goes on to 6 Man, shouting out Lou Williams and his two girlfriends on one of the best and most creative beats on the album.
From the almost bangers to the almost ballads, shit’s mad solid
Now & Forever is the 13th track on the album and it’s another highlight for Drake. Like the other great tracks on this album, they sound like classic Drake joints but not like they’re just rehashes, they sound a little updated too. Anyways, this is one of those Drake ballads with a lot of repetition but you still can’t help but wanna sway your lighter back and forth. This is followed by Company (featuring Travi$ Scott, another great feat), which is another one of the best tracks on the album between Drake and Travi$ Scott’s performances. The album’s solid all around, but picks up near the end (really, in the later half.)
You & The 6 slows it back down and brings it back to Drake’s personal journal. His performance is actually mad dope and it really sounds like he’s spitting to her right there in the studio talking about how he was raised. Drake always goes for the personal, and he especially does in You & The 6 (which also has a mad catchy, low-key beat.) The second-to-last track is Jungle, which shares a title with Drake’s short film he dropped a few hours before the album. It’s the longest track on the album, and the beat’s kind of dope but honestly it’s just a bit boring. It is the 16th track on the mixtape though, so it can’t all be fire, and it’d be good backing for a late night.
Last track’s one of the best
The mixtape finishes off with 6PM In New York, and Drake saved one of the best for last. It’s definitely where he goes the hardest, from saying Lil Wayne “couldn’t have found a better successor” to telling Tyga (who he’s feuding with) to act his age, not his girl’s age (Kylie Jenner… she’s 17.) Drake is savage in this last track, and wakes you up in case Jungle had you napping. By the end of the album it’s been versatile enough that you want to listen to it again immediately, because even though it isn’t straight fire or anything, it’s consistently good and varied enough.
What’s your favorite track?
Like I said, I gotta go with No Tellin’ with 6PM In New York as a close second. Drizzy doesn’t take any huge chances on this album, and it’s not incredible or anything, but it’s super chill and a good soundtrack for late night cooling or driving in the middle of the night. I’m not Drake’s biggest fan (but I’m not a hater or anything), and I think this mixtape is worth the money, plus it makes me wanna hear Views From The 6 ASAP. I also hear it’s on track to sell half a million just this opening weekend, so salute for that Drake. Download that shit today and make your phone library just a little more solid. Come on, you know bae will love that shit too.