By Eric Carman
Drake’s newest project “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” came as a surprise to most, having been released on Feb. 13 without any official warning. The Toronto-born rapper’s mixtape-album hybrid was, at the time of release, accompanied with questions arising regarding the rapper’s predecessor Lil Wayne and the controversy with their record label.
Some have accused Drake of releasing some sort of B-sides throwaway project in order to assist his rap mentor by fulfilling their contract with Young Money Cash Money Records. Regardless, “If You’re Reading This” is still a respectable piece of art that is finding itself scattered across the top 100 played charts.
The album, at first listen, has a very raw and clinically cold effect to it. Drake uses beats that have a similar sound to previous songs like “Wu-Tang Forever” or “0-100.” His tone has almost an aggressive purpose to it. It’s refreshing, in a way, to hear such consistent energy from the artist from start to finish.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that Drake recently tied The Beatles record for most songs on the Top 100 chart at one time. The entire album, all 17 songs of “If You’re Reading This Its Too Late,” is on the Hip-Hop Top 100 Billboard.
Drake reaches new heights with the delivery on this project. I sincerely enjoy all of the energy he brings onto tracks like “Energy” (ironically),”10 Bands,” “6 God,” “No Tellin’,” and several more. There is little to no faulty delivery or any cringe-inducing lines that were present in his previous album “Nothing Was the Same.”
My favorite moment on the mixtape is the end of “No Tellin’,” where he drops a clever line about other rappers being “Lions and Tigers and Bears,” and that he will go hunting to put their heads above his fireplace– a clever line that is also a sly diss at his rival Tyga. “Jungle,” one of the softer tracks, has a beautiful chorus sampled from Gabriel Garzon-Montano that blends very well with Drake’s high-pitched verse. The song is one of the most relaxing points on the album, and has a very catchy sound.
His ability to incorporate all of these sounds and skills into one project is no small feat, and is often lost in mainstream hip-hop projects. Drake is often criticized as being “soft,” or too emotional in his songwriting. He noticeably combats this criticism throughout the album, using more hard-hitting beats and gruff delivery. With this album, Drake has gone from an aspiring young rapper delivering floaty hooks to a real, fully fledged and respectable MC.