Drake’s new album tells it like it is

Posted March 22, 2015


When I read the title of Drake’s “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” I did not like it. Such a long album title. And I didn’t get it.

But after listening, it makes sense. Drake is currently in the midst of a conflict with Birdman, the man behind Cash Money Records. Cash Money Records has been home to Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Tyga and, of course, Drake. But Lil Wayne has filed a lawsuit against Birdman and both him and Drake are trying to leave the label.

This album, which Drake has established is a mixtape, was released unannounced and has since been compared to the album Beyoncé released unannounced last year.

But this album wasn’t meant to be a surprise album for the public (though a pleasant surprise it was for us anyway). It ends the four-album requirement Drake owes Cash Money Records, thus completing his contract obligations.

So the title of the album is meant for Birdman. But Aubrey “Drake” Graham is letting the public know too. With a title like that, how can we not be curious?

And he’s letting us know about a lot more than just this conflict.

The songs are revealing, in true Drake fashion. He’s given us another album, like his 2011 “Take Care,” exposing his struggles.

Lyrically, Drake has done it again — tearing at our heartstrings. There are a few songs that are on the more upbeat side, like “Energy,” but this album is even less playful than his last album, “Nothing was the Same.”

The sound of the album is his usual slow haze, but this sound works coupled with his introspective lyrics. And the quality is as good as always. You know what they say — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

And it ain’t broke. Drake receives criticism in the hip-hop world for having been a well-off child actor, as he portrayed Jimmy Brooks on TeenNick’s “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” He was also raised in a nice neighborhood called Forest Hill — one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Toronto – contrary to most in the business.

But he doesn’t try to be anything he’s not.

In his song, “You & The 6,” Drake addresses the criticism — not angrily but truthfully: “I used to get teased for being black. And now I’m here and I’m not black enough. Cause I’m not acting tough or making stories up about where I’m actually from.”

In this track, he exposes a little of family life, too — of growing up in Toronto and his familial relationships. The song is addressed to his mother, who raised Drake alone after divorcing his father when he was 5 years old. From previous songs, like “Look What You’ve Done” on the “Take Care” album, we know Drake’s father wasn’t always around, having moved to Memphis after the divorce and been put in jail twice. But Drake tells his mother, and us, he has no hard feelings: “He made mistakes throughout his life that he still doesn’t accept. But he just wants our forgiveness, and f**k it, look how we living. I’m content with this story, who are we not to forgive him?”

Drake wouldn’t be the rapper he was if he didn’t have the upbringing he did. He brings a level of educated artistry and profound self-awareness to a genre too reliant on hard beats and vulgar lyrics.

I recommend giving the album a listen with friends. It’s not the kind of album you want to hear on your way to a party. But it’s just right when you’re hanging out on a couch with close friends and a few beers.

The album, which features artists Lil Wayne, Travi$ Scott and PartyNextDoor, requires a close listen. It’ll have you saying “awww” and “ooooh BURN” a lot. It’s an album with the ability to evoke various emotions, which is something to commend.

Look at the brightside Drake, at least Birdman led you to create this album.

I’m excited to see what the flexibility of leaving Cash Money Records will bring out in Drake creatively.

  • Artist: Aubrey “Drake” Graham
  • Album: “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
  • Label: Young Money – Cash Money Records
  • Released: Feb. 13, 2015
  • Songs: 17
  • Price: $12.99 on iTunes
  • Parental Advisory Explicit Content
  • Reviewer Rating: 8 out of 10