Posted April 7, 2015
By BRENDA MCGRANE
Countdowns and official release dates seem to be a thing of the past as more and more artists look to surprise fans by dropping full-track EPs and records overnight.
Just this past December, Beyoncé unexpectedly released her fifth studio album on iTunes and now other artists are following her lead. While its unclear if this technique is used to revolutionize the industry or avoid digital hacking with today’s technology, it is obvious that this method of releasing music creates instant and lasting hype.
Aubrey ‘Drake’ Graham, singer/rapper, decided to surprise fans with an early Valentine’s Day gift by releasing, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” at midnight on Feb. 13. His sudden delivery was a smart business move, but his explicit lyrics are not ideal for his enormous fan base just shy of entering and graduating high school.
Before his music career, he became known for playing the character Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. As a rapper, he performs under the mononym Drake.
Spanning 17 tracks, Drake’s second studio album features Lil Wayne, Travi$ Scott and PartyNextDoor. Its cover art is simple, in black and white theme, yet makes a statement. Although the title appears to be handwritten in childlike print, it is still coherent. Below the title rests a small image of praying hands with no mention to who the artist is.
The overall sound of “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is confident, dark and unique in beats from track-to-track. Often glorified for being a successful rap artist with multiple pop hits, Drake reverts to a different style of hip hop where he relies heavily on the quality of his verse.
In the track “Legend,” Drake declares his greatness by proclaiming, “If I die / I’m a mother******* legend.” Throughout the album different variations of Drake’s confidence—and cockiness—are demonstrated through his lyrics. In another track, “Energy,” Drake raps, “I got enemies, got a lotta enemies / Got a lotta people tryna drain me of this energy” suggesting that his rise to the top of the charts has come with its challenges too.
“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is far from the theatrical, party anthems that made Drake’s name early in his career. His approach is more sinister than “gangster rapper” and it’s refreshing to hear an album whose verses surround relatable situations; fueled by paranoia and knowledge that with success, there will always be people who want something from you or to see you plummet.
Often music, especially in hip-hop, is perceived as an outlet to depict women and fantasize about cars and lavish lifestyles; Drake used this opportunity to stay true to his earliest influences, like Notorious B.I.G., and surprise fans by giving them an intimate glimpse of his life. As a result, Drake has set the bar quite high for future album releases to come.
- Artist: Drake
- Album: “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
- Released: Feb. 13, 2015
- Explicit, clean version available
- Price: $12.99