Posted April 14, 2015
By AUTUMN ROBERTSON
Drake pulls a Beyoncé and the crowd goes wild. The twitter-verse went berzerk on the late Thursday night of Feb. 12 when Canadian rap artist Drake released a surprise retail mixtape, “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late”, without warning.
Aubrey “Drake” Graham released this project on the six-year anniversary of his first album “So Far Gone”, which was an instant success in the hip hop world. All though “If You’re Reading This” does not convey the sappy emotion that “So Far Gone” holds, it certainly holds the characteristics of the debut albums production, which is produced by his producer-in-residence Noah “40” Shebib, and lyrical flow that us Drake lovers fell for.
I tend to believe that this mixtape was for the Drake fans. May I repeat, this project is technically a mixtape and not a rap album. Skinny Friedman from noisy.vice.com describes the difference between a modern-day rap mixtape versus an album in his feature story titled “The Real Difference Between a Mixtape and an Album”:
Albums are supposed to move units and to generate singles. They fit into the well-oiled, decades-old recording industry machinery. While mixtapes can (and often do) produce singles and sell some copies, their targets are more flexible. Mixtapes are a way to attract new fans, something for old fans to talk about on social media, a reason to tour, and a way to show off collaborations with bigger artists. Mixtapes move a rapper’s career forward, and they can do that without selling a single copy.
I do not foresee any crossover hits from this release nor do I see any of the music being played on pop stations, which I have absolutely no problems with (since pop stations tend to overplay my favorite songs, which in turn makes me so sick of the tracks that I once loved).
Once again, this project is for the connoisseurs of the Canadian rap artist’s distinct flows. If you don’t appreciate Drake, you may get really bored while listening. This mixtape makes me think of the word “homies”. The album is the type that I would turn on in the car on the way to a chill kickback in the city with some of the homies. It’s the type of music that one would put on while they chill with a group of people. I know that I’m saying “homies” a lot but that is honestly the best way that I can explain the sensation I get when I tune in to this mixtape.
The album gets a bit sleepy at times, but I still think that it’s quite enjoyable. In contrast, I can also feel some of Drake’s anger and hostility toward something or someone in this album. He has a few beefs out with different hip hop superstars (Diddy, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown) that he might be displaying in his song “Energy”, but it is rumored that Drake released this mixtape as a way to complete his Cash Money Records four album obligation just so he can get off the label, along with hip hop superstars Lil’ Wayne and Nicki Minaj. He is busy dropping hints throughout the entire album about his unhappiness with the supposed corrupt and unfair label, which may have been the root of the irritation. I appreciated this slight roughness, however.
The past Canadian teenage television drama sensation is known for being the sad puppy dog of the rap industry, with many of his songs talking about his past and failed relationships. This is a left from Drake’s usual “Come here baby girl and let me whisper you a rap song about how you broke my heart” theme. Yes, some of those types of songs were on the mixtape, but not as much as what we got from albums like Drake’s“Take Care”.
I still think that it’s a pretty solid mixtape and I will give it three out of four stars. My favorites are “Know Yourself” and “Legend” and “Energy”, which I usually blast in my car on the way to the grocery store to make myself feel like I’m the shit. It makes fans even more eager for the release of his official album (not mixtape) rumored to come out sometime in the spring. So thanks, Drake, for giving us something to tide us over while you work things out with Cash Money. I suggest that you, the reader, take the time to either purchase the mixtape or hear it out on Spotify the next time you’re “with the homies.”
(Note: For those unaware, the music world has coined the term “Pulling a Beyoncé,” which refers to the historical moment that pop artist Beyoncé released her new, self-titled album on iTunes in the fall 2013 without warning, causing havoc and orderly chaos. The act of keeping an album on the hush and releasing it without any advertisement is becoming popular after the immense success of Beyoncé’s self-titled; More and more big artists are following suit with blessing their fans with the art of surprise. The extremely successful Cash Money Records artist has already seen that success only a week following the release of “If You’re Reading This” by becoming the first rap artist ever to top the Billboard 100.)
- Artist: Drake
- “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late”
- Genre: Hip-Hop
- Length: 68:40
- Explicit content
- Where to Purchase: iTunes for 12.99; Google Play and Spotify
- Rating: 3 out of 4 stars