written By Carla Bynum
Although Drake recognizes his latest release as a mixtape, it is in fact considered his fourth studio album for Cash Money records due to its release through iTunes. On the morning of February 12, Drake released a short film titled “Jungle” which let fans know that new music was coming from the Canadian-born rapper. Still, most weren’t prepared for what was to come.
Drake addresses his enemies on the track “Energy.” He has many enemies who are trying to break him down and drain his energy but he’s not worried about them. F*** em all.
“10 Bands” is a song that details Drakes climb from making $10,000 to $100,000 for features and shows. A feat many rappers probably haven’t seen in such a short amount of time.
Knowing and loving thyself has been a recurring theme in hip hop lately and Drake continues with the trend on the track “Know Yourself.” He reminisces on when he was grinding in Toronto with his crew. He has worked hard to be in the position he is now and he doesn’t plan to change for anybody. He hopes that the realest stay around while the fakes are exposed.
Like most people, Drake sits awake at night and wonders how much he will accomplish in the future. The road ahead is uncertain and there’s “No Tellin” what the future holds.
Drake wants to pick up his ex in his “draped out” ride and cruise in his whip the way they used to on the short track “Madonna.”
“6 God” was originally released on October 25, the day after Drake’s 28th birthday, alond with the tracks “Heat of the Moment” and “How About Now.” Drake is focused and the only things he cares about are his music, label, crew and himself. He doesn’t give a f*** about you and your team, his mind is on other things.
“Star67” is a popular phone command that blocks your phone number when you call someone. This track is another song where Drake reminisces about his life in the 6. He references the days when he was acting on TV and how quickly the money disappeared after he helped his mother out. He wanted to make money quicker so he asked his childhood friends Haffa and Jordan to put him on to their phone scam. He has also mentioned this on the song “0 to 100/The Catch Up.”
Drake also arguably briefly addresses the current Lil Wayne and Young Money drama. Drake can’t wait to fire his “brand new Beretta,” which refers to his new music but he doesn’t know if he’ll be paid for it. He also mentions that he wouldn’t dap someone with his left hand, which means he has no respect for the no name individual. I wonder who he’s talking about. Birdman, perhaps.
PartyNextDoor accompanies Drake on the track “Preach,” a song about their frequent Miami nights and quest for women.
“Wednesday Night Interlude” comes at the perfect time to slightly change the pace of the hip-hop heavy first half of the album. The interlude is sung in entirety by PartyNextDoor. PND calls up an old flame who he hasn’t seen in a long time because he needed to get himself together. He calls her up in the middle of the week because he’s lonely, although he hates to admit it.
“Used To” featuring Lil Wayne was originally scheduled to appear on the much delayed Sorry for the Wait 2 mixtape but since there’s still no word on when that’s coming out, Drake decided to include it on his album instead. On the track, Drake realizes that it takes some used to being at the top when nobody is challenging him. He’s still riding with his old friends. He still doesn’t believe in any new friends.
Drake details how he continues to work hard for his spot in the rap game on “6 Man.” He works the night shift to perfect his craft and there’s nobody on his level.
“Now and Forever” plays like the typical Drake love song upon first listen, but given the circumstances of Drake’s contract with Cash Money Records, it seems like a subtle jab at the label. Drake is in a toxic relationship that has lasted too long and he just wants to leave. He is still unsure of what the future holds for him but he knows he can no longer stay in this relationship in a terrible situation.
Drake addresses his not-so-secret obsession with strippers and women who are BBW on the track “Company” featuring Missouri rapper Travi$ Scott. Drake hates sleeping alone and he just wants some company. He just wants someone to help him relax his mind and help him to stop thinking about work.
The song “You & The 6” is dedicated to Drake’s mother Sandi Graham and all the lessons she taught him growing up. He credits his mother and Toronto with raising him right and molding him into the person he is now.
Listeners finally get a much needed love song from Drizzy that this album is noticeable lacking on the track “Jungle.” The song is about a girl Drake used to go see in “the jungle,” a rough neighborhood in Toronto known for its gang violence. She was his ride or die but he took her for granted. The media used to dictate their relationship because she was too focused on the rumors she saw on the internet instead of cherishing the time they spent together. The hook samples Gabriel Garzón Montano’s “6 8.”
The album is closed out with the song “6PM in New York,” the third installment in his “In the AM” series. The song follows behind “9AM in Dallas” and “5 AM in Toronto.” Drake addresses several of his critiques, including rapper Tyga. He talks about how Tyga said he doesn’t like Drake as a person. Drake advises his former labelmate to act his age and not his girl’s age.
While If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is a different pace for Drake and lacks the usual emotional music listeners have grown to love, it is certainly worth a listen. Drake lets us know on several occasions that he wanted to change the style for this particular album and he did so flawlessly. The album skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and has sold over 535,000 copies. How many rappers do you know who can release an album without warning and still make it to #1?
Recommended tracks: “You and the 6,” “Now and Forever,” “Star67,” “Company,” “Jungle”