Review Summary: The softest rapper in the game readies his knockout blow
Despite the ridicule he's subjected to, it’s hard to think of a musician who has delivered on the extraordinary expectations of an establishing artist as reliably as Drake. Take Care
catapulted Drake into stardom and Nothing Was The Same
cemented his spot. His steady stream of new tracks ever since has both kept him relevant and showcased his intriguing musical evolution. The reliability with which he delivers on the anticipation for his music has seen him rise ever-higher. Drake's cringe-worthy braggadocio is yet hard to refute.
Truth be told, too much discussion is devoted to Drake’s public image. And it really doesn’t matter whether IYRTITL
is a mixtape or not; it speaks for itself when showing why it should be treated with the respect of any major release. Drake is finally starting to feel comfortable in his musical style, which on Take Care
was still a little immature and on Nothing Was The Same
a tad too tame. The beats on IYRTITL
are gorgeous; probably the best Drake has ever had to work with. Boi-1da plays a large part in this, but Drake’s long-time collaborator 40, despite only having a hand in three songs, helps craft one of the best in “Madonna”. Picking out other highlights is too tricky; there are too many worthy options (though “Star67” has to be up there). The outro to “Preach”, courtesy of PARTYNEXTDOOR, deserves its own song alone. Drake’s singer/rapping style is furthermore sitting more and more comfortably in the lush, almost Weeknd-esque production style of his recent releases. On IYRTITL
he harmonises and blends it with the beats like an expert, without the hint of awkwardness that peppered his earlier music. Everything he says here feels like a hook.
Considering Drake’s departure from Cash Money Records (referenced to by his cheeky album title) and IYRTITL
’s being referred to as a mixtape, the door is open for the official follow-up to 2013’s Nothing Was The Same
. As he approaches the sweet spot of music, it’s starting to feel as if Drake and his collaborators are together on the verge of something even bigger. For now though, it doesn’t matter. With the odd filler track, this doesn’t feel like Drake’s “classic”, but it will take a while yet to digest all that these 17 tracks have to offer.