Drake
If You're Reading This It's Too Late


4.0
excellent

Review

by RivalSkoomaDealer USER (19 Reviews)
February 20th, 2015 | 96 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "If You’re Reading This…" presents us with a man at the peak of his success trying desperately not to lose his grip.

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late might be the release that finally gives Drake the respect he’s sought since his inception. He never asked to be mocked by hip-hop purists for the emotional vulnerability dripping from his lyrics. He never asked to be the poster boy for endless memes or “Drake the type of nigga” jokes. He doesn’t resort to baiting journalists with one publicity stunt after another the way Kanye does to get attention. The guy can’t even miss a couple shots at Basketball without making headlines (I’m looking at you Pitchfork, shameful). His music has consistently reflected a constant drive to prove his self-worth since perhaps even before his breakout mixtape So Far Gone was released in ’09.

Don’t get me wrong, Drake is probably interchangeable among the “big three” of highest regarded commercial hip-hop artists alongside Kanye and Kendrick. After all “his latest *** is like a greatest hits.” And the emotional and soulful introspection that he gets criticized for are in large part what gets him so much praise. But in true Drake fashion, “bein’ number two is just being the first to lose.” So on a late February evening, the same week we saw singles drop from Kendrick and Kanye (and the six year anniversary of the release of So Far Gone), Drake dropped his most thoughtful and hard hitting project yet with no warning or promotion.

If You’re Reading This… is 17 tracks of pure Drake. But it’s the Drake we’ve only seen in glimpses up to this point. The mixtape, half akin to last year’s venom-spitter “0 to 100” and the other half evocative of “Days In the East,” sees Drake fully embrace the trap aesthetics that he’s been dabbling in since Nothing Was the Same. All over the tape, we get samples of blasting airhorns and gunshots firing, transitions that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Chief Keef or Future tape. The general atmosphere being portrayed is cold and gloomy much like a winter in Toronto might feel like. The production qualities are sparse and minimal with trap beats utilized throughout to give Drake an impressive new layer to his already unique sound. Drake does things with his voice here that he’s never done before, taking some risks that are ultimately rewarding and bringing a sense of depth to the lyrics that others in the genre rarely accomplish.

Here, Drake revels in less first world problems and instead presents us with a man at the peak of his success trying desperately not to lose his grip. No track encapsulates these feelings more than the closing track "6PM in New York" where Drake says "Last night I went to sleep, wanted more. / Tried to decide what direction I should go toward. / 28 at midnight and wonderin' what's next for me." His lyrics are at his most aggressive and unhinged ever with lines like “Keep a blade with me when I go to check a bitch, aint no tellin.’" On “Energy,” Drake talks about the enemies he's made and his reluctance to go online. We get brief glimpses of Drake’s label situation with tracks like “No Tellin’” where Drake is “hoping for a check again, ain’t no tellin’.” “6 Man” reveals Drake has “Just got a new deal. / I am in the Matrix and I just took the blue pill,” giving the sense that greener pastures may be just over the horizon, if he can just keep it together for a little while longer. If You’re Reading This… is a fascinating moment in Drake’s career, exposing the loneliness, paranoia, and general insecurities of a superstar at the apex of his life.

If this album/mixtape/whatever-you-consider-it-to-be is Drake’s way of fulfilling his contract with Birdman, it was tactfully executed. Drake could’ve easily just compiled and repurposed last year’s non album singles and B-sides to fulfill his obligation to Cash Money. He could’ve given us something easy in the vein of Sorry for the Wait and not even tried to be deep or introspective, opting instead for the same braggadocio we’ve come to expect. However, If You’re Reading This… is not only Drake’s most personal and revealing project to date, it might also be his best. While I highly doubt that Views from the 6 will sound anything remotely like this (the closest we get to radio territory here may be the comparatively tame “Now and Forever”), i’m eager for more of the brash “don’t *** with me” Drake sometime in the future. If this mixtape proves anything, it’s that Birdman might have made the worst mistake of his career when he ***ed over his brightest star.



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user ratings (738)
3.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
RivalSkoomaDealer
February 20th 2015


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Feedback always welcome. =)



Best Drake since Take Care for sure. Possibly better than that even.

Digging: Opeth - In Cauda Venenum

oltnabrick
February 20th 2015


37557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nowhere near as good as Take Care ;]

Digging: Mayhem - Daemon

MMX
February 20th 2015


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Solid review ;]



could never really get into Take Care for whatever reason, This is easily my favorite Drake project though

Tunaboy45
February 20th 2015


16788 Comments


Great review Skooma

RivalSkoomaDealer
February 20th 2015


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks fellas.

MMX
February 20th 2015


5013 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just noticed this "So Far Gonewas released in ’09."



first paragraph, last sentence spacebar required

RivalSkoomaDealer
February 20th 2015


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, yeah ill give that a quick fix when I get back to my pc.

anobsoletevernacular
February 21st 2015


261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review! Haven't listened to Drake in depth before this but I really, really enjoyed this.

Digging: Big Thief - Two Hands

420Itchy69
February 21st 2015


216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

k















Rubvo
February 21st 2015


30 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i like the review. it is a really great album. i got to agree.

HalfManHalfAmazing
February 27th 2015


1972 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

how about a 5 review

HalfManHalfAmazing
February 27th 2015


1972 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

lol'ing so hard at the low key Goldeneye gun sounds.



Drizzy gone get 'em hahhaha DONT FUCK WIT HIM

RivalSkoomaDealer
February 27th 2015


1630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"lol'ing so hard at the low key Goldeneye gun sounds."



lol same. nostalgia trippin hard during Used To.

iamamanfromspace
February 28th 2015


1030 Comments


"how about a 5 review "

i wanna see that

controlled
March 1st 2015


660 Comments


Listen fam….I dont expect much from rap music in 2015…n I be turnin a blind eye to a lot of fuckery….but havin gunshots on a Drake record is like havin gunshots on a Drake record namsayin. Its like havin a picture of a gladiator holdin the severed head of his adversary on a shampoo bottle. These shits jus dont go together bruh.

treeqt.
March 1st 2015


16964 Comments


good album

420Itchy69
March 1st 2015


216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wheres sadchild

treeqt.
March 1st 2015


16964 Comments


discontinued


Log S.
March 5th 2015


2791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i was unsure of this the first time i'd listened, sounded like it was on the borderline of being fairly "one note" at least in comparison to the first 3 albums & SFG, but upon further listenings it's pretty much just as diverse & in a lot of ways just as strong if not stronger



possibly my second fav thing he's released behind take care & just above nothing was the same



awesome

bach
March 6th 2015


16276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aint no tellin

aint nooooo tellin



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