Review Summary: Not the same Drake from 4 years ago.
In "No Tellin'", Drake declares his desire not to be spoken to, 'like [he's] that same Drake from 4 years ago'. If You're Reading this it's Too Late
makes it abundantly clear that Drake is distancing himself from the opulent production values of Take Care
, and to a lesser extent, the fullest realization of his vision on Nothing Was the Same
. Instead of Noah "40" Shebib's dreamy beats or PBR&B ballads a la "Hold On, We're Going Home" or "Crew Love", If You're Reading this it's Too Late
is cold, heartless, and detached realizations of Drake's growing ennui.
That sense of apathy comes through in the scrappy piano loop that charges "Energy", an atypically violent number for the otherwise lovelorn Aubrey Graham. "Legend" and "Know Yourself" surprise too with minimalist beats matched by a Drake whose lyrical pen has moved away from sullen emptiness to absolute beleaguerment. The latent acquaintance with tense and minimalist beats rule supreme on numbers like "Preach", the closest the mixtape comes to a single however devoid of a serviceable hook it may be. Some aspects of a more rugged Drake become tiring, with PARTYNEXTDOOR notably trying to emulate The Weeknd's twisted desires and sounding entirely flat in the process, while 40's relative absence goes amiss during the 70-minutes of terse beats. Regardless, Drake's assertion that he's changed is admirable. Whether or not If You're Reading this it's Too Late
is an on-the-nose 'fu
ck you' to Birdman is entirely pointless; the sounds demoed here suggest that the forthcoming Views from the 6
could be Drake's most accomplished effort to date.