Apart from the overlooked or intentional grammatical errors on the album cover, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, the latest release from Canadian rapper Drake, has generated a flurry of musical interest.
Questions arose from its Beyoncé-esque sudden release on to iTunes on February 13th, with no announcement to fans. What muddied the waters further was its recognition by record label Cash Money as the rapper’s fourth album, despite Drake’s own insistance that it is a mixtape; it does sound like a mixtape. The minimal production and slow bass R&B beats across the entire mixtape give way to Drake’s showcasing of his rapping capabilities. Music critics have suggested that this is probably Drake’s best album yet in terms of lyrics, and if you take his track You & the 6, you can hear the story of his relationship with his mother and absent father packed into a monologue against a synthy and slow beat (with a notable nod to his Marvin’s Room track).
Though I am not so much a fan of Drake as the regular student, it has got to be said that Drake’s flow on the track 6 Man makes you appreciate his ability as an experienced rapper. What seems to be his endless rap over a simple beat shows off the lyrical prowess that so many have claimed. Musically transitioning from the commercial sound he seemed to flaunt in 2010’s Thank Me Later and 2013’s Nothing Was The Same, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late seems to give room for the rapper to do something a little different.
However, these two tracks seem to be the best (said lightly) amongst the other 15 on this mixtape. The one to kick off the track list, Legend, cannot be described as anything other than cliché. The sound that Drake has adopted in this track may perhaps be trying to give off a certain ‘gangster confidence’, but purely sounds like a reliance on the commercial name he has made for himself to propel what is actually quite difficult to listen to. Such a shame as before he actually starts to rap, the eerie and well put-together beat knocks it out of the park.
While talking on the subject of laziness, the track Madonna is certainly a contender for Drake’s worst bars ever. Though the beat, produced by Noah ‘40’ Shebib with dark piano notes and distinguishable hip-hop bass, is brilliant, Drake’s lyrics bring the rest of the track down. Almost inaudible and incomprehensible, it’s doubtful that this song can actually be enjoyed. Though the actual sound of the entire album is pretty cohesive, it is questionable as to whether it deserves to be in the top 5 in any official album chart.