“I’m just more worried about myself, you know? I just gotta come home.” -Aubrey Graham
On Thursday night, Toronto rapper Drake pulled what everyone is calling a “Beyoncé” and dropped a surprise 17-track mixtape/album to follow his short film “Jungle,” released earlier that day. It is a precursor to Drake’s fourth album Views From The 6, set to drop later in 2015. Rumors were floating around social media about a mixtape titled So Far Gone 2 to be released on the six year anniversary of the first installment (February 13th). Instead, the Canadian artist shocked everyone when he tweeted a link to the extensive project on iTunes. Without further ado, here is my track-by-track breakdown and thoughts on the new project.
Drake kicks off the album with a hard-hitting opener, which samples G-Eazy’s “Get Away (Remix).” He says “Oh my God, oh my God. If I die, I’m a legend,” making it clear that Mr. OVO knows he’s currently one of the biggest names in the rap game. Throughout the album, you will notice Drizzy referring to himself as the 6 God. This is him feeling his power and importance to Toronto, as the “6 side” refers to their 416 area code. This opener shows the listeners that they’re in for a wild ride with great production and lyricism.
So, Drake has some enemies! Who doesn’t, right? This track samples Original Concept’s “Knowledge Me” instrumental, the hook from “I Need a Hot Girl” by Hot Boys, as well as the intro from Eazy E’s “Eazy Duz It.” As we know, Drake started from the bottom, working his way up to where he is today. On his journey, he has certainly seen his share of hatred, making plenty of enemies along the way. Unfortunately for the haters, this track further proves that Drake is resilient — with a multitude of platinum-selling singles and albums, a Grammy Award, and a loyal and ever-growing fan base around the world, he always seems to get the last laugh. Another solid track from the project.
3. 10 Bands
The next track describes Drake’s well-off and affluent lifestyle where he has seen an exponential rise in wealth. Despite all that Drake has achieved so far, some still fail to recognize him as one of the best rappers of this era. However, Drake does not let these notions bother him one bit. He will let them sleep on him while he continues to run the charts, killing these other rappers careers in the process. The bounce of this beat will have you bumping your head without even thinking about it!
4. Know Yourself
On the fourth track of the project, Drake is telling us to know ourselves, because truthfully, he knows what he wants and how to get it. Drake and his crew knew exactly what their targets were and did not miss their mark either as this surprise project is projected to sell 500k in three days. The buildup to the beat drop at the 1:50 mark is the creative work of producer Boi-1da, who never disappoints with the hard-hitting production. Just as many people can agree, this track is easily one of my favorites off the project.
5. No Tellin’
In this track, Drizzy tells us how much he has already achieved in his life, but there are still a decent amount of happenings for which he does not know the outcome of aka “no tellin'” what life might throw his way. Not a standout track off the project, but Rick Ross’ ad libs make an appearance which adds some excitement to the beat.
What’s a Drake album without a track talking about an old flame? He’s not only talking about his intense journey as a rapper metaphorically, but also about getting intimate with this girl who has the persona of Madonna. Even though he’s found the baddest girl in the game, he needs a fresh look on his own perspective of things. Drake messed around with this girl when nobody else wanted to. He saw what no one else did in her at that point in time and she cannot deny that fact. We always wonder who Drizzy is talking about in these ‘ex-girl’ tracks. I guess we’ll never know. Moreover, this track also gives off a “November 18th” vibe, which all of us Houston natives can relate to.
7. 6 God
There’s not much to say about this purebred banger produced by Boi-1da, since it originally released on October 25th, 2014 along with “How Bout Now” and “Heat of the Moment.” Drake has refused to release diss tracks in response to other artists — but that hasn’t stopped him from sending countless subliminal warning shots to every other rapper in the game. It’s safe to say that you do not want to make Drake catch a body like that (clever, right?). The Toronto native definitely claimed his spot on the 6 God throne with this hype track.
When you add *67 to a phone number, it makes the phone number calling appear as an unknown number. Drake is taking us back to his days growing up in the 416, dealing with yearning for more money and trying to figure out how to get it. Around the 2-minute mark, the beat switches up for the remainder of the song into a less aggressive and more sincere tone. Drizzy begins reminiscing his early life in the second verse and compares it to where he is now for the rest of the song. A little on the slow side of the project, but still a strong track that will be on repeat for days to come.
9. Preach (ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR)
“PND ain’t with the ray tay.” This track is a classic collaboration between the OVO mates, PARTYNEXTDOOR and Drizzy Drake. PND is no longer a stranger to getting real and you know him and his OMO crewmembers are going to speak a little bit of truth. Repetition of preach intensifies PND’s sense of hunger and readiness to go in on the self-produced beat. This track exhibits strong verses from both artists and great production from Mr. West District.
10. Wednesday Night Interlude (ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR)
If you thought PND’s feature on the project ended with the last song, boy were you wrong! The tenth track from the album samples Ekali’s “Unfaith” and is sung entirely by PARTYNEXTDOOR. It’s an introspective song about his relationship with a girl who he hasn’t seen in a while; it serves as the first slow jam on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and a timely break in the rap-heavy first half of the album. Perfect execution of an interlude, if you ask me.
11. Used to (ft. Lil’ Wayne)
Originally on Weezy’s Sorry For the Wait 2, pops up on this project with an extra Drizzy verse. Since I have already reviewed this track in my review of SFTW2, let’s take a closer look into the bonus verse Drizzy added to this banger. Within the extra verse, Drake alludes to his current situation with Cash Money Records. There are some signs that point to If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late being released as an “album” as a move to get out of his contract with Cash Money Records quicker than originally intended. Interesting to see how short verse can allude to so much!
12. 6 Man
In case you missed it before, 6 is a reference to the number 416, the area code of Drake’s hometown, Toronto. On this track, Drake explains the virtues of a man from his area, explaining that he works incredibly hard for his position in the rap game and throws in a few references and shout outs to his local area. He ends with an outro adapted from The Roots’ classic song “You Got Me.” Overall great track that pays homage to the Boy’s hometown and includes sentiment from his upbringing.
13. Now & Forever
At first listen, you think Drake is speaking to a girl and their failing relationship. However, on this track, he is talking about his separation from Birdman and Cash Money Records. The title of the mixtape itself, points towards the fact that Drake released this mixtape for sale on iTunes so that it is technically an “album” that finishes his contract with the label. In this track, he is debating his future away from the label and is not sure what the future has in store for him. He sprinkles the track with imagery that suggests he could also be talking about a smothered relationship, one in which Drake feels as though his girl is holding him back. Drake feels chained up, and although he does not want to completely trash his label the way that Lil’ Wayne did, he also does not want to remain trapped in a bad situation. He maintains a very apparent and clever double entendre throughout the entirety of the song, which makes it one of my other favorites off the project.
14. Company (ft. Travi$ Scott)
This Houston appreciative track off the project features our city’s very own Travi$ Scott. Drizzy talks about wanting looking for a girl with all the best qualities. Furthermore, every guy wants a woman who is not ashamed to be with him and has no problem with defending him in front of her old flame. Drake gives a shoutout to Hotel Derek off of Westheimer Road before saying he needs his girl (or any girl really) to come through and help him relax, take his mind off the work he has been putting in. After this statement, a sick Travi$ produced beat drops leading into his verse. Other than being a Houston theme song, this track’s production places it in one of the top sounds of the project.
15. You & The 6
Y’all better grab the Kleenex for this one! As one of my friends said, this song is the “Hey Mama” of 2015. This track is dedicated to Drake’s mother Sandi Graham as he talks about all of the issues he had growing up and how both his city and his mother helped him cope with all of it. This heartfelt song shows off Drake’s soft side with two raw verses and smooth Boi-1da/40 production.
This smooth track that samples Gabriel Garzón Montano’s “6 8” was originally featured at the end of his short film with the same title, which was released Wednesday morning. Drake wants his fame and fortune to be recognized because of his belief that God is steering him in the right direction. The moral of the song is Drizzy realizing that just because things did not work out with the girl he talks about throughout, he is putting his trust in God from now on. This track definitely earned a spot in my top three favorite songs of the project.
17. 6PM in New York
To end the project, Drake continues with his third installment of his “In the AM” series, following up “9AM In Dallas” and “5AM In Toronto”. This hook-less track features Drake attacking several members of the rap game for four minutes straight, including a seething critique of Tyga. With a strong consistent flow throughout, Drizzy ends his surprise album with a seamless message for the rap game.
The 17-track surprise album that dropped Thursday night by Mr. Aubrey Graham really shook things up in the rap game. This all-rounded man has managed to serve us another beautifully executed project on a silver platter. Views From the 6 is still due to release later this year. That being said, the best is still to come. We’ll be waiting for you Drizzy but until then, we have this brilliant album to keep us busy.
By Rupal Mehta