After the release of his critically acclaimed album, “Nothing Was The Same,” the hype for another release by Drake was at an all-time high. When NBA star DeMar DeRozan, who plays for Drake’s hometown Toronto Raptors, hinted that the artist had a mixtape on the way, the hype grew even higher. That hype saw the release of “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” without any promotion on Valentine’s Day.
While the hype was huge, Drake could not deliver. His lyrics just were not there.
In songs like the opener “Legend,” as well as “No Tellin’,'” it seems as though Drake is just boasting. There is no purpose to it, it is just filler. Tracks like “Energy” lacked any oomph and felt slow.
In general, the emotional content was lacking. You are not going to call your ex after listening to this. That being said, Drake appeared to be angry at times, something that was rarely seen earlier on his career. From throwing shots at music mogul Diddy to outright insulting former Young Money label mate Tyga on “6PM In New York,” this is a new side to Drake that many are beginning to like. Also, his lyrics on “6 God” as well as “You & The 6” were worthy to be on his upcoming fourth album, “Views From the 6.”
Nearly half of the mixtape was produced by longtime Drake collaborator, Boi-1da. In the tracks he was on, Boi-1da’s signature snare fell upon welcomed ears. His beat essentially made “10 Bands” a certified banger as well as making “6 God” one of the best tracks of 2015. Boi-1da, while handling the majority of the production, was not the only producer on the mixtape. Noah “40” Shebib, the producer for many of Drake’s most popular songs, appears four times on the mixtape, with production on “Madonna,” “Jungle,” “You & The 6,” and “6 Man.”
Drake also brought in newcomer Wondagirl, known for her work on Jay Z’s last album Magna Carta Holy Grail, and Grand Hustle producer and G.O.O.D. Music rapper, Travi$ Scott. Wondagurl’s work on “Used To” was excellent and was the definite production highlight. Scott’s dark and heavy production was evident on his vocal feature in “Company.” Even October’s Very Own’s residential crooner, PartyNextDoor, had two production credits, including opener “Legend.”
In his 2014 track “0 to 100,” Drake warned us “we already got spring 2015 poppin’.” Unfortunately, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” did not get it “poppin’.” The mixtape had some definite lows, especially in the lyrical department. It also was not as emotional as past Drake releases either. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Drake’s new angry side is pretty impressive.
The album’s high was the production. Bringing out younger producers like Wondagurl, as well as past frequent collaborators like Shebib and Boi-1da, was great for production diversity. Also, bringing in OVO members such as PartyNextDoor on the production team was great promotion for his brand. Must listens include “6 God,” “6 PM in New York,” and “10 Bands.”
All in all, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” is worth a listen, maybe even two, but to buy it for $12.99 on iTunes? That is a stretch.