When I answered my phone, the last thing I was expecting was someone to tell me that I must listen to an album Drake dropped. The enthusiasm was reminiscent of when this same person told me to listen to Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape. I was introduced to Drake with feverish excitement about how he was a singer-slash-rapper that made good music. My friend exclaims I had to grab the album on Dr. Dre’s Beats app because it is a “straight-through.”
With all the turmoil going on with the label with Weezy and Baby, Drake suddenly releases his album If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late a couple days before Valentine’s Day. Clever. Is the album as tactical as its release was strategic?
“When I die, I am going to be a legend” Drake exclaims in the album’s opening, Legend. This is the type of music you put on to live vicariously through someone who has it all. With a little bit of an alcoholic buzz and stimulants the songs come to life as they are meant to be heard. Drake’s album falls into the category of music that reminds us over and over again that self-confidence and self-efficacy are in style. There are countless artists and young people filled with optimism and hope. Drake’s success contributes to that.
The current culture celebrates alcoholism, illicit drug use, and free sex. The music is dangerous and rebels against the previous era, like all other eras. From the free love of the 1960’s to the pimp exploitation songs of the 1970’s. In a day and age of such a free and talented society, music should get more and more creative. Am I asking too much of someone who claims to be the best? Even though his sound has been snatched and homogenized, he must still recreate and recalibrate to be steps ahead of his competitors.
His innocent boy-next-door demeanor is easier to like than someone with several face tattoos and piercings because those are society's norms. However, the Ancestral DNA that resurfaces through the images of Young Thug are hard to ignore.
When the light-skinned Keith Sweat from around the corner reiterates his arrogance and seduces us he climaxes. In this arena, my favorite slow song is Jungle. The rpms are suspenseful. The melody soothes our subconscious. The song expresses disdain of his lady spending more time on her social media timeline than she does with him. It's commendable as more and more attention is sought online instead of in-person. I like this song.
The other style that stands out during the album is his redundant use of braggadocio. These songs are shots at rappers and artists who benefit from his swag and formulas for success. The line “act your age, not your girls age” hits Tyga unexpectedly. A warning shot served over the net that is surely going to spark a response. 15 Luv, Drake.
Surprisingly the album doesn’t feature many others. PARTYNEXTDOOR, Travis Scott, and Lil Wayne joined in. I was excited to get to the Lil Wayne track because together these two have pretty much created the current trends of rap, alternative dress and style. Lil Wayne killed Drake on the track. Weezy’s hottest line to me was “I ain’t got no time; tell her I love her and I hate her in the same sentence; I am fucking her mind. While Drake’s hottest line was “I only see the truth when I am staring in the mirror, like there it is there.” Lil Wayne uses Young Thugs voice inflections as a mockery and a reminder of who inspired who. Is the resentment a marketing scheme to get the masses caught up in the drama? Will Lil Wayne be reunited with his “daddy?”
The album is not a classic in the sense that it’s a straight-through album as my overzealous friend proclaimed. It lacks the soul and innovation introduced by So Far Gone. Overall I give the Drake album a solid 4/5. Drake tried to stick to his script as it’s been working for him. However, Drake’s innovation abilities should’ve resulted in the envelope being pushed. He produced a clichéd version of himself. In other words, I didn't feel like there was anything new. Drake addresses the recent clashes between African Americans and Law Enforcement as if suddenly remembering to give someone a shout out. The address feels insecure with such a polarizing issue in the media. Current real world events are being recorded as the plot of our day and age; one of Hip Hop’s greatest artists should’ve broke new ground. It feels lazy.