In this post we are reviewing Drakes’ popular release If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. 2015 was a great year for Drake since this mixtape. His follow up for the successful 2013’s Nothing Was The Same, came to be another number one for the US Billboard 200 in the artist’s career, creating another landmark. Being prepared since July 2014, the album was originally intended to be released as a free download before his contract with Cash Money records made If You’re Reading This… the fourth official studio album for Drake, being released as a digital download on iTunes and Amazon Music.
Drake’s original intentions were to release If You’re Reading This… as a mixtape, since it was more of an introspective project than a commercial studio release. When we review the modern concept of a mixtape introduced by 50 Cent’s 50 Cent is the Future and No Mercy, No Fear we find an artist’s effort to introduce freestyling, remixes or original new music to his fanbase without any cost to them. Drake’s scenario was no different, and If You’re Reading This… was intended to lead the way for the anticipated Views album, being able in the DatPiff platform for free before Cash Money Records turned it into a studio release due to contract obligations, to Drake’s discontent.
If You’re Reading This… proves to be one of Drake’s more mature works. The lyrical insight for these tracks is more based on the rapper’s personal emotions and experiences rather than the more superficial lyric material we find in his previous albums, and he also gets closer to the trap genre with the beats included on this album. Once the “mixtape” was uploaded to iTunes it became gold within its first week of release due to the high expectations of the fans, with more than 495,000 sold copies and more than 40,000 downloads. This would become Drake’s fourth album to reach the US Billboard top.
This album contains an innovative musical approach in which the subtle sound effects of the trap beats are more elaborated than any of Drake’s previous materials, with smooth transitions between each track that makes the album perceived as a whole rather than a track-by-track. The opening track, Legend, sets the mood for the rest of the songs: straight lyrics about transcendence, violence, family issues and living the life to the fullest. Energy comes strong as a statement about not letting anyone drain your energy with their negativity. The musical video for Energy was highly controversial since it saw Drake impersonating several notable personalities like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, O.J. Simpson and others, and many critics pointed it out the offensive nature of this approach, since every character is seen playing the role of the lyrics in compromising situations like taking cocaine in an alley.
Preach was the other single to be released from this album and contains an introspective lyric material about finding oneself during reflections moments, short breaks among the luxurious and excessive lifestyle of a superstar, finally stating that “doing is one thing, doing it right is a whole different story”. Know Yourself is another remarkable track from this album, speaking about how important is to know the people that surround you, their implications and how you will deal with all of it, knowing and being honest with yourself during the process.
This level of depth in the lyrics is present in the majority of the tracks. Jungle is one perfect example, being an unconventional love song about how imperfections, doing everything out of love and being straightforward can make a relationship a “forever thing” in Drake’s own words. If You’re Reading This… turned out to be Drake’s opportunity to stay out of the conventional hip-hop themes about competition and wealth, introducing the existential type of situations through a combination of subtle melodic and atmospheric material to suit every musical need he has.
We definitely recommend If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late as Drake’s most accomplished work of 2015 due to the wide scope he provides with it as a whole production, in which every track is part of a single artistic experience!.