I’m not gunna lie, man. I’m a touch embarrassed by how much I’m listening to Drake lately. It’s not because he’s from Canada, America’s hat and hype man, or because he made his name by being on Degrassi (Jesus Christ, Degrassi). I don’t need to go off on some tangent to illustrate how odd Drake’s career as an entertainer is because you should be familiar. It’s a little bananas, really. And not bananas you eat, but bananas you slide around on in Mario Kart.
No, my past distaste was more because the middle part of his career was punctuated with pouty heartbreak music. It felt a bit like Wayne’s decision to try rock(ish) music for a little while. I’m not saying you shouldn’t branch out musically; look at Mumford & Sons right now. But man. Hard to go from Taylor Swift-type singing to rapping about “never letting the street down.”
But Drake, the Drizzy That Mounted The World, appears to be back. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late finds Drake largely back to his roots. Rapping more than singing (or whining, as it sometimes becomes). He’s matured; the album is almost entirely him, and it’s him pondering his roots and the state of the industry.
The tracks are crazy catchy. My favorites have switched rapid-fire as I play it on repeat, hopping from Legend to Know Yourself to 10 Bands. I’m currently on Star67, which features a dig at Birdman (whose dispute with his entire label has become public and as ugly as Drake’s jumpshot [OHHHHH]) and Drake’s reflecting on where he is now and where he was, a perfect summation of the mixtape as a whole
The number 6 features prominently, a figure that is apparently a nod to his hometown. His beats are fairly simplistic, his lyrics emotionally packed and featuring a better balance between hippity hopping and singing.
Largely, it’s a pretty good work that should draw people like me back to him. It’s filled with hits that are dope to blast out your windows or groove to as you annihilate children who are just trying to have a good time on Xbox Live.