It’s not Too Late to check out Drake’s new mixtape

It’s not Too Late to check out Drake’s new mixtape

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

Though the newsstands have been calling Drake’s Feb. 13 drop of his new album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late a “surprise” in the music scene, avid Drake fans (myself included) have been anticipating this album since the July 2014 release of his track “0 to 100 / The Catch Up” where Drake slyly but unmistakably says he’s “already got spring 2015 poppin’,” and lists a number of artists, including himself, who would be dropping albums this season.

Drake’s new album has quickly risen to number one on Billboard 200, making this the fourth time he’s made it to the top of the charts. It has also broken Spotify’s first-week streaming record, with over 17.3 million streams in the first three days. Ironically enough, the record Drake broke was his own, which was set with his 2013 release of Nothing Was the Same, with 15.8 million streams in the first week.

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is the sixth Drake album and was released exactly six years to the day from his first mixtape, So Far Gone. With the number six being a recurring theme throughout the album as well as several illuminati references within his lyrics, Drake is definitely looking to stir things up with this experimental album.

While Drake might have been a bit off with his prophecy that his album would be poppin’, it is definitely a different, more refined side of Drake that I was not expecting to hear.

Drake seems to abandon his traditional, heavily-produced and bass-driven sound and opted for a calmer, more subdued tone that focuses more on his lyrics and vocals rather than the instrumentation.

I’ll be honest – the first time I listened to this album, I couldn’t get over the fact that Drake had so drastically altered his signature bumpin’ sound that I refused to like it. After a few more listens, though, my mind was changed.

The first song on the record is titled “Legend,” and begins with a quiet, booming bass drum and female vocals to lead Drake into his slow, melodic singing. Drake’s lyrics are kept forefront on the track, even when the driving bass and tapping electronic drums kick in and speed up the tempo as he sings, “Oh my God, oh my God, if I die, I’m a legend.”

On the second track, “Energy,” Drake brings back some of his more traditional kick into the beat with a mellow spin. Using an eerie piano riff and mixing it with deep, booming bass, he smoothly transitions into his third track, “10 Bands,” which is the most poppin’ track on the record.

With a driving hook and electronic chimes in the background, Drake gives us a taste of his older, more aggressively produced beats that we’ve all come to love so dearly.

By his sixth track, “Madonna,” Drake again slows things down and hops on the creepy train with his mantra-sounding vocals about a woman who has the potential to “be as big as Madonna.”

Though Drake is commonly known for being less than sweet about the women he entertains, he switches up the tone on this one, rapping, “What if I pick you up from your house? We should get out – we haven’t talked in a while. We should roll to see where it goes.”

With 17 tracks on the album, it can sometimes drag on for a while as the shortest track is just shy of three minutes long. Bringing in guest rappers such as PARTYNEXTDOOR, Lil Wayne and Travi$ Scott helped to break up the mixture and add some dimension to the album.

Overall, even though I was originally disappointed with the mellowness of Drake’s new album, which, as he’d promised, was supposed to be poppin’, I ended up really enjoying the risks he took with producing a less instrumentally involved and more lyrically driven record.

If you like Drake, love Drake or never had a thing for him – still give this album a listen. It’s got enough of Drake’s original twist to it that his fans won’t be disappointed and enough new, experimental elements that might even bring some non-Drakers onto the bandwagon.

 

4 stars