If you didn’t spend all weekend listening to Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (or Valentine’s Day mixtapes, or watching relationship movies) then you owe it to your feels to give it a spin. One guy even got a tattoo. If you had better things to do with your significant other that’s cool too but it’s Monday now so make some time for music.
There are some rappers who need features to keep me interested in their project, like Rick Ross. Drake is the opposite. Drake will always be the best storyteller in the rap game as long as he’s in it and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, at the very least, entertains with more Drake perspective. The first half moves along with an aggressive tone but smoothly from track to track (classic Drake). “Legend” is a perfect jump off and “No Tellin'” is a personal favorite.
Halfway though things slow down and you hit the two PARTYNEXTDOOR features, the recycled “Used To” which Lil Wayne included on Sorry 4 the Wait 2, and the Travi$ Scott feature, all of which are unnecessary. They don’t hurt, but they don’t help either. “6 Man” and “Jungle” save the second half, but those features bring down the overall quality.
Kendrick Lamar paints pictures aimed at black youth and has been especially vivid and visceral with his songs lately, but track to track Drake is able to tell focused, contained stories that give views of his life and how it’s always changing. The tracks ebb and flow along with the beat and above all are relatable to anyone who has ever been in a relationship, which is nearly everyone. That’s the Drake blueprint. Also, at minimum, this project cements the fact that 40 and Boi-1da are incapable of making a bad beat.
J Cole was well served suddenly dropping a project with no features and I would have liked this album to have been a whole project with just Drake. That way his talent and his impact on the game today can’t be disputed. However, another No. 1 should do the trick.
In the end, with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, a lot depends on whether you look at the project as a mixtape or an album. Or if you look at it as a play to get out of his Cash Money Contract. If this were a free mixtape to tide the fans over until Views From the 6, then it would be great. As a 12.99 album on iTunes it’s 4 tracks heavy and a little rough around the edges. But I’m all for it if it means Views From the 6 will be all new Cash Money-free fire.