Albums

Album Review: Drake – ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’

This is an exciting time for hip-hop fans; releases from the likes of Lil Wayne, Kanye, Wu-Tang, Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco are coming thick and fast, and then out the blue; a brand new album from ChampagnePapi himself. Over airy trap flavoured Boi-1da beats Drake drops the sung hooks and goes straight to his Wu-Tang influences. It does not go well. For all the critique of his softer side, by mostly forgetting it here and turning to basic braggadocio he sacrifices one of his greatest assets; likeability. Without it he is just a drawling, off-beat egotist whose arrogance stretches miles further than his talent. This is a repetitious 17 track ode to himself and his bank account.

There are too many songs on this record, and far too many are pretty terrible; so let’s break down the first track. ‘Legend’ starts with a fairly atmospheric sample, but as soon as Drake comes in the song hits the bottom floor so fast; his new flow is appalling; too tone deaf to be considered singing but way to slow to be considered rapping – anybody could spit with as much charisma and dynamism as this, most people more so. There’s a moment where you get to hear Aubrey being really out of key before the pitch correction kicks in and snaps to each note which is quite delightful. Then there’s the major issue with the record whole; the lyrics, or lack thereof. Hip-hop is a wordy medium, so it’s impressive how little Drake says, and the laziness of how he says it. ‘Take Care’ suffered from what’s been a recurring weakness for him when rapping; when he runs out of things to say he boasts unimaginatively about his talents: this time that’s the whole album. Drake seems to confuse a hook with just repeating the first verse twice; and it was bad enough the first time.

‘Energy’ is supposedly a shot at his enemies but while Jay Z aired his public beef with Nas on ‘Takeover’, Drake doesn’t mention a single name

The album notably features the debut of his newly coined, self-proclaimed nickname; 6 God, it’s a reference to his home Toronto, and sounds just a little silly. The production is pretty sub-par too; there are some pretty cascades of hi-hats and a nice sample of Ginuwine’s ‘So Simple’, which is much appreciated as it gives us a glimpse of musicality through the turgid haze – but there’s also the sound of a chipmunk bouncing on a squeaky mattress somewhere in the mix.

And so it continues. ‘Energy’ is supposedly a shot at his enemies but while Jay Z aired his public beef with Nas on ‘Takeover’, Drake doesn’t mention a single name. He repeats ‘real enemies’ over and over again, which sort of sounds like… there aren’t any? Over a beat which starts with a horrible gunshot sample he finds the most dull ways to rap about a beef possible – in it he bemoans ‘bitches askin’ me about the code for the wi-fi’ and threatens to ‘call your ass an Uber.’ A gun perhaps? No, it’s a taxi company’s mobile app.

What does characterise the album, if anything, is a peculiar reliance on noises which sound like samples of PA systems

Drake comes off best on the two final tracks, with ‘You & The 6’ returning to his personal style and delivering a touching origin story about his mother and racial teasing he experienced as a child. ‘Jungle’ is fairly corny but at least attempts to paint a picture of his infatuation and longing for his girl, bemoaning the time she spends on her timeline that she’s not spending with him. It’s a nice end, but it’s a tad too little, too late.

As for production; it’s hard to talk about because it’s so flatline; just the same airy ASAP-aping tedium again and again; remixed occasionally for the pretence of diversity. At its best it provides a nice drum sequence to vibe to; but there’s little here. The most exciting moment comes on the bridge of ‘Company’, but that’s soon quashed by awful Travis Scott auto-tune. What does characterise the album, if anything, is a peculiar reliance on noises which sound like samples of PA systems, such as on ‘No Tellin’ or the weird airport muzak on ‘Madonna’.

on a record where he endlessly speaks about putting in work, the album comes over as nothing short of lazy

The ‘Madonna’ track is yet another example, in the ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ vein, of Drake lazily taking an attention grabbing title and arbitrarily using it as a simile in a tedious love song. At least he’s taken a break from his favourite hobby; saving strippers from themselves. ‘6 God’ and ‘6 Man’ make very clear, over tedious hi-hat rhythms, that he ‘doesn’t give a fuck’; and various alternations on the theme. Ultimately though, on a record where he endlessly speaks about putting in work, the album comes over as nothing short of lazy. Some have said this was a throwaway to end his Cash Money contract; but to charge £10.99 for a compilation of trashy outtakes in which he endlessly repeats how rich he is, is an insult to nobody but the fans. On this album Drizzy Fake doesn’t rap and he doesn’t sing, what comes out his mouth is both tedious and unlistenable, and if it really is just filler until the real thing, then the Recycle Bin is the home it deserves. If You’re Reading This and you haven’t heard this, it’s not Too Late; save yourself the bother.

2/10

Liam Inscoe – Jones

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6 Comments on this post.
  • Daddy Sauce
    22 February 2015 at 04:54
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    You must be a lame and a hater that mixtape was fire….

    Come to OvO Forums

  • Jking
    23 February 2015 at 02:02
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    this review was lazy, Drake is the greatest of his time and you’re just one of his haters. Step aside for the 6 GOD

  • JAZZ
    23 February 2015 at 11:42
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    Clearly you do not understand music…I was very very hard pressed to find bad reviews for this album and then came this one which is very few if any after you. I can get if you are not a Drake fan but i would like to know what is in your music catalog right now…you strike me as a Selena Gomez fan

  • eric
    24 February 2015 at 15:48
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    This is just a drake bashing. Drakes talent is unmatched. This is by far his best album lyrically and this is also the most creative hes been. This reviewer is just a drake-hater and his opinion is meaningless.

  • Anonymous
    25 February 2015 at 18:07
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    Excellent review, 8/8 x

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