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scene

If You’re Reading This It’s About Drake

| Monday, February 23, 2015

drake-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara

Drake’s unanticipated “mixtape,” “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” elicited a wide range of opinions, including comments such as, “More fuego than an everything bagel,” to “This album should have been called if you’re reading this it’s too late to get your money back.”

The Toronto native has notable leverage in what he creates and how it is received by its audience. Once upbeat hits such as “The Motto” and “HYFR” took storm, Drake had established a notoriety that allowed him to simultaneously take a step back in effort and a step forward in sales. “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” is the perfect example of this scenario.

This mixtape serves as a preface to “Views From the 6,” an album expected to be released in 2015. The essence of this layout is similar to artists such as Travi$ Scott (featured in Drake’s track “Company”), who released his mixtape “Days Before Rodeo” in August of 2014 to preview his March 2015 release of the album “Rodeo.” While the preview is commendable, it is slightly exhausting when the starter kit includes 17 tracks with little variance.

Drake’s starting track “Legend” highlights the primary struggle with enjoying this album. Drake uses the age of narcissism as a tool to create songs that people will plug into, consequently furthering the hubris of top-tier status Drake claims to bask in.

Continuing to ride this elitist vibe, we move on to the second track, titled “Energy.” The track proves slightly more captivating with a more progressive and developing instrumentation. The quicker pace, fitting to the title, is reminiscent of tracks such as “Started from the Bottom,” that coddled Drake’s earlier success.

Amongst the first four tracks of this album, there is hardly a noticeable change in style or strategy. This makes for a redundancy that is seen on multiple fronts throughout “IYRTITL.”

Then come the “6” tracks. “6 God” blatantly reiterates the idea behind Drake’s development into a legend. Of all of the tracks making Toronto a focal point, “6 God” certainly proves to be the most disappointing. The lyrical repetition is overwhelming. Words are used to fill space rather than make a statement. “I’m about to say a true thing/I’m about to say a true thing” is a section of this song that proves both points in three seconds. Drake, please just say the true thing.

“6 Man” is a drastic improvement from “6 God.” With a muted and milky build-up to Drake’s varying inflection, this is arguably the best track on the entire compilation. Neither word nor backbeat dominates, making for a harmonious and pleasant surprise.

Not shockingly, Drake’s softer side rarely shows face throughout the mixtape. While rare, the vulnerability does appear in tracks such as “Wednesday Night Interlude” (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR) and “Company” (feat. Travi$ Scott.) Both of the tracks unveiling the sensual and lighter side of Drake that he is constantly meme’d for. While Drake commonly uses misogynistic and sexualized portrayals of his intentions with women, it is rather diluted in both of the aforementioned tracks, and even contrasted by Travi$ Scott’s sexual agenda on his feature.

The ending track, “6PM in New York,” identifies and reaffirms the tool that Drake has been manipulating so well — narcissism. “I know rappers that call Paparazzi to come and get ‘em / To show they outfits off, guess they need the attention / I remember when it used to be music that did it / But then again times have changed, man, who are we kiddin’?”

Drake’s commentary reveals the truth behind music’s development towards a multi-faceted or alternative route to success. While these lyrics resonated with me more than most of the mixtape, Drake’s comments seem to transcend into his success with “IYRTITL” — if it were still about the music, its success would have likely been less than record-breaking.

Overall, Drake’s new work seems to be a more aggressive attempt at redefining his position in hip-hop’s hierarchy. It was a good effort with a few standout tracks, but it did not culminate in a great work as a whole.

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About Meghan Cleary

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  • Ghost-Unholy

    ‘but it did not culminate in a great work as a whole’ yeah I’d go with that, but your assuming that Drake meant it to be ‘a great work’ in the first place. None of us can know what he wanted it to be, but he specifically calls this work a ‘tape’/mixtape (on 6PM in New York). So, for a mix-tape to do what IYRTITL has done can’t it then arguably be ‘a great work’?

    • MCleary

      Ghost-Unholy,

      If he is specifically calling his work a mixtape, such as on 6PM in New York, it seems that he is doing exactly what I mentioned in the very beginning. Stepping back on the effort (but is, in a widespread sense, not being received that way). Although this was released through Cash Money Records, he is trying to give his work more independent credit than it may deserve. However, I will admit I am biased in trying to interpret Drake because I’m by no means a super-fan. Evolutionarily in an artist’s work, this is definitely atypical and therefore just strange to me. I suppose that does not mean it is not a great work. In my eyes, however, it does mean just that.

      Meghan

      • Ghost-Unholy

        ‘he is trying to give his work more independent credit than it may deserve’, allow me to argue on this. The fact that it was released through Cash Money Records in my opinion is the only non-independent aspect of this tape/album. IYRTITL undoubtedly stands out as one of Drake’s most distinct works be it lyrically, stylistically, structurally and of course musically. Note I’m using ‘distinct’ as a more objective valuation of the album, as I’m trying to provide a criteria that non-Drake fans can judge it by i.e distinctiveness compared to previous works. The fact that to many listeners IYRTITL does not resonate as a ‘typical’ Drake album speaks volumes on it’s protrusion from Drake’s catalogue; and therefore in my view, deserves all the independent credit given.

  • iedit247

    I suggest the writer to not listen to this album for a good week & then listening to it again in its entirety. I’m pretty sure you will reassess your critique. It is not a one listen project…I’ve found myself enjoying it more and more upon each play. Discovering nuances, production details and hidden melodies within that are rarely found in other rap albums let alone mixtapes. Perhaps you’ve erred in not giving this a real aural evaluation.