The Boy wears many hats: he can host a sports-related award show with ease, poke fun at himself on Saturday Night Live, patiently croon "I need some company" to an ex-lover, and dispense Kennedy Station lingo like he still rides the TTC.
Indeed, his 17-track surprise release, titled If You're Reading This It's Too Late, exemplifies Drake's versatility more than ever. Between egotistic outbursts similar to those that supercharged his notable 2014 SoundCloud releases like "0 to 100" and "Trophies," this project focuses on the friction caused by a glittery lifestyle, while Drake navigates cultural lane changes and personal gear shifts. And much to the chagrin of his detractors, Drizzy again wears these realities on his sleeve, which paradoxically is his greatest asset.
If You're Reading This It's Too Late is filled with Drake's present anxieties and self-reflective revelations, Toronto-area odes, admissions he "thinks about money and women like 24/7," and subtweet-like shots at both rappers and label Cash Money Records, for whom it's rumoured this will be his last album. The production revels in the hazy drone of the "Toronto Sound" that OVO's 40 and Boi-1da helped define, with offerings from up-and-comers like Brampton's Wondagurl and PRIME's Eric Dingus rounding it out. Mississauga's PARTYNEXTDOOR gets the biggest assist, forcefully commanding the hook on "Preach," expertly soloing through "Wednesday Night Interlude," punctuating the project.
This is a looser, freer Drake. Between only a couple hiccups, If You're Reading This It's Too Late weaves personal raps, 6-side boosts and absorbing production in cohesive fashion. It's an engaging preview of the upcoming Views from the 6. (Cash Money)