“I’ll never do a straight rap album,” Drake told MTV back in 2013. He said nothing about a mixtape.
Drake has always made Drake Music, a mixture of rapping and singing that completely shifted the kind of music that was acceptable for rappers to make. But after listening to Drake’s surprise new mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late you’ll notice this isn’t Drake Music in its most common form. Drake dropped Too Late the day before Valentine’s Day without a single love song, and it seems like that wasn’t an oversight. This is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a straight rap album from Drake, and the wait was worth it.
THIS IS DRAKE’S FIRST MIXTAPE IN SIX YEARS
Too Late is Drakes first mixtape since So Far Gone — still widely considered his best project — was released six years ago to the day. It’s what we’ve come to expect from a Drake album — a dark, moody, honest, retrospective, and emotionally vulnerable collection of 17 carefully crafted songs, largely produced by Drake’s best friend and longtime producer 40, and fellow Toronto-native Boi-1da.
Too Late opens with a sample of Ginuwine’s “So Anxious” on “Legend” one of the most upbeat songs on the album. Produced by OVO artist Partynextdoor (who performs on the excellent track “Preach”), “Legend” is a classic Drake beat with classic Drake rhymes filled with braggadocio, and it works well. But after “Legend” you realize the essence of Too Late is very somber and introspective, arguably the darkest collection of music Drake has put out.