Review #367: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake

Karla Clifton
3 min readApr 1, 2023

#367: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake

I’ve said it before: You couldn’t escape Drake when I was in college. For example: My roommate was in a sorority, and during Rush Week they made t-shirts that read If You’re Reading This Rush DG, in that hilarious font. No offense, but Drake’s handwriting is terrible.

Drake is dogged by a silly reputation, from the Drake Curse to the “Needy Boyfriend” allegations. In a lot of ways, this record hits back at that rep, mixing Drake’s best rap rhymes with his signature woozy beats.

But first, let’s explore whether or not this belongs on RS’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time at all. Because this is actually NOT an album, but a mixtape. What’s the difference between the two, you ask? Great freaking question. It seems to boil down to how involved a label is in the release’s production, and Drake was apparently having some issues with label Cash Money at the time. Allegedly, he dropped this as a surprise to fulfill his contractual obligations to the label (see “Now & Forever”). However, Drake ultimately stayed with Cash Money and released more albums with them — though it did culminate in a lawsuit.

What the hell — we’ll let it slide, because there was so much noise around this release. He also got in some hot water for using fellow rapper Quentin Miller as a “ghostwriter” for songs like “10 Bands” and “Know Yourself.” Miller quibbled with the term “ghostwriter,” and has been vocal about how the controversy harmed his career. Honestly, I feel for both of them — however, I did think that it made the Eazy E sample on “Energy” even funnier.

Anyway. Like RS suggests, this is the most swagger Drake’s ever had. I loved “Legend,” a self-confidence anthem that sets the tone for the whole record. Grandiose claims of greatness continue on “No Tellin’,” where he contemplates his future. Want a lot, will I get it all? Ain’t no tellin’. I’m no great Drake fan, but I want to go back to 2015 and tell him that he’s gonna break a Beatles record.

As forward-thinking as he is, Drake spends just as much time rapping about his childhood in Toronto. He calls it “the 6”—so NO, Drake isn’t being demonic. Neither “6 God” or “6 Man” are homages to the devil. (Though the latter is an homage to 2018’s 6th Man of the Year.) Neither is “Star 67” or “6PM In New York.” And “You & The 6” is about how his mother (and hometown) shaped him. That’s as anti-Satanic as it gets.

I have nothing against Drake the Softie Pop Star, but I love hearing him switch lanes. His features are even kinda badass — he features younger artist PARTYNEXTDOOR on “Preach” and even lets him have a spotlight on “Wednesday Night Interlude.” “Used To” with Lil Wayne is actually lifted straight from a Weezy album. And “Company” made me want to listen to more Travis Scott — the whole song gets eviller as soon as he makes his entrance. (But I gotta say, I groaned every time he described himself as a dog in heat. Travis, only female dogs go into heat!)

This may be Drake’s hardcore, jaw-clenching, street-rap-rhyme album, but he can’t help himself from having a few moments of tenderness. The most tender being “Jungle,” a love song that’s genuinely sweet, even after all the rapping he did about banging random chicks. Drake: living proof that a man can contain multitudes.

Least Favorite Song: “Madonna,” which is all about how him taking advantage of a girl and promising her stardom via his boner. Gross.

Review #366: Rocks, Aerosmith

Review #368: All Things Must Pass, George Harrison