Drake surprised fans twice this past week. The first time was on Thursday, Feb. 12, when he released “Jungle,” a nearly 15-minute short film. The next surprise was on Friday, Feb. 13, when he unexpectedly dropped a mixtape/album titled “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.”
“Jungle” opens with Drake escaping from screaming fans and flashing cameras into a slick, black car. “How was your night?” asks his chauffeur, as he slides into the backseat. “It was alright,” Drake sighs looking not-so-alright. “Sh*t’s crazy man. The whole energy out here’s changing, you know? It’s getting dark, man, quick,” he broods. “I just gotta come home.”
The film follows Drake back to his hometown of Toronto, where he roams the streets and reunites with old friends. The overall mood of the film is dark and pensive. The dialog is sparse. The music is sparse. The majority of the shots feature little light. We do, however, get to see some footage of Drake as a kid rapping along to the Fugees’ “Ready or Not.” “Jungle” ends with a dream sequence, in which we see Drake walking through a party bathed in red light, gazing at people who are frozen still as he walks by them. We then find Drake on a roof with a girl, walking slowly through a swirling cloud of dust. His friend then raps on his car window and Drake wakes up.
“Jungle” may have served as a way for Drake to express himself and get a few things off his chest, but it also featured a few snippets of new music. Fans wanting to hear more of that new material didn’t have to wait long.
The day after “Jungle” was released, Drake’s new album/mixtape titled “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” was released online. Whether “If You’re Reading This” is a mixtape or album remains unclear as the lines between the two types of releases continue to blur. Drake called his release a mixtape and it was presented as such, but it is available for purchase on iTunes, something more typical of a studio album.
Rumors have been circulating that Drake may have released the tape in this way in order to complete his contractual obligations with Cash Money Records, although Drake has said nothing on the matter. It is confirmed, however, that Lil Wayne is suing the label for $51 million and freedom from his contract.
If Drake’s latest release really is just a mixtape, it is being received exceptionally well. Its currently the top-selling album on iTunes and is expected to reach number one on the Billboard200.
Still, the fact remains that “If You’re Reading This” comes as something of a precursor to Drake’s next official studio album, titled “Views From the 6,” the release date of which is still unknown. If “If You’re Reading This” says anything about Drake’s next album, the music world and the charts had better look out.