Is Drake’s Surprise Album Part Of A Clever Exit Plan? ‘Priming To Be Best Rapper Of 2015’

At 11 p.m. on Thursday, Drake fans jumped online to download his latest album, If You’re Reading This Its Too Late. The Toronto-born rapper used the “element of surprise” to get fans excited as opposed to dragging out the lead up to a release date.

There were hints given, however, throughout the course of the week via a short film and tweets alluding to song names to expect. What was finally offered on Thursday night is a full-length album, and with his last full album dropping 17 months ago, fans were clearly scrambling to get to the new music.

Drake isn’t everyone’s favorite rapper, but the kid is clever and he’s been known as the “have his cake and eat it too” type in more ways than one. The 28-year-old can throw down heavy rhymes and then turn up the charm with his quality singing bits that he throws in intermittently throughout his albums.

Drake knows how to get to his fans, and this album is just another example of pulling double duty. He’s not only put out a surprise effort of one track to give music lovers a taste of his new stuff, he’s released an entire album in this way. It cuts out the promotions and gets right to his followers, which fans eat up.

The Toronto Star makes note of the true irony of this surprise Bey-esque release.

“‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ boasts no singles, scarce hooks, barely any guests and a profoundly misanthropic temperament, and yet it will undoubtedly shift virtual bucketloads of downloads in the days ahead because even the people who profess not to like Drake will be desperate to know what Drake is up to these days.”

Seeing as the native rapper from “The Six” does seem to always have a method behind his madness, speculations have begun to swirl as to whether or not there is more to this release.

As the Globe And Mail states, “[I]t’s rumoured that this may fulfill Drake’s contractual obligation to his label Cash Money Records, which is reported to be for four albums (he has already recorded three).”

In addition, Drake’s mentor, Lil’ Wayne, is in the middle of an “acrimonious split” from Cash Money and the co-founder of the label, Bryan Williams aka Birdman. Drake and Wayne go hand-in-hand, and if the “How to Love” rapper fully parts ways with the label, Drake and Nicki Minaj are slated to join him.

Drake and his Cash Money crew, Minaj and Lil' Wayne; image via S2S Magazine

By Drake getting this album out quickly and still maintaining quality, the rapper once again reaps all the benefits by making sales and fulfilling the contract to the label, making the “Wayne-led exit strategy” a whole lot easier and smoother.

As for the album, like others before it, it’s getting mixed reviews. Josh O’Kane shares his notes on Drake’s latest.

“Drake spends the record swerving between requisite posturing and his special blend of sensitivity. Right out of the gate with ‘Legend’ he makes his case as an unstoppable force in rap: ‘6 God, the holy one.’ But throughout the record, he’s reflecting on the struggle of an artist who has everything but time to give the people he loves. By the time he gets to ‘You & the 6,’ he’s making apologies to his mother for his absence and love life.”

Now where have we heard these themes weave their way into music before? Oh right, in pretty much every other Drake album. He certainly knows how to get creative with his messages, all the same.

Check out Drake’s short film, “Jungle.”

[Feature image via]