Has it really been 7 years?
When did I become a Drake fan? I remember being in high school, sitting in class, and 2 of my friends were sitting at the table with me. They kept mentioning this guy named Drake, “Drake this, Drake that”, so I asked my friend “Who is Drake?”. She said “Oh he’s this rapper from Canada, he was on Degrassi”. I had never seen the show so I still had no clue who he was. So, I asked what a good song of his would be for me to listen to. She told me to listen to a song called “Sooner Than Later”. I got home after school, got on YouTube, searched this song and instantly became a Drake fan. After that, I discovered his mixtape “So Far Gone”, and the rest is history.
When Drake became hot, he was actually on fire, untouchable, unstoppable. But I won’t go that far today. I’m going to talk about the mixtape that led everyone down the road of Drake fandom, the mixtape that everyone was listening to and talking about. I had to go to Dallas that summer of 2009 for a trip and I remember being on the bus with other teens and one of the guys was reciting the words to “Best I Ever Had” to this girl as she was putting on makeup. I swear “Best I Ever Had” was the anthem on that trip because I can still remember people dancing to that song… it’s just etched in my memory for some reason. I’m ranting about nothing right now, off topic.
I got a certain lust for life and as it stands, everything is going as right as it can, they tryna shoot down my flight before it lands. As soon as this song begins, it’s like I’m hit with all this nostalgia but I also can’t get over how different he sounds. Drake sets the mixtape off with the song “Lust For Life”. This mixtape is basically pre-fame Drake because what he’s rapping about on this song, this whole mixtape for that matter, are things he would never rap about now. On “Lust For Life”, he’s talking about women of course but he’s also foreshadowing what’s to come, like he knows his career is about to take off and he’s just anticipating all that’s going to come with it.
Now I am going to be honest, “Houstatlantavegas” was never a favorite of mine, I would skip it basically every time it would come on. It was just kind of weird to me, but 2009 Drake was weird so whatever. Now on to the song that was constantly being played on the radio, every hour on the hour, “Successful”. Featuring Trey Songz, “Successful” was one of the radio standouts featured on this mixtape. The song is what it is because of Trey, let’s be honest. Trey Songz in 2009 was major so everything he touched was going to be a hit and also be overplayed on the radio. It’s so strange to hear Drake rapping like this, it’s funny the difference 7 years can make. Skip one. The song that Houstonians still listen to from time to time to this day, “November 18th”. A tribute to DJ Screw, sampling Screw’s Houston anthem “June 27th”, I would say Drake did a good job showing love to Houston and the sound that DJ Screw built. Look I’m the property of October, I ain’t drive here I got chauffered. Okay Drake, a bar lol. “Ignant Shit” was just that, featuring Young Money CEO Lil Wayne, Drake and Wayne intended for this song to be as it is titled… basically a song about stunting. Both rappers went bar for bar on this one, Drake competing for his spot, while Wayne isn’t holding back, letting him know he still has the crown. I took a night off for youuu. Drake proves on “A Night Off” that he too, could be an R&B singer if he wanted to (I’m reaching a little but you get it). “A Night Off” features Lloyd and he carries the second verse, makes the songs that much better. It’s a very slow song but a great late night song nonetheless. Next, over the Kanye West beat, “Say What’s Real” has Drake, again, letting the people around him know that things will never be the same once he hits it big and he knows it’s just right around the corner. He also talks about how he lost his phone in Cabo with some of his “hottest verses” on it… I wonder if he ever got that phone back? Doubt it.
Baby you my er’ything, you all I ever wanted we can do it real big. The hottest song of the summer and Drake’s breakout single, “Best I Ever Had”. This song was played so much back then that it’s almost impossible to listen to now but in terms of a first single for a new artist, it doesn’t get much better than this song. With “Best I Ever Had”, Drake became a household name and it was only his first single… if only we knew back then what was to come. Skip two. Possibly still one of Drake’s all time best songs, “Sooner than Later” is still a song I could listen to on repeat if I had to. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it. Drake’s singing, lyrics, and the piano, really fitting for the mixtape and for early Drake. This song was perfect in more ways than one, a Drake classic. On to another Drake classic, “Bria’s Interlude” featuring Omarion. This song easily had the best sample on the mixtape, no question. “Bria’s” samples the Missy Elliott featuring Ginuwine song, “Friendly Skies” to perfection. Awesome tribute to that early Missy Elliott. Now for the last song I’m going to review, “Brand New”, which is one of the, if not the last song on the mixtape. Drake is staying true to his vocals, questioning his girl if anything he’s doing is brand new to her. He realizes the hardships in dating a girl who has seen and heard it all before. Another Drake classic, of course.
Reviewing this mixtape was interesting because the artist we know as Drake, has completely changed over his 7 year world domination tour. No one has had a hotter streak of music and success than Aubrey Drake Graham. Listening to his old music versus the new music, it’s very obvious that his life has taken a complete 180 and I think at times, it has been difficult for him to adjust. I wonder if he saw this coming… if he knew all along he would be a mega star? His music has evolved in ways that people are somewhat being turned off by but no one can deny his success, he has ruled the industry for the past 7 years and it seems like there’s no chance of him stopping. I am a fan of Drake and probably always will be, but when you go back and listen to “Brand New”, “Sooner than Later”, “A Night Off”… endless songs, you can’t help but kinda wish he would go back to making music like that. But overall, his music is good and evolution is good.
After 7 years, do I still enjoy this mixtape? Very much so. This mixtape made Drake who he is today, this tape can never be forgotten.