If You're Reading This It's Too Late is the fourth mixtape by Canadian recording artist Drake. We get a spectral late-night longing not unlike that of So Far Gone touchstones Lust for Life and Successful. The pre-fame queasiness of early Drake is now the loneliness of a distrustful despot. On 10 Bands he's holed up in a home studio for weeks pushing himself to create ("Drapes closed, I don't know what time it is / I'm still awake, I gotta shine this year"). Know Yourself celebrates the thrill of mobbing through a city that's his for the taking, but even in joy there's a note of tension and the ever-present possibility of actual danger. ("I ain't rock my jewelry, and that's on purpose/ Niggas want my spot and don't deserve it.") Success creates as many problems as it solves. Music is the real joy for Drake, and If You're Reading This It's Too Late is best enjoyed as an exercise in the casual excellence of the artist as rhymer and purveyor of hooks. The vocals are often just vampy flow experiments, but at their best these verses exhibit the weightless exhilaration of a technician at work.
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