I want to tag off of my classmate Jessica’s blog post regarding the recent Drake album.
Drake, almost completely unannounced, dropped a 17 track album Thursday night. Usually artists have months of promo leading up to the release of a new album. However, Drake, following Beyonce’s footsteps, did very little to promote his latest project, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
I agree with Jessica that only artists with large followings such as Beyonce and Drake can pull this off. Forbes reported that Drake is predicted to sell half a million copies of his new album in two days. That’s incredible and truly speaks to the fan base Drake has accumulated since he first broke into the hip-hop scene.
But there’s another element with IYRTITL besides the lack of hype leading up to its release. As many people know, Lil Wayne signed Drake to Young Money Records and helped bring him on board the parent label, Cash Money Records, with Wayne’s “father figure” at the time, Birdman. Recently though, Lil Wayne and Birdman have not been on good terms — to the point where the two parties are in court settling disputes. Lil Wayne has been very public in his desire to leave Cash Money records, and he wants to take the two most prominent artists he brought to the team with him in the likes of Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Right now it’s just speculation as to why Drake decided to release IYRTITL as an official album instead of a mixtape. Especially when it is known that his next official studio album, Views From the 6, is on its way. Drake was contractually obligated to release four official albums under Cash Money records. This would be the fourth. And with the current situation between Lil Wayne and Birdman, it looks like Drake is preparing for an exit with Lil Wayne. Even the album title, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, comes across as a jab at Birdman.
Whether the rumors about why Drake chose to release this project as an official album hold true or not, the world we live in today offers artists flexibility. Those who need free promotion can take to Twitter, Facebook and other social media to become noticed. Others, like Drake, can decide to make a mixtape project into an official album. A simple Tweet or Instagram post is all it takes to announce its presence to the whole world. Record labels do not have the power to strong-hold artists in the same way they used to. If this were 20 years ago, Drake would have to figure out another way to get out of his contract. But for now it looks like we can sit back and enjoy IYRTITL and wait for him to give us Views From the 6 on his own.