This is a review of Drake’s decade old So Far Gone which was recently released on streaming platforms to celebrate its anniversary.
Not every rapper gets to celebrate their anniversary. If they did, then we’d be listening to “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” in 2017 instead of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran (love you Ed). Instead, we get to listen to Drake’s 2009 mixtape So Far Gone in 2019 because he decided to release on streaming platforms and in the process, the sly motherfucker tied Future for the most #1s on the R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart in this decade… because of course that 10-year-old mixtape would hit the top. Of course it would. I mean, he’s Drake. He could sell blank CDs and still break records. Why though? How has Drake managed to match this record without even releasing new music? Do people love Drake that much to just stream an 10 year old mixtape to the top? There are older artists with arguably better mixtapes/ older projects and I guarantee we would not see their shit hit #1 if they tweeted “Hey go listen to my old stuff, you fake fans”. I think the answer lies in him already mega-successful (sorry, conscious/lyrical rapper fans!) so he can do what do he wants. To me, that’s what makes the mixtape a sweet-listening victory to many in 2019.
“I’m tryna do it all tonight, I got plans.” – “Lust for Life”
Drake and his fans probably feel super fulfilled listening back to lyrics like this. He says he got plans and unless you are 12, we’ve seen it all play out over the years. It’s especially funny when you remember lyrics like this that he used to spit back when everyone hated him. “Last name: Greatest, first name: Ever” was the dumbest shit you could ever hear from Drake on that Forever song. Especially when he was on a track with Kanye, Eminem and Lil Wayne. All artists with G.O.A.T status and albums to prove it and yet, at the time he spit that line, he hadn’t even released one. These days you could argue that Drake has G.O.A.T status. Right now, he is beefing with Kanye; did some weird favour for Eminem to be in his good books (according to Eminem at least) and on par with Lil Wayne. Put those pitchforks DOWN lyrical rapper fans, they are at least as big as each other. Those lines now though have a profound effect, like this one he spit on “Lust for Life”:
“The game got these old handprints on it
But I’ma be the one to pour cement on it
Uh, and start over.”
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, he was 2018’s best selling singer. Corny singing and rapping takes you far!
“Let’s Call It Off” is a real song. Listen to the entire If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape album then come back and listen to “Let’s Call It Off”.
It’s funny because as corny as it sounds like, it’s the same sound he used to develop songs like “Shot For Me”, “Marvin’s Room”, “Teenage Fever” and more. All songs that have the same feeling, but the visions are (thankfully) better executed so he doesn’t sound like a typical 2000’s indie pop rock singer. Which isn’t great if you are trying to be a rapper. These days though…. “Lucid Dreams” by Juice WRLD exists so I don’t even know what is going on with rap. Blame Drake, Kanye and “808’s and Heartbreak”.
Finally, I recommend listening to these songs if you are a Drake fan:
“Say What’s Real”
“Best I Ever Had” (don’t be around me if this song ever plays in public)
“Congratulations” (pre Posty with a funny sample and all the autotune)
With these songs, you get a good summary of the best of his early work. But before I go, I’ll leave you with this quote from The Calm to sum up this article.
“Leader of the new school, it’s proven and it’s known.”