Drake – “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” review

Drake is a 33 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, actor & entrepreneur who blew up in 2009 with his breakout mixtape So Far Gone. The success of this groundbreaking project resulted in a contract with both Young Money Entertainment & Cash Money Records, who put out the man’s full-length debut Thank Me Later the following year. His sophomore effort Take Care the year after would be even better & I enjoyed Nothing Was the Same too but after If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late & then What a Time to Be Alive with Future (both of which came out in 2015), that’s when the quality in Drake’s music really began to take a nosedive. VIEWS was a terrible foray into dancehall, More Life was mediocre despite being stylistically eclectic & then his Young Money/Cash Money swan song Scorpion was a disappointingly failed attempt at making a double disc album showcasing the hip hop & R&B sides of his music respectively. He managed to put out a decent collection of loosies last summer called Care Package & with his 6th full-length album coming this summer, we’re getting a prelude mixtape outta nowhere.

Things start off with “Deep Pockets”, where Drake talks about how his crew is rollin’ now over a trippy instrumental from 40 & Plain Pat. The next song “When to Say When” charismatically brags over a Bobby Glenn sample while the “Chicago Freestyle” asks a woman to meet him by The Bean over an ethereal beat. The track “Not You Too” with Chris Brown talks about being backstabbed over a cavernous instrumental that later switches into something more synth-heavy about halfway through while the song “Toosie Slide” is a trite & annoying TikTok anthem. The track “Desires” with Future sees the 2 talking about women over a generically cloudy beat & even though the lyrics on “Time Flies” don’t sit well with me personally, the instrumental is just impeccably alluring.

The track “Landed” finds Drizzy flexing as Cardo backs him up with what could possibly be my favorite instrumental on the entire project while the song “D4L” with Future & Young Thug is pretty much a dedication to all 3 of the artists’ respectively self-owned record labels OVO Sound, Freebandz Entertainment & YSL Records backed with an aggressive Southside beat. The track “Pain 1993” with Playboi Carti sees the 2 getting materialistic over some signature Pi’erre Bourne production while the song “Losses” talks about losing this woman to the game over a more smooth instrumental. The track “From Florida with Love” asks this chick if she really has love for him over an intoxicating beat while the song “Demons” gets with Fivio Foreign & Sosa Geek for some surface level shit-talking, but I love the angelic vocals in the background. The closer “War” then goes full-on UK Drill & it’s just unbelievably awful.

Pretty boring overall & that really shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point. Granted it’s a lot shorter than More Life & Scorpion as it only runs at 50 minutes but the instrumentals are mediocre, the songwriting is & the guest are either hit or miss. The album can’t be worse though.

Score: 2/5

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