Almost nine months after the release of Care Package, Drake surprised fans with another collection of tracks from his extensive vault of unreleased music.
He made it clear that this mixtape is just a warmup (and a lockdown treat) before the release of his sixth studio album, which is set to be released this summer.
It’s clear that Drake has every right to sit back and focus on his next album, which is sure to be filled with timeless hits and nothing less for the most prominent artist in the world, but it is also clear now that Drake is not the artist to take such breaks.
Over a decade into his career and a record-breaking number of records in the top 100 Billboard charts, 208 entries and counting, he still has the time to showcase ‘mixtape Drake’.
He took to Instagram a few hours before the mixtape dropped and explained, “My brothers put together a lot of the songs people have been asking for (some leaks and some joints from SoundCloud and some new vibes)”.
The mixtape allows him to experiment with what he releases, removing the expectations that usually come with a Drake album, releasing tracks that may have not worked a decade ago, which is displayed in the first track “Deep Pockets“, instantly giving the same vibes as the 2011 album Take Care.
The track sounds like a throwback with a background sample, which he’s known to do. It doe not have the same aura as as known hits, such as Tuscan Leather, but it is a gateway for the rest of the mixtape.
One of the standout tracks on the mixtape is the most anticipated “Pain 1993” – due to it being leaked prior to its release and available in low-quality snippets for months, fans were yearning for its release. Playboi Carti’s go to producer Pi’erre Bourne offers a slick metal-like beat to the track, giving Drake the opportunity to rap fewer words.
It also showcases a different, higher pitch tone that we are not used to hearing from Playboi Carti, which saw many fans take to twitter to voice their mixed opinions on this. Drake and Carti blend their two different styles while still bouncing off each other, creating a distinct sound, but not unheard of.
Drake seems to create timeless tracks when he collaborates with Atlanta’s king; Future. The sensual track “Desires” that dropped earlier this year produced by D. Hill, was a release that followed the pair’s previous track “Life Is Good”.
The track finds both rappers doing what they do best, delivering bars about relationships on sparse beats and samples of an interweave. The pair are no strangers to sharing a studio, adding to their extensive collaborative track list.
Future also appears on a different track on the album, “D4L”, which also deploys the renowned Young Thug. Thugger and Future, two stylish supervillains, give Drake the opportunity to showcase some of his best rapping talents on the mixtape.
Tracks on the mixtape such as “Toosie Slide”, and features with the likes of Fivio Foreign and London drill producer Axl Beats, who produced “War”, proposes the debate once again, is Drake a culture vulture or well-intentioned rapper keeping himself relevant?
Whatever you may think, it is working for him immensely. His risks with trying drill mostly works, and recognising his artistry compliments both his emotional and eccentric styles.
Drake’s Dark Lanes Demo Tapes is out now, download it from your favourite store here and stream it on Spotify below.
Words by Hiba Hassan