Drake Releases Surprise Album - Hints On Cash MoneyExit

Rap superstar Drake surprised everyone Friday, 13th February with the sudden, unexpected release of a new project. The 17-song record, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, came out just hours after the rapper released a long-form music video called Jungle.

Always one for grand statements, Drake saw his surprise new mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” explodes onto the top of the U.S. album chart, selling 535,000 units and finally dethroning Taylor Swift’s monster hit, “1989,” which had spent 11 non-consecutive weeks at the No. 1 spot.

Label squabbles aside, Drake’s latest has already made headlines for other reasons, chiefly its big week on Spotify. According to Billboard, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” has achieved the highest number of streams for a debut week in Spotify history (17.3 million streams in three days), beating out Drake’s own “Nothing Was the Same,” which previously held that record with 15.8 million streams.
In addition to Drake’s huge week, a second release entered this week’s chart with, ahem, a bang: the soundtrack to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which moved 258,000 units following the film’s complete domination of Valentine’s Day weekend (raking in $94.4 million). The album features sensual tunes from Beyonce, Ellie Goulding and Sia, among others.
So where does that leave Ms. Swift? The reign of “1989” may be coming to an end, with the album slipping to the chart’s fifth spot this week, moving 125,000 units, a 16% change from last week, when Swift was still No. 1. This lapse coincides with the lukewarm reception for Swift’s latest music video, “Style,” which some found to be “very boring.”

The album follows on the heels of recent similar little-or-no-notice projects  by D’Angelo, J. Cole, and, of course, Beyonce. While D’Angelo’s Black Messiah and Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive both sold well and were critically acclaimed, Drake’s album, in terms of sheer numbers, is closest to Queen Bey. The Beyhive snatched up 80 thousand copies of her 2013 self-titled record in the first three hours, on the way to sales of over 600,000 in the first few days. It was platinum by week three,  and has now sold over five million worldwide.
Drake’s record is starting out almost as strong. It looks like his first-three-day sales total will be around 500,000 - maybe not Nothing Was the Same, which had a more traditional (and, by extension, expensive) roll-out, had
first-week sales of 658,000. If Drizzy ends up anywhere close to that after week one, the current trend of sudden superstar albums is likely to continue for a while to come.
Bey’s 617,000, but within shouting distance. For comparison, the rapper’s last album, 
The mystery surrounding this album is intense, and has almost overshadowed the music. There have been months of rumors about Drake releasing a mixtape. Simultaneously, he has been talking of an upcoming album since this past summer; one he claimed would be called Views From the 6. As of yet, he hasn’t said whether this is meant to replace one of those projects, or is in addition to it. However, he does call it a “tape” in the project’s handwritten thank you’s.
The somewhat sparse nature of the record has led to speculation that it was released as a contractual obligation, because he wants to get off of Cash Money Records. There is a certain plausibility to this theory, since the label’s flagship artist Lil Wayne is currently suing them, and Nicki Minaj reportedly turned away label co-founder Birdman from her recent Grammy party. Wayne has been very public about wanting to takeMinaj and Drake with him when he leaves Cash Money.
It is not known how many albums Drake owes the label, but it is public knowledge that Wayne had a four-album deal. This release would, not surprisingly, be Drizzy’s fourth, something that has not gone unnoticed. In addition, there was a fair amount of confusion around the record’s release. All of If You’re Reading This… was briefly available for free on Soundcloud right after going up on iTunes, then taken down.
There is one final clue as to Drake’s state of mind. Notably, the thank-you’s for the album, which go as far as to mention “Amanda who took me to that poetry reading in Baltimore” and “the entire Raptors organization,” have no mention of Birdman or Cash Money.

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