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Album Review: Dark Lane Demo Tapes by Drake

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Drake is a Canadian singer/rapper and songwriter from Toronto. While first starting his career as an actor, he quickly switched to music from the success of Degrassi. Dark Lane Demo Tapes marks his latest mixtape, which is a surprise since it has been almost two years since the release of Scorpion. However, Drake reassured his fans that he would release his sixth studio album this summer.

The first track off the mixtape is Deep Pockets. There is a lo-fi type beat going on that you would probably hear on one of those "Lo-Fi Study Beats" channels on YouTube. This was actually a throwaway from Scorpion and I am kind of disappointed they didn't use this track. Drake knows how to capture the attention of his fans, and this would definitely be a great opener for his last studio album.

After that, we come to When To Say When. After the short intro, we see that we are getting more of rap Drake. Through the entire track, you have a sample from the track Sounds Like a Love Song. You also have a bass note that is threaded throughout. Drake talks about how he dedicates his life to the career of a singer/rapper and the fame he has gathered from acting and his music.

Chicago Freestyle comes about his freestyle for every city that he has visited. On the chorus, Giveon makes some references about Chicago, such as the bean and being known as the windy city. On Drake's pre-chorus, he interpolates Superman from Eminem.

Not You Too brings us back to singing and "in your feelings" Drake. It also features an old face from R&B, Chris Brown. Not really huge on Chris Brown, but he's mostly in the background with Drake on the chorus. Their voices do mesh well together though and I have to give them credit on that. I do enjoy how they were able to slow it down on the mixtape.

I'll probably get some backlash from this, but I actually enjoy Toosie Slide. While it did chart pretty high, it did come with some backlash. There's no denying that Drake's singing is catchy and entrancing. Drake also said that this was originally made for the moonwalk, which is why he references Michael Jackson.

Desires brings us another collaboration with Future. This is another track that features Drake's singing and rapping side. On this track, Drake said that he should have put this girl away from all the temptations that come with a large city. He said that this girl has desires and he assumes that the temptations would be too much for her.

Next, we come to Time Flies. The beat is pretty simple, you have a quiet, high pitched synth in the background with the drumbeat. Drake seems to give off a monotone rapping voice for the first half of it which doesn't make it that interesting. The chopped out ending doesn't really add much to the track, it honestly just draws it out. On this track, he talks about getting back with this girl that he used to have a relationship with and asking if she still remembers those times.

Landed is a trap-filled track and is one of the shorter tracks off the mixtape. I honestly love Drake's flow on this track and it's pretty catchy. I can't think of the rapper right now, but he's definitely had some inspiration from other artists by his flow. I do wish Drake would have rapped a little bit more instead of the 15 second fade off at the end.

From the beginning of D4L, you know it's going to go hard. The title of the track pays homage to the Atlanta hip hop group, D4L. It's a trap-inspired beat that is supposed to replicate the Atlanta hip hop scene. The only thing that is cheesy and is kind of cringy are the adlibs from Future and Young Thug. I can honestly say I wasn't surprised to hear that though.

Pain 1993 is the Playboi Carti feature that many people were looking forward to. The beat is pretty simple and similar to the other synth/drumbeat tracks. Honestly, as much as I liked Die Lit, this wasn't a good verse from Carti and many fans were disappointed with it. It seems like he pitched his voice up more and that ruined it for me.

After that, we come to Losses, which is also the longest track on the mixtape. The introduction of this track is from an Instagram live that Drake did with his father. It adds a little nice touch to it, but the actual track doesn't start until 30 seconds in. He also throws in some other parts of the Instagram live into the track. One line that I've been tripped up in, and I'm sure others have is the "I do it for the Grahams, not the gram." The first part he's talking about his family name since his last name is Graham. The second part is up for interpretation and could mean anything from Instagram, money, or his Grammy awards.

From Florida With Love is a weird, wavy, almost psychedelic like track. This is a track that promotes, well, substances. They talk about finding a plug, which usually references a dealer. This honestly seems like a throwaway from Drake. I'm sure this track will grow on me later, but right now, this isn't that great of a track.

Demons is another banger of a track from the mixtape. Again, Drake references the number 6 which is supposed to represent his hometown of Toronto. Again, this type of rapping seems familiar to another track, I just can't think of it right now. It uses the UK-drill inspired flow that is heavily used in the United Kingdom. However, with some of these features, this is one of the better tracks on the mixtape.

The last track off the mixtape is War. A lot of people have referenced that this track sounds like some more UK rapping. I can definitely tell since Drake's flow and voice is a little different than normal. It sounds like this might be the new direction Drake is going to move forward with. Who knows, we might see more of it with his album dropping this summer.

Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Deep Pockets, Toosie Slide, Landed, Demons

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