The man needs no introduction. Drake is back to claim the musical throne of 2020 with this mixtape, and an album that will be released this summer. Unfortunately, Aubrey Graham has been falling down the quality cliff for the last five years as nothing he has been putting out since If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is all that great. Views, More Life, Scorpion….all misses
The last two years have seen Drake put out an album we’ve already heard, and a compilation record of tracks that we’ve already heard or have been revisioned. This mixtape is the first curation of new material we’ve heard from Drake since Scorpion.
I didn’t have much anticipation for any new Drake music, but I’m always hoping we can see any fun from him that we got in the early 2010s. Sadly, that is not the case on this mixtape as most of these tracks are throwaways or were left off of his last album.
“Chicago Freestyle” is the standalone highlight on this tape as we get peak moody Drake talking about mistakes made in past relationships. I love the droning instrumentals, and the flow on the pre-chorus: “But I do know one thing though…..”.
Drake collaborates with trash on “Not You Too” for odd reasons, but I can respect that Drake leaves trash hanging in the background, and we can barely hear trash.
“Toosie Slide” is unbearable. It’s just an attempt to be viral, and is on the same level as a “Teach Me How to Dougie”. He also compares his dancing skills to that of Michael Jackson, which we all know is a major reach, and a total disrespect to the entertainment legend.
The soft, pleasant-on-the-ear synthesizers on “Time Flies” are a nice touch on the record. This is also one of those tracks where Drake’s half-rap, half-sung flow works well with the mood of the track.
Then, there’s “Pain 1993”, which could’ve been another highlight, but midway through the track, we get a feature from what sounds like a nine-year-old by the name of Playboi Carti. On Wikipedia, it says he is 23, but that’s not what I’m hearing here.
The mixtape closes with Drake now adopting the grime accent, which actually goes pretty hard if I’m being honest. While I’m not a fan of artists ripping off styles and mimicking accents of international artists, I can admit that I enjoy “War” more than I should. It’s going to be one of those guilty pleasures I listen to while working out.
Dark Lane Demo Tapes is just driving Drake further and further down the cliff. I don’t know what happy to the fun, not-so-serious Drake we had in the early 2010s, but he’s long gone. I’m not anticipating the hell his album will be in the summer. I thought it couldn’t get worse than Scorpion, but he may prove me wrong.
Richest Tracks: “Chicago Freestyle”, “Time Flies”, “War”
Worst Track: “Toosie Slide”