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In a time when uncertainty has engulfed the planet, there are a handful of things we can count on, one of them being Drake’s ability to read the landscape and know the perfect time to make his presence felt. Nearly two years since unleashing his robust double-album, Scorpion, the megastar emerged from hibernation with an impromptu project titled Dark Lane Demo Tapes.
Comprised of a mix of leaked records, unfinished demos, and new material, the mixtape boasts appearances from Chris Brown, Future, Playboi Carti, Fivio Foreign, Sosa Geek, and Giveon — all of whom deliver riveting performances that serve as a compliment to Drake’s litany of rhyme spills and harmonies. With a production lineup including Noah “40” Shebib, Alonzo “Roxx” Thornhill, AXL Beats, Cardo, Dez Wright, D. Hill, Elyas, Foreign Teck, JB Made It, June The Genius, MexikoDro, Noel Cadastre, OZ, Pi’erre Bourne, Plain Pat, Sevn Thomas and Southside, Dark Lane Demo Tapes is packed with enthralling backdrops that run the gamut from drill to boom-bap and brings out the best that its author has to offer.
After giving the project a few spins and reading between the lines, REVOLT highlights seven things we learned about Drake and his current state of mind from Dark Lane Demo Tapes. Check them out below.
1. Drizzy Is In The Toronto State of Mind
Drake’s penchant for frequenting various locales around the world is well-documented. But, on Dark Lane Demo Tapes, he takes us back to where it all started: Toronto. On the project’s opening salvo “Deep Pockets,” the OVO overlord holds court atop chants lifted from Stetsasonic’s late ‘80s classic”Go Stetsa,” painting pictures of the scenery with mentions of hometown staples like East Detention Center, Pine Hills Cemetary, Wilfrid Laurier University, and William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute.
2. He’s Gone Through Personal Growth
The latter half of the previous decade saw Drake embroiled in various spats with a handful of rap artists, most noticeably Meek Mill, Diddy, Joe Budden, and Pusha T. However, if certain lines said throughout Dark Lane Demo Tapes are any indication, it appears that he’s become fed up with the drama, and would rather channel his energy toward his building onto his legacy and personal satisfaction. Listeners to hear him dismissing frivolous debates on “When to Say When” to ignoring petty jabs from his detractors on “From Florida With Love.”
3. He’s Impacted By His 2009 Robbery
In 2009, reports circulated that Drizzy was the victim of an armed robbery during a night out on the town in Toronto, which he confirmed the following year in an interview with GQ. This incident sparked a change in the star, who admits to equipping himself with firearms for precautionary reasons from that point forward on the second verse of the Dark Lane Demo Tapes cut “From Florida With Love.”
4. Drake Shared A Fan Moment With Kobe Bryant
Before becoming an overnight sensation off the strength of his 2009 mixtape, So Far Gone, Drake was taken under the wing of Lil Wayne during the recording of his sixth studio album, Tha Carter III. On Dark Lane Demo Tapes, he relives one particular encounter involving late NBA legend Kobe Bryant on the cut “From Florida With Love.” At the top of the song’s second verse, the rapper recalls the time he caught a sneak-preview of Lil Wayne’s smash single “Lollipop” on a tour bus prior to its release.
5. He Has Chemistry With MexikoDro
As a producer, landing a placement on the right record could take you to a whole other level in the game. On Dark Lane Demo Tapes, Atlanta boardsman MexikoDro not only earns his most high-profile production credit to date, he also receives multiple shout-outs from Drake on “From Florida With Love,” one of the standout selections on the project. Bragging, “When I linked with Mexiko, I knew I found a plug,” Drake gives a priceless alley-oop to the rising beatsmith, who’s worked closely with Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Rich The Kid, and others.
6. Brooklyn Drill Music Is His Newest Vibe
Over the years, Drake has stuck his toe in various sub-genres including afro-beat, U.K. grime, trap, and juke music. His latest obsession appears to be Brooklyn drill, which he tries on for a fit on a few instances on his new mixtape — most noticeable “War,” and the anticipated Fivio Foreign and Sosa Geek collaboration, “Demons.” Produced by JB Made It, “Demons,” which finds Drake incorporating Brooklyn slang into his lyrics, is the biggest cosign the scene has gotten yet and is indicative of artists like Pop Smoke, Fivio Foreign, and the borough’s other breakout stars’ influence on the culture.
7. Drake and Weeknd Have Reconciled
Drake’s relationship with fellow Toronto superstar Weeknd is a checkered one, with their tumultuous relationship dating back to when the pair collaborated on Drizzy’s sophomore album, Take Care. In early 2019, Weeknd levied what many perceived as a slight against his fellow countryman on DJ Gesaffelstein’s track “Lost in The Fire,” singing, “And I just want a baby with the right one/‘Cause I could never be the one to hide one.” Coming on the heels of the controversy surrounding the revelation of Drake becoming a father, those lyrics appeared to be an indication of bad blood between the two. But, the 6 God has dispelled those rumors, including on the Dark Lane Demo Tapes drop “War,” which makes mention of Abel and reaffirms their solidarity.