Aural Pleasure: Dan Deacon, José González And Drake

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Drake | If You're Reading This It's Too Late | Cash Money | ★★★

Aside from obvious reasons, it's a shame that New York Times business columnist David Carr passed away the day before Drake surprise-released his fourth album. The writer could have had a media theory field day on the relationship between the distribution and content of If You're Reading This It's Too Late, Drake's official middle finger to Cash Money Records. Normally, when major artists release an album without a hint of promotion, it's a shock and awe tactic to overwhelm audiences into actually purchasing music. But Drake's fourth is an obligational murmur, fulfilling his deal with the notoriously stingy Cash Money and siding with his mentor Lil Wayne in his dispute against the label. And since it's a contractual opt-out, we get to hear 68 minutes of Drake not caring about album sales, radio play or the aggregated pennies from streaming sites. He's still emotionally mobbin', sharing his lyrical brand with a Tootsie Pop — hard and lick-proof on the outside, soft on the inside. His homonym play is at an all-time high ("You was poppin' when Usher wore a U Chain / God damn you changed") and he finds disambiguation like a bored teen on Wikipedia. If You're Reading This is an exhibition game really, but when Drake launches a heat check, it's hard not to get as little-kid psyched as Drake is while watching the All Star game. — Matt Steib

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