Drake’s Surprise Full-Length Was Almost a Free Mixtape

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 02.20.15 in News

Whether Drake‘s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, released a week ago without prior warning, ought to be considered a mixtape or an album has been a complicated question. It was a retail collection of music, available on iTunes, and it’s No. 1 on the latest Billboard 200 albums chart. But the rapper himself has billed it as a mixtape, and now a person in a position to know has said the set was being discussed as a free mixtape until only a few weeks ago.

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was shaping up to be part of DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz series, but label Cash Money intervened, according to Kyle “KP” Reilly, an executive at mixtape clearinghouse DatPiff, in a statement to HipHopDX (via FACT).

“Originally we were in talks to release it for free…and have DJ Drama host and even make it an official Gangsta Grillz,” Reilly said. “However the label was not in favor of that and they struck an agreement to release the project the retail route and it would count towards one of his albums. It was a mutual decision since he wanted to give it away. They [the label] said, ‘Hell no,’ not in those words, so they ‘agreed’ to do it this way as a middle ground and it would count towards his Cash Money deal album total. The label had zero input or creative control over [the album].”

Republic Records, Cash Money’s distributor, didn’t respond to HipHopDX’s requests for comment. DJ Drama hasn’t weighed in on the subject but did share a screenshot of the If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late tracklist, captioned with fire emoji.

Cash Money has been making headlines for reasons other than music in recent months (see David Drake’s feature Something Is Rotten in the State of Cash Money). Lil Wayne, in a $51 million lawsuit to get out of his contract, accused the label of failing to keep proper books for Drake’s recordings. A more traditional Drake album, Views From the 6, is expected later in 2015.