Tucked in the background of yesterday’s new episode of Kanye vs Drake was a revelation.
Specifically, it was the incident that sent Ye on a 300-tweet rant spanning into the wee hours of the night: Drake is seeking a sample clearance for “Say What’s Real,” i.e. track eight on his seminal mixtape So Far Gone, where he rhymes over “Say You Will” from 808s and Heartbreak. You know, the song where Drake says “I just see my ex girl standing with my next girl standing with the girl that I’m fuckin right now.”
Why does Drake care to clear a song from an old mixtape that we all downloaded on nahright.com? Well, in two months So Far Gone will turn 10, and how nice would it be if, for the anniversary, Drake followed suit of his peers and made a classic mixtape formally available on the (until recently) mixtape-averse major streaming platforms? Doing that, of course, would require more legwork (clearing the songs) than he and Young Money/Cash Money put in back in 2009 when they released a commercial EP that merely had six of the tape’s original songs.
It’s About time Drake follows Jay-Z’s blueprint and does his own B-Sides show.
If Drake was planning this re-release as a surprise, then Kanye casually spoiled it yesterday, which would make this the second OVO rollout to be sullied by G.O.O.D. Music in the span of six months. Still, the ten year anniversary of the mixtape that definitively put Drake on the map, is an event even Kanye can’t derail. A re-release would be cool, sure; I don’t know about y’all but I certainly don’t let streaming get in the way when I want to hear “Ignant Shit” (did Jay-Z get his clearance request yet?) Streaming only really affects my life when I’m away from my home computer library and terrorizing the Complex bullpen with a playlist of my whims.
If Drake wants to really celebrate the project that changed his life, he should do a full-on one night only (preferably two) show dedicated to performing So Far Gone in its entirety. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. This year’s Aubrey and the Three Amigos Tour was maybe my fourth time seeing Drake live and it might’ve been my least favorite. He’s great, but it felt too mechanical, too indebted to pleasing the wide swath of ages and disparate types of fan that a Drake show at The Garden attracts these days. Early in the show he teases a medley of throwbacks, the end result being one Thank Me Later song and then..a bunch of More Life cuts... The kids who weren’t allowed to listen to rap yet when SFG dropped (and their parents) were hype to do the KiKi dance; I was hype for “Over” and “Headlines,” which aren’t even particularly great Drake songs. It’s high-time Drake follows Jay-Z’s blueprint and does his own B-Sides show. The So Far Gone experience creates the perfect opportunity.
To be more specific, this would be more of a Yeezy blueprint. Again. I’m thinking of 2015, when instead of giving us a new album, Kanye procrastinated by randomly celebrating 808s and Heartbreak with two shows at the Hollywood Bowl that featured a whole new set design, theatrics and merch. (The album only turned seven that year, and the shows were nowhere near the anniversary date.) So Far Gone is already 808s-indebted. Remember when 40 said one of the first times he met Kanye, he "cussed him out" out for stealing his sound? Why not bring things full-circle by ripping off Ye’s show idea too? (Trolling Kanye does seem to be Drake’s favorite pastime this year.)
Two nights of Drake performing shit like “November 18th” and “Sooner Than Later,” and spinning off into a handful of b-sides after that? I’d fly out! (Complex, fly me out?) Remember how thrilling it was at OVO Fest 5 when Drake went into his bag to perform shit like “A Night Off” and other fan-favorite songs that don’t normally make a setlist? Detouring into the past helped Kanye refocus and regroup to give us a solid album in The Life of Pablo. Maybe it can do the same for Drake, and he’ll make another album we can listen to top-to-bottom again.