Drake's third studio album, Nothing Was The Same, is hitting its 10th anniversary next week, and all the celebrations on social media have unearthed plans the Toronto megastar had for the deluxe edition of the project that never came to light.
Last week, a video from the OvertimeSound TikTok page surfaced online that revisited the quote Drizzy gave VIBE magazine in 2014 regarding an idea for a reverse tracklist for the deluxe edition of Nothing Was The Same.
"The deluxe edition was going to flip the whole track list, so it would go 'Pound Cake' then 'Too Much'—it would go in reverse," the 6 God told VIBE. "It was a cool listening experience. We never brought it into fruition; I think it was some iTunes [issue] or something like that."
OVO co-founders Noah "40" Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib also shared their thoughts about the importance of sequencing an album. According to Drake's longtime friends, a lot of work goes into making such a complex tracklist like Nothing Was The Same.
"There's a lot of [musical] manipulation, these winding roads. I would've loved to embellish on that more, for every transition to be craziness. But it's difficult when you're also balancing the order and flow of the tracks," said 40, who also executive produced the album.
El-Khatib added, "That illustrates how much thought goes into telling these stories—the sequencing, the mood, the peaks and valleys. Even Kanye has brought up the importance of the sequencing of [Yeezus]. It's not just slapped together."
The OVO boss has always prioritized sequencing on albums like So Far Gone and Take Care, but Nothing Was The Same flipped the switch. The official tracklist for Nothing Was The Same featured "Tuscan Leather" as the album opener and "Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2" featuring Jay-Z as the closer.
The deluxe edition he did release featured two extra songs, "Come Thru" and "All Me," featuring Big Sean and 2 Chainz. And although those songs are beloved by Drake's faithful fans, social media is buzzing over what could've been.
The reverse tracklist would've had "Pound Cake" as the intro, while "Tuscan Leather" served as the conclusion and hints throughout the whole album support the 36-year-old's claim. In the opening lines of "Pound Cake," a sample of Jimmy Smith's "We hope you enjoy listening to this album" quote from his "Jimmy Smith Rap" song is an early reference to where Drizzy wanted things to go with this album.
With the lens of the reverse tracklist, things become a bit clearer toward the end of "Furthest Thing," where Drake raps, "This is the shit I want to go out to," before going into "Tuscan Leather," which opens with a reverse sample of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" off 1992's The Bodyguard soundtrack.
The reverse tracklist claim comes full circle when he asks how much time he is "spending on the intro" on one of the last lines of "Tuscan Leather" before saying in the next verse, "Lately I've been feelin' like Guy Pearce in Memento."
Drake's mention of Christoper Nolan's 2000 film Memento is no coincidence. The film opens with the ending and concludes with the beginning as Pearce's character suffers from amnesia and can't form new memories, a clever reference explaining why Drake would call his outro an intro.
The references to a reverse tracklist doesn't stop there as "Tuscan Leather" ends with a sample of Curtis Mayfield saying, "We'd just like to close off with something inspirational… Close out with something, some food for thought for all of us."
Elsehwere in his 2014 interview with VIBE, Drake spoke about how important the roles "Tuscan Leather" and "Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2" have on the album.
"Intros and outros have always been kind of ambient," Drake said. "I wanted to come out strong. When we were in Atlanta, I told 40, 'Man, just give me some shit that Dipset would rap on.' He gave me the beat for the first part of "Tuscan Leather." Then Boi-1da sent us some drums and we flipped it, then flipped the end part again.
He added, "We had this running joke; we'd listen to the song and be like 'Oh, the album is done. The song was such a journey.' 'Pound Cake' was never going to be the last record but it just became that. Then 'Paris Morton Music' came along, and it felt like this is where it should end."
People never got to hear the initial deluxe edition Drake had in mind. Ironically, Kendrick Lamar held them down when he had the same idea for his fourth studio album, DAMN. For the deluxe of that project, K. Dot released DAMN. in reverse and offered a whole new listening experience.
Nothing Was The Same was released on September 24, 2013, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, moving 658,000 copies in its first week. In addition to Jay-Z, the album features Jhené Aiko, Majid Jordan, Detail, and Sampha. The Recording Industry Association of America awarded the album a quadruple platinum certification in April 2018.
Revisit the album below.