Drake’s So Far Gone: A Decade After
So Far Gone the full original version of the mixtape, streaming everywhere for the first time https://t.co/3Rxoxuv3MC
— Drizzy (@Drake) February 15, 2019
The Drake we’re listening to in So Far Gone is much different from the Canadian artist we’re familiar with today, which is the one easily dominating charts, breaking records and widely acknowledged as one of the most influential music artists of this generation. The Drake we see in So Far Gone was still relatively new to music, at a time where he was still choosing between acting and music, unaware of the fact that one day he would end up paving the way for future artists in the music industry. Now that the mixtape has been released on all streaming services, such as iTunes and Spotify, this is a great opportunity to look at how this album holds up in a completely new era of music.
So Far Gone is an hour-long, 18-track project, that looks into the struggles of love and heartbreak, as well as talking about the artists’ place in the rap game. Drake has received heavy criticism throughout his career due to the sensitive topics he sings or raps about in his music, with comments describing him as too soft or emotional. This project certainly dives into his sensitive side, with soft, R&B-inspired tracks such as Houstatlantavegas, A Night Off and Sooner Than Later, where he incorporates a lot of singing on top of the slow, heavy production.
This was one thing that set Drake apart from his peers at the time, his impeccable ability to balance both singing and rapping while showing such emotion and charisma.
“To get my feelings out, sometimes it can’t be rap,” he said in an interview with CBS News. “Sometimes I really have to sing because the emotion is too intense or it’s too genuine.”
The persona of a sensitive Drake who used singing to show more emotion in his music, led to great success. What some would consider a more feminine approach he took on this mixtape attracted a large audience, especially towards women, as it broke multiple stereotypes in hip-hop. He displayed his uniqueness as an artist and his desire to take risks, even if they don’t necessarily work out. An example of this is in Let’s Call it Off, which features Swedish artists Peter Bjorn and John in a track that mixes indie rock and hip-hop, two completely different genres of music that just didn’t seem to mesh well together.
Drake also wasn’t without his influences, most importantly Lil Wayne and Kanye West, who he thanks greatly for his success. This mixtape includes a sample of Kanye West’s Say You Will in his own track Say What’s Real, along with clear inspiration from Kanye’s 2008 album 808s and Heartbreak, which included the heavy use of singing melodies. Multiple Wayne features are also included in tracks Successful, Ignant Shit, Unstoppable and Uptown, as well as a track titled November 18th, which was named after the date Drake received a call from Wayne regarding his interest in signing him with his own record label Young Money.
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@futuretheprince a decade ago you were Dj’ing all ages parties…@ovo40 a decade ago you were scared to share your beats…@oliverelkhatib a decade ago you worked at a clothing store selling someone else’s product…@boi1da a decade ago you were in a basement with pink insulation walls figuring out fruity loops…@ovoniko a decade ago we were handing out flyers promoting club nights…@realbriamyles a decade ago you were working the makeup counter at Beverly Centre…@nebzilla a decade ago your moms house was my safe place and we really ran through the 6 everyday together…@bunb a decade ago you were a legend and you will remain that forever…@benballer a decade ago you promoted me as if you were getting a cut of my career…@treysongz a decade ago you were the first person to recognize potential and give me a co-sign…@omarion a decade ago you came to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and laid a verse for an unknown artist from Canada…@darkiemade a decade ago you emailed me the cover art for something that would change my life forever….@kingjames a decade ago you came to my release party at 6 Degrees and made me the biggest artist in the city off your presence alone…@kanyewest a decade ago I rapped over your beat cause you just made the best shit and even though you stay wildin on twitter these days I will never forget what you contributed to the game and my career…Portia I don’t know your IG but a decade ago you told me to rap over June 27th and bonded me and Houston Texas forever…@jas.prince a decade ago you took a chance on MySpace and introduced me to Wayne…@liltunechi a decade ago you took me out of Toronto and gave me the biggest blessing anybody has ever given me…I will never forget anybody involved in this journey even if you don’t fit in this caption…So Far Gone streaming everywhere for the first time ever Thursday. 🙏🏽
So Far Gone also includes two incredible tracks that today, can still be considered some of Drake’s best work. The first track, Best I Ever Had, is an emotional pop-rap track about the rapper being so in love with a girl, even after moving on from their relationship, with somewhat relatable lyrics that show how strong his feelings for her still are. The chorus is also insanely catchy, able to appeal to anybody with its repetitive nature and outstanding delivery. The latter, Successful, showcased more of Drake’s lyrical delivery and contagious flows in a slower, moody track that talks about the rapper’s desire to work harder as an artist and stand out in an industry that was steadily growing. The track also includes a great feature from Trey Songz with another catchy, repetitive chorus that is easy for listeners to project themselves towards. Both are hit songs from Drake’s massive discography, and can be credited to be a large part of Drake’s early success.
One of the reasons So Far Gone was so successful was because of its groundbreaking nature. Its uniqueness allowed it to stand out significantly at the time of its original release, playing a big part on the number of fans and listeners Drake had attracted. Because of its influence, this type of music is now common, having an effect on where the mixtape stands ten years later. Now that this type of music is made by newer artists with their own styles and improvements, So Far Gone may be seen as a little bit outdated, with obvious flaws. Drake takes a lot of risks in this project, mixing several types of genres and using singing as one of his primary tools. Tracks such as Unstoppable, Let’s Call it Off and Houstatlantavegas are examples where Drake’s ideas clearly did not work out to make a good song. Unstoppable features a terrible Lil Wayne verse, Let’s Call it Off attempts to mix two completely different genres and Houstatlantavegas is boring, with a bad beat and forgettable lyrics. Clearly, Drake showed signs of being young and inexperienced here, still looking for a spot in the top of the industry as he looked to further develop his musical style and his own voice.
However, So Far Gone still holds up as a solid project in 2019. Although it’s hard to deny that nostalgia has some effect, a majority of the tracks are still enjoyable to listen to, having included timeless lyrics, great melodies, outstanding delivery and notable features.