One of the most prominent speculations about Drake’s surprise mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is that he only released it as a retail product to complete his four-album contract with Cash Money Records. The idea is that Drake wants to defect from Cash Money along with his mentor, Lil Wayne, who’s embattled in a lawsuit to get out of his own contract with the label. News from HipHopDX seems to confirm that notion: A man by the name of KP, who runs the popular mixtape download site DatPiff, says Too Late was originally planned as part of DJ Drama’s Gansta Grillz mixtape series, and the original plan was to released it for free. KP’s comments:
Originally we were in talks to release it for free…and have DJ Drama host and even make it an official Gangsta Grillz…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 [If Youre Reading This Its Too Late].
KP also said the decision to switch from a free mixtape to a retail album happened two or three weeks ago. That’s working out well financially for Drake and Cash Money: As predicted, Too Late sold about half a million copies to debut at #1 this week, and it set Spotify’s first-week streaming record.