Does Drake the "6 God" not know to password protect his audio files? Not once, but twice this week he had tracks leak. On Wednesday it was the sparse, robotic and likely unfinished collabo "Can I" with Beyoncé, then today the shadowy Goldeneye sampling (???) Tinashe team up "On a Wave" and the synth dabbed "Go Out Tonight," which brings to mind LANY's 80s R&B revivalism.
Each track is incredible. The dude's Warriors guard Steph Curry in practice, he can't miss. Even his scraps are satiating. Hell his work ethic is so strong that we have entire alternate albums of his work (full meals if you want to continue the food theme). "Dreams Money Can Buy," "5 AM in Toronto," "Girls Love Beyoncé," "How Bout Now," "0 to 100/The Catch Up" and "I Get Lonely Too" are all crucial pieces of the Drake story that can't be found on any proper release. His career exemplifies the old joke about the Beatles' Let It Be, that even their worst album is better than another artist’s greatest work. Though all of those aforementioned tracks don't quite inspire the adulation of Beatlemania, a scan of Twitter will show you that people love these Drake leaks. "This new Drake is lit" is my fave.
Is that kind of enjoyment okay though when our experience starts with digital pilfering? I understand that Drake has the worst musical security of any artist working, but that doesn't let us off the hook. This is different from an album leak where we're hearing something early. I don't bat an eye at that because we have the full context.
We don't have context with these Drake leaks. The space at the end of "Can I" could be for another Drizzy verse or some sultry Beyoncé vocals. "On a Wave" and "Go Out Tonight" together inspire speculation that Views from the 6 might be the It's Never Enough R&B tape that was supposed to drop in 2010. Maybe all of these tracks will be on Views from the 6, maybe none of them will be. Maybe Views from the 6 won't even drop now that it's been spoiled by leaks. Everything is up in the air when you wrestle authorial intent away from an artist before they're ready to cede control.
I accept the postmodernist philosophy that consumer meaning-making matters as much, if not more than, creator meaning-making. This isn't that. This is something different. Something that can only happen in the age of social media where every leak is only a Bitly click away. And who knows if that link will even result in the actual song. You might get a chopped and screwed version or a half-assed "remix" from some rapper who goes by Kev' the Boss. By all means get excited when you click on a leak; just know that you're hearing might not sound the same months from now.