February 12th: Drake drops the short film Jungle
Does anyone remember this nearly 15-minute short film? Shortly after its release it becomes a footnote to the more surprising If You're Reading This It's Too Late, but, viewed on its own, the video is nothing more than ponderous self-mythology, an arty portrait of the artist as a young woe. Some of the images of Toronto are pretty striking, but ultimately it's as forgettable as his cameo in Anchorman 2.
Sweater rating: 24 turtlenecks
February 12th: If You're Reading This It's Too Late is released
After a slow start, the year of Drake kicks into high gear with the surprise release of this mixtape, an album-length record almost entirely devoted to petty squabbles, old skirmishes, and pseudo-tough-guy koans for corny bros to put in their Twitter bios. In his review, New York Times critic Jon Caramanica wrote, "Hip-hop success has made Drake more raw, more leathered and more aggrieved," and it was hard not to see If You're Still Reading This as an airing of grievances. Songs like "Energy," "Know Yourself," and "Used To" snapped and snarled with an often unappealing combination of entitlement, self-aggrandizement, and rampant dick-measuring. Of course, because this is Drake, it sold over a million copies.
Sweater rating: 81 turtlenecks