The Breakthrough of October’s Very Own
2009 epitomized a vivid and immersive time in hip hop. An epoch of transition which ushered in artists like Nipsey Hussle, Lupe Fiasco, Mac Miller and Drake. Super fans and casual consumers of hip hop alike waited for the release of XXL’s then coveted Freshman List. Others combed through the myriad of blogs that premiered the early projects of artists who are now some of the most influential in the game. DatPiff, 2DopeBoyz, and Masked Gorilla were just a few of the hubs the housed our favorite, timeless mixtapes. Colloquially known as “the blog era”, it was truly the rise of the underground.
Aubrey “Drake” Graham, a young Canadian actor at the time, put his pen to the test and passed with flying colors. He continued amassing his following in hip hop with ‘Room For Improvement’ and ‘Comeback Season’ in 2006 and 2007, respectively. However, Drake hit a enigmatic stride with ‘So Far Gone’ and he hasn’t dropped the pace since then. Through his own sonic growth and the ever-changing sounds of hip hop, ‘So Far Gone’ ages superbly.
“The young spitter that everybody in rap fear”.
‘So Far Gone’ possesses a chameleon-like quality giving it the ability to transcend time. This mixtape scored the better part of a place in time where not just music but society shifted. Millennials across the spectrum engaged with the internet in a way that we had yet to see. Social media began to truly blossom and our access to art and each other grew exponentially. Drake and long time friend, in-house OVO producer, Noah “40” Shebib created a soundscape that fused hip hop and R&B in a novel way. They carved a clearer lane for more vulnerability to move within hip hop. The duo planted seeds for how this sound in hip hop would grow and continued to take consumers by storm.
This vulnerability wasn’t limited to romantic endeavors but also within himself. ‘So Far Gone’ was equally introspective as it was ubiquitous. Finding a track to fit your mood proved to be no challenge when it came to this mixtape. There was a new sense of hunger and originality flowing through hip hop with ‘So Far Gone’ at the forefront. Drake signing to Young Money put him in the position to captivate the ears of the masses. With the self proclaimed greatest rapper of all time, Lil Wayne, by his side, he fortified YMCMB and his own identity. This project connected with listeners in the way that your best friend is an ear to listen and mirror to show you yourself.
The trajectory of Drake’s talent and career is a wonder to witness regardless if you are a fan or not. Some may say he’s got the hand of Midas, turning everything into gold. Much like the fable, it isn’t always advantageous. Even so, Drake emerges unscathed (mostly) and his grip on the industry remains formidable.
He took to Instagram to reflect on ‘So Far Gone’ and how it changed his life and those around him. As a bonus, the OVO commander in chief will re-release this mixtape on streaming platforms tomorrow on Valentine’s Day in true Drake fashion.