The best Drake ‘album’ that never existed
In honor of Aubrey Drake Graham’s 30th birthday, we present ‘Would’ve Came Back For You’
Four studio albums, five official mixtapes, 160 songs. Drake releases everything. Whether that’s on SoundCloud, via his website or if one of the many hip-hop blogs is first to the punch to spread the love. But while not every song appears on an official album or mixtape, some of these orphan tracks have been top five hits. A few have even been nominated for Grammys. Together, they could make up an album on their own — one that would certainly reach No. 1 status, as all four of his albums and two of his mixtapes already have.
Great minds think alike: On the eve of his big birthday, Drake appeared on OVO Sound Radio on Sunday night, dropping three new songs (and a remix) while announcing a new project set to drop in December. It’s titled More Life, and it’s a playlist (as opposed to a now-suddenly dated “mixtape”) of original music. On that note, The Undefeated, in association with Aux Cord Chronicles, presents Would’ve Came Back For You — an “album” composed of the Toronto artist’s stray songs (many of which were produced by Boi-1da or Noah “40” Shebib). They’re not ranked from best to worst, but rather sequenced in an order that this anthology, which features eight years worth of music, flows. Would’ve Came Back For You will take you on an odyssey of every facet of Drake: from the lover to the fighter, from the heartbreaker to the heartbroken, from the crooner to the MC, from Jimmy from Degrassi to the 6 God. It may even give you more life — until More Life.
1. “The Motion” (feat. Sampha) (2013)
It’s not me it’s you / You’re reckless and you know, they don’t love you like I do / Say you’re moving on, well, I guess that’s just the motion. Breaking up with someone and moving on is a task Drake is quite familiar with — so he coined a name for the process — “The Motion” — and got British electronic artist Sampha on the outro to really set the track off. Disclaimer: Don’t “Drake and Drive” to this.
2. “Jodeci Freestyle” (feat. J. Cole) (2013)
In 2011, Drake hopped on J. Cole’s In the Morning. Two years later, J. Cole — the Fayettenam MC whom Drake often refers to as his light-skinned brother from another mother — returned the favor. Also on the track is the voice of Drake’s father, Dennis Graham. The father and son would often listen to music together while road-tripping from Toronto to Memphis. Jodeci was Drake’s favorite to listen to. Makes sense.
3. “Trust Issues” (2011)
Lil Wayne might have said it best on Birdman’s 2009 Money to Blow — And we gon be all right if we get Drake on every hook, because Drake is the king of hooks and one of his most famous ones is All I care about is money/ And the city that I’m from / I’mma sip until I feel it / I’mma smoke it till it’s done … you know the rest, from DJ Khaled’s 2011 No. 1 hit I’m On One featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. That hook of that song is the brainchild of Drake, who serenades with the same words as a bridge on Trust Issues. Come for the singing, stay for the switched-up flow as Drake raps midway through the track. Classic Drake versatility.
4. “Girls Love Beyoncé” (feat. James Fauntleroy) (2013)
Shockingly, Drake and Beyoncé have only collaborated for one official song — 2013’s Mine from Beyoncé’s self-titled fifth studio album. The second collaboration came on the 2015 track Can I? which was supposed to be on Drake’s most recent album Views. Can I? was released, but never made an album. While it’s not a collaboration, Girls Love Beyoncé is a beautiful homage to Queen Bey and the Destiny’s Child track Say My Name, with Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter James Fauntleroy singing the well-known hook.
5. “I Get Lonely Too” (2010)
Take me / To another place where I’ll be / Face to face, just you and me / With no rules / Just like you, I get lonely. These lyrics sound familiar, right? They’re from TLC’s 1999 track FanMail. Drake takes the same verses and chorus, introduces a new, slower beat, and empathizes with T-Boz, Chilli and Left Eye on this ballad. Drake gets lonely, too. Don’t we all.
6. “Free Spirit (feat. Rick Ross)” (2011)
2015’s What A Time To Be Alive with Future should not have been Drake’s first collaboration mixtape. It should’ve been have been the mixtape Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once) with Rick Ross, named after a line from Drake’s The Motto, a bonus track on his 2011 album Take Care that became a No. 1 hit. The acronym Y.O.L.O. gained so much traction in pop culture that it eventually became what Drake called an “epidemic.” As a result, the rap duo considered changing the name of the mixtape, and while tracks have surfaced from the project, Y.O.L.O. never fully materialized. Free Spirit gave us hope. Man, what could’ve been.
7. “Club Paradise” (2011)
Drake’s Grammy Award-winning Take Care is often regarded as the best project he’s ever released. Yet as perfect as it is, the song Club Paradise, a scratch from Take Care, should’ve made the 18-track record — or at least the 20-track deluxe edition. And there’s a feeling Drake realizes this, too. The tour for this album was not called the “Take Care Tour” or named after any one of his hit songs on this work of art. It was called the “Club Paradise Tour.”
8. “Days In The East” (2014)
Remember one night I went to Erykah Badu’s house / She made tea for me / We talked about love and what life could really be for me / She said when that s— is real, you just know / And I was thinkin’ bout you, you already know. On this grim love song, co-produced by 40 and fellow Toronto artist PartyNextDoor, who is the “you” Drake speaks of ? Could it be Rihanna?
9. “Ransom” (feat. Lil Wayne) (2008)
No hook, no bridge, no crooning, just bars — a result of some pulls of the loud and the realization of a partnership soon to take the hip-hop game by storm. Drake on the first verse. Lil Wayne on the second verse. This is Genesis of Drizzy and Weezy’s bible of collaborations. From strictly a rapping standpoint, this is one of Drake’s best verses — and he spit it when he was only 22. Also, Lil Wayne raps the ABCs on this track. What more could you ask for?
10. “You Know You Know” (2009)
In August, a song named You Know You Know dropped on all the hip-hop blogs. New heat? Nah. Just a remastered version of a Kanye West-produced track Drake recorded seven years before — one he left off his debut studio album, 2010’s Thank Me Later. Via his verses, which the track backs with an intoxicating synthesizer, you can tell Drake knew he was destined for stardom. Everybody sayin’ I’m the man / So true.
11. “What If I Kissed You” (2010)
“Drake’s rap artistry continues to improve with every release, something which is most definitely evidenced on ‘What If I Kissed You,’ ” read the description on HotNewHipHop.com when this song dropped in 2010. Behind imperial tones, Drake tells the classic tale of a girl he wants, knows he can’t have, but for her, he shoots his shot anyway.
12. “Dreams Money Can Buy” (2011)
With his debut album Thank Me Later, which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, Drake had clearly arrived — and he knew it. You can tell as much on Dreams Money Can Buy, which Drake released in late 2011 between Thank Me Later and his acclaimed sophomore album Take Care. Maybachs. Ferraris. Art. Food from India. Dreams money can buy / They told me it’s like a high/ And it wasn’t a lie.
13. “Charged Up” (2015)
On July 21, 2015, Meek Mill called Drake out on Twitter, saying, “He don’t write his own raps!” Four days later, Drake responded with the diss track Charged Up. The smooth record features a calm-and-collected Drizzy, who throws shots at Meek’s success and his relationship with Nicki Minaj. I see you n—— having trouble getting gold / Turning into some so-and-so’s that no one knows … No woman ever had me starstruck / Or was able to tell me to get my bars up. The beef ends here, right? Nope. Meek Mill wouldn’t let it go, and neither would Drake.
14. “Back to Back” (2015)
One wasn’t enough. The first time Drake was too nice, too understanding (if you can even be that in a diss track). So, calm-and-collected Drake turned into Savage Drake, and Meek Mill didn’t stand a chance. Yeah, trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers / Yeah, you gettin’ bodied by a singin’ n—- / I’m not the type of n—- that’ll type to n—– / And shout-out to all my boss b—— wifin’ n—–. Oh, and Back to Back was nominated for a Grammy. Moral of the story: Don’t mess with Drake.
15. “9 A.M. in Dallas” (2010)
The first of Drake’s trademark “AM-PM Series,” 9 A.M. in Dallas was released as a promotional track for Thank Me Later. Drake has made five AM-PM tracks to date, and only one has made a project — 6 P.M. in New York on his 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. And, to be honest, it’s the worst one. 9 A.M. in Dallas might not be the best, but it’s hard not to appreciate its rawness.
16. “4 P.M. in Calabasas” (2016)
The Kardashians live in Calabasas, California. Drake has a house in Calabasas, too. (Odell Beckham Jr. house-sits for Drake from time to time, by the way.) So it was only a matter of time before the Toronto rapper made an AM-PM track about his second home. That time came during Summer Sixteen, when Drake felt the need to subtly silence all of his haters. They tryna tempt me, the higher I get / The less they accept it. Who is the “they”? Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, Joe Budden, Jadakiss — they all get called out in one way or another on this quasi-diss track. But Diddy catches the most shade. And it’s not the first time he’s been on Drake’s hit list.
17. “5 A.M. in Toronto” (2013)
Morning in Dallas. Afternoon in Calabasas. Then back home to the 6ix. 5 A.M. in Toronto is Drake at peak cockiness, with braggadocio bar after braggadocio bar after braggadocio bar. He doesn’t hold back, and he wasn’t coming for specific rappers. He’s coming for the entire game. Give these n—– the look, the verse, and even the hook / That’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake. Also, Drake smoking weed in the music video? C’mon, when have you seen him doing that? He really wasn’t playing on this one.
18. “Sweeterman (Remix)” (2015)
One of the most underrated aspects of Drake’s OVO Sound empire is the movement’s radio show. Airing every two weeks on Apple Music’s Beats 1 station, OVO Sound Radio provides a platform for the latest contributions to the contemporary fusion of rap and R&B, debuting a new song at least once every show. So when OVO Sound Radio debuted on July 11, 2015, Drake gave the people Sweeterman (Remix), his own version of the Ramriddlz track. It’s easy to forget Drake’s Sweeterman, because Hotline Bling dropped on the second episode of OVO Sound Radio, and was a megahit by the time we all blinked.
19. “0 to 100 / The Catch Up” (2014)
I been Steph Curry with the shot / Been cookin’ with the sauce, Chef Curry with the pot, boy. How many times have you heard this line, and this song, in the past few years? It was in a Sprite commercial, on NBA 2K16 and even inspired Stephen and Ayesha Curry to make a parody cooking video to the song (Oven 0 to 100, yo, real quick). Oh, yeah, and despite not making an album, it was nominated for two Grammys. Somewhere Diddy is still salty because it was originally his beat, which he sent to Drake to ghostwrite for. Instead, Drake kept it for himself and made a hit, placing his own flavor on it, hence the reason that the track feels like two separate songs. This might be the best song Drake has ever made. Wherever it stands, it seems to have been surely worth a punch from Diddy.
20. “Paris Morton Music” (2010)
No, not Aston Martin Music, one of the singles from Rick Ross’ 2010 gold album Teflon Don, which features Drake and Chrisette Michele. A week after Aston Martin Music was released, Drake dropped Paris Morton Music, his own extended version of the song. The first line, Would’ve came back for you, is the inspiration for this album. Like Drake coming back for the love interest the song is dedicated to, we come back for these tracks.
Bonus: “Wildfire (OVO Remix)” (2011)
The beat and vocals on SBTRKT’s 2011 track Wildfire, featuring Little Dragon are fire, but it was missing something. Enter Drake.
Bonus: “2 On / Thotful” (2014)
Technically, this is the OVO homie OB Brien’s track. But Drake is very much so involved in the two-part song, which begins with a remix of Tinashe’s 2014 track 2 On before Drake transitions into singing about a certain girl and how “thotful” she is.