In the KonMari era music is easily accessible and neatly organized on playlists -- only tracks that bring true joy take up space -- and it’s hard to remember when an artist’s catalog wasn’t so, curated.
Since the start of his career, Drake has released a slew of B-sides, uncleared covers and promo tracks-- often ripped by fans as MP3s and passed around unofficially for years. On Care Package, Drake opens up his vault for streaming and collates 17 loosies that die-hards have been waiting for. Below, Billboard answers any questions you might have about the unexpected compilation.
Why did Drake release Care Package?
It’s been a banner year for Drake. His beloved Toronto Raptors took home the NBA championships and the rapper is on the eve of his ninth annual October’s Very Own (OVO) Fest in his hometown. Care Package is a love letter to his fans: “Some of our most important moments together available in one place,” he shared on Instagram.
The artwork appears to be a nod to Drake’s past, his “Acura days.” Back when Aubrey Graham was transitioning from Degrassi star to rap star, he drove a 2004 Acura TSX. At the time, he thought Mercedes or luxury cars were “pretentious.”
Why is this taking me back so much?
This set is a walk down memory lane. It’s been nearly a decade since tracks like “Paris Morton Music” or “I Get Lonely” -- which was intended for the ultimately unreleased R&B mixtape It’s Never Enough -- were originally debuted. Drake’s career was catalyzed during the rap blog era. Day-ones may get nostalgic and shed a tear for how they originally discovered Drake: his October’s Very Own blog, fan site All Things Fresh and outlets like 2DopeBoyz, Nah Right and OnSmash.
Did these songs previously exist online?
The tracks were largely available on the rapper’s SoundCloud profile. Meanwhile, ripped versions have long been floating around on YouTube and direct download sites.
Why am I crying?
Be warned that listening to Care Package will seriously affect chances for a Hot Girl or City Boyz Summer. Songs like “The Motion” and “Paris Morton Music” exemplify Drake’s greatness at balancing both sweet and savage. The Canadian rapper’s take on TLC’s FanMail title track is reflective of the then-23-year-old’s yearning for #relationshipgoals: "I'm envious of friends of mine that have great committed relationships," he said to MTV News. "When people call home to check on their girl or they say, 'I'm not going to go out tonight. I'm just going to spend the night with my girl.' That hits me, man. I just don't have that."
Who are the features?
J. Cole hops on “Jodeci Freestyle” and Rick Ross contributes to “Free Spirit.” Singers James Fauntleroy and Sampha add vocals to “Girls Love Beyonce” and “The Motion,” respectively. Jai Paul has uncredited vocals on “Dreams Money Can Buy,” as does Beyonce on “Can I.”
Does something sound different on a couple of these tracks?
There have been a few changes when bringing “Care Package” to streaming services. The most apparent is that J. Cole’s verse on “Jodeci Freestyle” has now been censored. The rapper originally rhymed, “Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin' started I’m artistic, you n---as is autistic, retarded.” On the new version, the last portion of the verse is edited out. Both Drake and Cole apologized in 2013 following public backlash.
“Draft Day” has gotten a lot of flack as being the start of the dreaded “Drake Curse” in sports. Given the performance (or lack thereof) of rookies Johnny Manziel and Andrew Wiggins who are name-checked in the song, in the NFL and NBA respectively, “Draft Day” serves as a comedic moment and proof that Drake isn’t totally prescient. The original outro of OB O’Brien rehashing comments by football coaches Mike Gundy and Dan Hawkins has been cut from the new version.
What other rarities were left out?
2013’s "We Made It (Freestyle)”is a glaring omission. It’s uncertain why the song didn’t make the final package but clearing dialogue from Eastbound & Down or sample issues from Soulja Boy’s original could be the reason. Other songs that Drake had borrowed from other artists (like his 2014 remix of Ramriddlz' "Sweeterman") or gave away to them (like his solo version of "Fall For Your Type," eventually a hit for Jamie Foxx) are also absent.