Dark Lane Demo Tapes

by Drake

Released May 1, 2020 via OVO / Republic Records

Originally reviewed May 10, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Chicago Freestyle (53%), D4L (45%), When To Say When (17%)

Drake has experienced more phases and evolutions in front of the brightest lights on the world’s biggest stages than most other musicians to ever live. This being understood, it’s encouraging that after eight albums he can still reinvigorate that patented formula to fit and even accelerate what is happening in hip-hop music. Dark Lane Demo Tapes features a collection of loosie singles, anticipated leaks, and tracks better left unfinished. Without more than a miss or two, Drake’s demo tape offers a casual change of pace that sneakily resembles some of his best work to date. – DeVán (7/10)

Drake’s effort since Views has been minimal. He does numbers, but it’s clear Drake’s realized whatever he drops will top charts; so, it comes as no surprise that he took advantage of this during quarantine by putting out a half-finished project in Dark Lane Demo Tapes. This tape had the potential to be incredibly solid, but it sounds incredibly rushed. There are highlights in “From Florida with Love,” “D4L,” and “Desire,” all of which are great. “Landed” has a weak chorus, but the verses and beat were solid. “When to Say When” and “Chicago Freestyle” brought back Young Money-era Drake. These kinds of songs are the standard that Drake has built up, so it’s disappointing when he doesn’t meet it. Speaking of Young Money, Drake giving us his version of a dedication mixtape is a nice surprise. Criticisms aside, this tape did make Drake’s supposed summer album drop more intriguing. After Scorpion, Drake needs to bounce back, as 2-3 questionable drops in a row is concerning. – Daniel (6/10)

There's a loose correlation of hazy low light textures pulling these new Drake tracks together, but even word straight from the horse's mouth tells us it's loosies and scraps. Additionally, the studio album announcement that accompanies this backdoor release gives the tape an extremely short shelf life. At the end of the day, Dark Lane Demo Tapes is an inconsequential fan appeasement release that pleasantly stays out of its own way. Enjoy at your own haste. – Enth (6/10)


Alan: 7.9/10 | Jared: 7.5/10 | DeVán: 7/10 | Cam: 6.8/10 | Daniel: 6/10

Enth: 6/10 | | Dominick: 5.5/10 | Hadley: 5.5/10