Drake Decoded: 10 Subliminal Shots on ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’

Drake Decoded: 10 Subliminal Shots on 'If You're Reading This It's Too Late'


Dan Martensen

Thursday night felt like Christmas day for Drake fans. The 28-year-old rapper dropped his brand-new album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, unannounced. In true Drake fashion, there are hidden messages and subliminal shots littered throughout the LP.

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“I got rap n—as that I gotta act like I like, but my actin’ days are over, f— them n—as for life,” Drake declares on “Energy,” setting the tone early on the album.

Much like everyone else who’s been listening to the album since 11 p.m. ET on Thursday night, we’ve cracked the code on some of Drake’s more ambiguous lines toward competitors and rivals — new and old. Granted, none of these artists are referenced by name and Drake hasn’t confirmed any call-outs, but using context clues, we can connect the dots.

Check out 10 of Drake’s most notable subliminal shots off If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late:

1. Song: “No Tellin’”
Aimed at: Everybody

Lyric: “Yeah, I took the summer off to get it right/ Yeah, I gave these boys a shot and they f—in’ failed/ N—as like, ‘You took the summer off? We couldn’t tell.’”
Drake only appeared on a few records in summer 2014, from ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” Lil Wayne’s “Believe Me” and his own “0 to 100/The Catch Up.” Even in his absence, nobody could overtake him as the rapper who could move the needle the most.

2. Song: “No Tellin’”
Aimed at: Tyga
Lyric:Thinkin’ they lions and tigers and bears, I go huntin’/ Put heads on my fireplace.
Tyga revealed in a VIBE interview in October 2014 that he thought Drake was “fake.” Though he earned Drake’s vitriol even more on “6PM in New York,” Tyga is officially in Drake’s crosshairs, along with the rest of the industry.

3. Song: “Star67”
Aimed at: Cash Money Records
Lyric:Walk up in my label like, where the check though?/ Yeah I said it, wouldn’t dap you with the left ho.
Drake’s been quiet on the in-house fight between Birdman and Lil Wayne over Wayne’s freedom from Cash Money Records, until now. There’s already a standing lawsuit between Jas Prince of Young Empire Music Group and Aspire seeking Drake’s unpaid royalties from the label.

4. Song: “Used To”
Aimed at: Kendrick Lamar
Lyric:They gon’ say your name on them airwaves/ They gon’ hit you up right after like it’s only rap.”
Kendrick Lamar is the only person who’s mentioned Drake by name on a record, with “Control” in 2013. Kendrick said it’s only rap, but Drake still took offense to it — and still feels some type of way about it.

5. Song: “Used To”
Aimed at: Diddy
Lyric: “Real quick, man, you couldn’t have hated that/ Let’s be real, n–a, you couldn’t have made it that.
In December, Diddy allegedly went after Drake after the two got into an argument outside Miami’s Club Liv over who the “0 to 100” beat was meant for first. Drake laughs at the idea that Diddy could have made it a hotter song than he did.

6. “6PM in New York,”
Aimed at: Tyga (and possibly Childish Gambino)
Lyric: “I heard a li’l li’l homie talking reckless in VIBE/ Quite a platform you chose, you shoulda kept it inside/ Oh you tried it, it’s so childish calling my name on the world stage/ You need to act your age and not your girl’s age.”
Tyga discussed his woes with Cash Money in a VIBE interview, and he also had some harsh words for Drake. So Drake decides to not only take aim at Tyga, but also his rumored girlfriend, 17-year-old Kylie Jenner.

Gambino took the stage in Australia last summer to declare that he was better than everybody, including Drake, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. “Nah, I ain’t Drake. I sing better, I do better, my shit’s wetter,” he rapped in a freestyle to a rowdy crowd.

7. “6PM in New York”
Aimed at: Jay Z
Lyric: “Yeah, boy you rappin’ like you seen it all/ You rappin’ like the Throne should be three of y’all.”
It’s not a shot, per se, but Drake really does see himself on Jay Z’s level these days. The back-and-forth on “Pound Cake” proved it.

8. “6PM in New York”
Aimed at: Kendrick Lamar
Lyric: “I got a backyard where money seems to come from trees.”
Drizzy offers one last parting shot on a track he recorded just before his 28th birthday. The “money trees” line not only references him once being “23 with a money tree” but Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees” from good kid, m.A.A.d city.

9. “6PM in New York”
Aimed at: Kanye West
Lyric: “I’m never ever scared to get some blood on my leaves.”
He doesn’t stop with Kendrick Lamar. He doesn’t fear Kanye West, with whom he’s had a cold war with for a long period of time. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty now.

10. “6PM in New York”
Aimed at: Mia Khalifa
Lyric: “Bitches alter my messages like we have words/ And stories about my life hit the Net like a bad serve.”
Drake’s dealt with groupie rumors for years, but none seemed weirder than porn star Mia Khalifa. She went on a Miami radio station to display how “cringeworthy” it was for Drake to try and woo her on social media.