Pre-Thank Me Later (August 2009-June 2010)
Drake's pre-album single strategy that he'd later adopt for his 2nd and 3rd album wasn't really in effect during the time leading up to Thank Me Later, but there were a couple of releases that helped to generate hype for Drizzy's debut album. "Forever" was the biggest, setting us up for the impressive roster of features we'd find on the LP, as well as the hashtag-rap style he would use across most of the track's on the project (it appeared on the soundtrack to a Lebron James doc released that year). Later on, he put out "9AM in Dallas," which he expressed would have been the opening song on the album had it not come together at the last minute. This would be an important song in that it ignited the series that would include later installmemnts such as "5AM In Toronto" and "6PM In New York".
9AM In Dallas
A History Of Drake's Non-Album Singles
Pre-Thank Me Later (August 2009-June 2010)
Pre-Take Care (May-September 2011)
As he prepared his sophomore album, Drake introduced a new rollout strategy that found him releasing a collection of records in advance of the LP as standalone singles. Among these releases were "Dreams Money Can Buy," a song that sampled "BTSU," from then relatively new electronic act, Jai Paul, as well as "Club Paradise," an ode to his favorite West End strip club, and "Free Spirit," with Rick Ross, a regular collaborator of his at the time. He also released "Trust Issues," a slow R&B cut that used lyrics from his feature on DJ Khaled's "I'm On One," and was later remixed by The Weeknd, predicting Abel's large role on the writing side of Take Care.
"Marvin's Room" was also released in advance of the album, and was initially planned as yet another free track, but according to Drake, 40 later insisted that it be included on the album.
Dreams Money Can Buy
Pre-Nothing Was The Same (March-June 2013)
As Nothing Was The Same season began, Drake used an almost identical strategy to the one he did preceding Take Care, putting a number of songs leading up the the release date. "5AM In Toronto" was the first of these releases, arriving in March of 2013, and serving as a sequel to the aforementioned "9AM In Dallas". He followed it up with yet another Khaled collab in "No New Friends," and a Fauntleroy duet called "Girls Love Beyuonce". In June, he shared four new songs on the OVO blog, including guest appearances on tracks from PartyNextDoor and Migos. Two proper Drake cuts came out of this SoundCloud dump-- "Jodeci Freestyle," which paired him with J. Cole, and "The Motion," the former of which never getting placement while the latter landed on the NWTS deluxe edition.
5AM In Toronto
Girls Love Beyonce
Regular OVO SoundCloud Releases (December 2013-June 2014)
2014 was Drake's year off, which meant he didn't release a project, but made sure to keep the OVO SoundCloud regularly updated with new hits. Just before the new year, he dropped "We Made It," a freestyle over Soulja Boy's record of the same name, as well as "Trophies," which he hoped would become a NYE anthem. From there, he put out, "Days In The East," "Draft Day," and "0 to 100," the last of which would later be taken off SoundCloud and marketed as a proper single. It would go on to peak at #35 on the Hot 100, but never made it to an album.
We Made It
0 To 100
Days In The East
Leak Damage Control (October 2014)
Towards the end of the year, Drake's fanbase was getting ahead of him, as snippets of a number of unreleased songs began to circulate the web. In October of 2014 (Drizzy's favorite month), the rapper shared three songs that had been making the rounds in raw forms-- "6 God," "Heat Of The Moment," and "How Bout Now". "6 God" ended up making the cut of If You're Reading This It's Too Late, while the others remained as one-offs. "How Bout Now" was eventually tacked on to the IYRTITL deluxe edition, but as it seemed like a retroactive label decision, we've decided to include it.
How Bout Now (later added to IYRTITL deluxe)
Heat Of The Moment
OVO Radio Era (Summer 2015)
By 2015, Drake had begun premiering new music on his Beats 1 show, OVO Radio, and in the summer it kicked off, he dropped some pretty crazy exclusives, including "Sweeterman," his Ramriddlz remix, the immortal "Hotline Bling," that would take a few months to really catch on, and of course, "Charged Up," the first of two diss tracks aimed at Meek Mill. "Back To Back" would follow that run of releases a few days later, and would go on to be nominated for a Grammy. "Hotline Bling," of course, rose to number 2 on the Hot 100, making it the rapper's most successful song not attached to a project. You could say, this was the height of this particular release strategy.
Back To Back
Pre-Views (???) (January 2016-Present)
As we've seen from his previous rollouts, sometimes there's no way of knowing what will and will not go on to make the album. In advance of Views From The 6, there have been three songs dropped, none of which have been confirmed to make the cut. However, all of the songs have been shopped to iTunes, something Drake has learned can be a lucrative move, and with his new deal with Apple in effect, is likely just a part of his contract.
So the question is, will these records stand on their own when the album does surface sometime this month? Our guess is the answer is yes for "Pop Style" and One Dance," with "Summer Sixteen" potentially going the way of "Marvin's Room" or "Started From The Bottom," and making the cut. What do you think?
Listen to "Pop Style" and "One Dance" on iTunes.
Tinashe Postpones International Leg Of "Joyride" Tour To Finish Sophomore Album
With her album still not finished, Tinashe has called it quits on the International dates of her tour.
A look at Drake's large collection of loose tracks.
With Drake's "Hotline Bling" recently becoming his biggest hit to date, the rapper seems to have mastered the art of the standalone single. Drizzy has been using loose tracks as a means to promote his albums for a few years now, and he's only become more generous with the release of singles since the launch of his OVO Radio show.
Some of these tracks are among his best work, but it's easy for songs to fall through the cracks over the years if they are not attached to a larger project, so we've decided to go through Drake's catalog and put together all of his non-album releases from the last few years. Of course, we had to draw up a few guidelines. The songs selected had to be billed with Drake as the lead artist, therefore disqualifying DJ Khaled collaborations or remixes where the original artists remain on the bill. Finally, we're only counting official releases here, no sketchy leaked tracks.
All in all, it's a pretty impressive collection of records, and we're sure that one day Drake will make a point of releasing it as some sort of compilation, but until then, you'll have to settle for flipping through our galleries.