One of the most influential mixtapes in hip hop history, So Far Gone, turned 10-years-old today. That mixtape turned Aubrey Graham, a TV actor that only teenage girls were moderately aware of, into Drizzy Drake, one of the hottest rappers in the world that lit the charts on fire before ultimately joining forces with Lil Wayne.
This may have been one of those instances where an album hits you at just the right time. At 19 years old, experiencing living on your own, meeting new people, drinking a bit too much, beginning and ending relationships, Drake struck a chord with me as a college kid.
I’ll never forget back in late 2008 when I was a sophomore in college and our school sent around a questionnaire asking which artist we’d like to see perform at the spring concert. Well Drake was on that list and I vividly remember saying we need to book this guy now because he is about to blow up and that’ll be the end of liberal arts college concerts for Drake.
Naturally the school went in another direction and a few months later Drake dropped So Far Gone.
Off that mixtape Drake released the singles Best I Ever Had, which went double Platinum, and Successful, which hit No. 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Off a mixtape. You just didn’t see mixtape music cut into the mainstream like that in 2009. Featuring collabs with guys like Trey Songz, Lloyd, Omarion, Bun B, and of course Lil Wayne, So Far Gone put Drake on the map. Complex ranked it the fifth best mixtape of the decade.
A few months after that Drake dropped one of the biggest rap collabs of all time with Forever featuring Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Eminem.
If So Far Gone put Drizzy on the map, Forever turned him into the biggest star on the planet. Drake wouldn’t even drop his debut album Thank Me Later until the following summer in 2010 so he’s come a looong way.
You see successful unsigned artists everywhere these days, with Chance the Rapper being the most prominent, but Drake was the first to not only crack into the mainstream, but become the biggest thing in music, all without a deal. He did this obviously with excellent music featuring some big name collabs, but the guy built a bigger buzz on the still emerging social media platforms unlike any artist had before him.
So I’ve always been bummed I missed out on seeing Drake before he became the mega star that he is today, but I did finally get to see a Drizzy show when he was at the garden in 2018.
A decade later.