February 13, 2009 was a Friday. It wasn’t a normal Friday though, it was a day that would forever go down in history for changing music as we know it. On that day four years ago Drake released So Far Gone. It was not like a normal mixtape release by a normal rapper. This was a collection of songs that has since propelled Drake into super stardom and opened a lane for a certain style of music.
Let us first dive into the music of “SFG” before we talk about the vast culture ramifications it had. It was 17 tracks. 17 tracks filled with a sound that had to yet to be fully explored and taken advantage of. It was a mix of soulful-new age production and a certain enthusiasm that blended perfectly with Drake’s ability to sing and rap. Songs like “Houstalantavegas,” “November 18th” and “Uptown” take listeners on a journey to Houston that will make any fan of southern rap smile. It was only right that Drizzy recruited Bun B for a verse on “Uptown.” It was picture perfect, in fact picture perfect is one of the best ways to describe this project. Every track flowed into the next with a pure effortless feel, like any other song arrangement just wouldn’t make sense. Not only was Drake able to make a mixtape that had plenty of underground fan favorites, but he was also able to include cuts that would take off and become commercial hits. Insert “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful.” Upon first listen you could already tell that both would be extremely popular on their own. That is the beauty of this project, it had a certain something for everyone. It satisfied every realm of a music fan. Nobody could complain about the music. What makes this so much more important is that it wasn’t just the music that lead to it’s everlasting impact.
To fully understand the impact of this mixtape let us just look at this past weekend. Drake received his first GRAMMY award and announced his third studio album Nothing Was The Same. Would any of this be possible without SFG? Absolutely not. That one project catapulted Drake into a new sphere and broaden his impact to an international level. He accomplished a feat that a rapper from Toronto had never done. He rode the anticipation of one project into super stardom.
There was a lot of anticipation for the mixtape. Sure people get excited for releases from artists all the time, but not like this. The music community was ready for this release and camped out on his site waiting for the project to drop. They were ready to see if he made the progression they knew was possible after his previous mixtape. Ready to see if he could hold his own on songs with Lil Wayne, who was featured on three songs on SFG. Ready to see if he could put Toronto on his back and lead them to the promise land. Everyone was watching what he would do. Releasing later than previously planned only fueled the hype. LeBron James even made the trip to Toronto that next week to host the release party with Drake. That was the celebration, the time to rejoice the release of a mixtape that changed music. Did they know about the impact at the time? No way they could they have thought it could do what it did, but they had to know they had something special. The appreciation for the project only grows by the year and through the progression that Drake has made since then. He has become one of the most dependable artists in music. Every track he appears on, whether it be a verse or hook, you fully expect some fire. He delivers every single time, and that goes back to SFG. The world was watching and he delivered in a way nobody could expect. He lived up to every expectation and then some. The power of this one project still reigns supreme and forever will. The music will forever be there and will never fade. It is immortal and by every definition of the word classic.
So at this point four years after the release of SFG, remember what it meant and what it has led too. It opened a lane for too many things in music to name. It launched a career of one of the most popular artists in music. It showed kids that they don’t have to make music about selling drugs and killing people to make it. It showed fans that music can still have a soul in it. Mostly it reminded the world that you can take a dream as far as you believe it can go. So as Drake preps his third studio album Nothing Was The Same for the world, remember that after So Far Gone it really wasn’t the same.
OS REWIND: Drake – Started From The Bottom [Video]--