by: Thomas K. Welker, @thomaskwelker
August 24th, 2016


Yesterday Drake took to his flagship music outlet OVO Sound Radio to premiere a group of songs including a feature with Gucci Mane, a Bankroll Fresh single, and Justin Bieber’s “One Dance” Remix. The real standout however, was “4PM in Calabasas” adding a fourth record in his AM-PM series. While Drake’s pop hits might have him known for his crooning, he releases the “__AM-PM in _______” songs to let off some shots and remind us that he still has bars. I’m breaking down each track from worst to best.

4. 9AM in Dallas

9AM in Dallas is by far the least potent of the series. Recorded in 2010, Drake has said that he wanted this to originally be the intro track to Thank Me Later but it was too late into the mixing as mastering of the album. While the AM-PM series is known more for airing out complaints against rappers and giving personal information about Drake, 9AM in Dallas features a lot more braggadocio and shout outs. It wasn’t quite the view into Drake’s personal life we came to expect but it fits with the Drake of 2010.

3. 6PM in New York

This was the only song in the series to actually be featured on a Drake project and it was a huge jump up from 9AM in Dallas. This is was typical Drake clearly calling out Tyga without saying his name, which is a bit corny but its also the Drake we know. This was also just the beginning of Drake’s rebrand, don’t forget that after this was WATTBA with Future, his infamous beard and style changing, and of course his Hotline Bling video. The bars were hard, the disses were specific, and it made for a great track.

2. 4PM in Calabasas

There probably hasn’t been enough listening for this to truly sink in but Drake is at his peak right now culturally and in the rap game. You can’t tell him anything; so what we see here is the comfort of being at the peak of rap. Taking shots at Budden and Puff, again without saying names, as well as getting off a few humble brags Drake still finds time to deliver it all in clean tight flow.

1. 5AM in Toronto

So many quotables here. “That’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake.” Drake’s flow comes harder than ever, the disses are not only clever but painful. You hear the hunger in his voice. This is by far the most impressive of the series not to mention the production is so far ahead of any of the others. 5AM in Toronto is Drake at his best rapping and let everyone know he wasn’t just singing and making catchy hooks.

I want to hear what you think. Did I get these right or do you think they should have been picked in a different way? Tweet me @thomaskwelker and I’ll give you a RT and a fair chance to give your opinion.