Ranking Every Song From Drake's Surprise 'Dark Lane Demo Tapes': Critic's Pick

The 6 God has returned. Mere hours after OVO Sound’s announcement, Drake promptly dropped off his Dark Lane Demo Tapes at midnight on Friday (May 1), which came much to the delight of his quarantined fanbase. Rumors began to fly across social media Thursday afternoon regarding a quarantine pack, as The Boy later came through.

DLDT boasts tracks 14 in total. The collection of somewhat familiar tracks finds the Toronto native connecting with a range of artists that includes his long-rumored “Pain 1993” collab with Playboi Carti, getting into his drill bag alongside Fivio Foreign and Sosa Geek, his WATTBA partner-in-crime Future, Young Thug, and gives his stamp of approval to industry newcomer Giveon.

The project marks Drake’s first official release since serving up 2019’s best that never were Care Package, as this tape really signifies a temperature check heading into his highly anticipated sixth studio LP, which is slated to arrive this summer.

“My brothers @oliverelkhatib @ovonoel put together a lot of the songs people have been asking for (some leaks and some joints from SoundCloud and some new vibes),” Drake wrote. “DARK LANE DEMO TAPES out everywhere at midnight…also my 6th STUDIO ALBUM DROPPING SUMMER 2020!!! Lucky number 6.”

After sifting through Dark Lane Demo Tapes, give our song rankings a look below and see if you agree.

14. “Deep Pockets”

All aboard the Drake express. Aubrey kicks the locomotive into gear, as the piston sounds give the track a rough texture while welcoming listeners into his world. “Deep Pockets” isn’t quite “Tuscan Leather” on the intro scale, but the Scorpion throwaway is enough to cleanse the palate for what’s to come next.

13. “Pain 1993” Feat. Playboi Carti

Probably the most anticipated track of any to make the Dark Lane Demo Tapes cut, but also, the most underwhelming. Sadly, it had nothing to do with the 6 God either, as he played his role to a tee. Handing the baton off to Playboi Carti and his “baby voice” ad-libbing nearly derails the Pi’erre Bourne production into oblivion.

12. “Not You Too” Feat. Chris Brown

After setting the summer on fire with their “No Guidance” reuniting, Breezy faithful are going to be disappointed to find out he’s only sprinkled in on the doom-and-gloom record to amplify the sadness. Drake grapples with themes of betrayal and trust, as he realizes things will never be the same between him and another ex-flame. Time to begrudgingly move on for the 6 God. What a tease as far as the Brown feature.

11. “Chicago Freestyle”

Can we add this to Drake’s famed “AM/PM” series? If so, it doesn’t measure up to the weight of the series’ location predecessors. Drizzy throws R&B neophyte Giveon an alley-oop, as he goes on to open up about his toxic romantic ways and a certain love interest. The Sevn Thomas-produced freestyle takes an odd turn when the 33-year-old interpolates Eminem’s flow from 2002’s “Superman” on the pre-chorus.

10. “Toosie Slide”

Drake nearly broke TikTok with his streaming friendly “Toosie Slide” dance craze that had just about everybody and their momma moving. The dance-heavy tune helped Drake make history, as he became the first male act to ever debut three arrivals atop the Billboard Hot 100. Less than a month later, it feels as if the formulaic track’s time came and went with the wind, as some cultural critics such as radio host Charlamagne Tha God deemed the song’s boosting tactics to be “below” Drake’s level of artistry.

9. “Desires” Feat. Future

“Desires” served as the unofficial follow-up to the commercial “Life Is Good,” as the tune never hit streaming services before Friday and only lived on the OVO SoundCloud. The WATTBA chemistry never fails, but two things really jump out. The outro change is brilliant, as Drake takes audio from his IG Live the night he went into the vault last month.

Secondly, Drake’s pen is still razor-sharp. After teasing a certain Instagram model about all the vacations she takes, he exposes her being from Atlanta with some shrewd wordplay. “You come from a city where there’s lean with the rocks in it,” he rhymes.

8. “War”

The Toronto native temporarily became Santa Claus on 2019’s Christmas Day when he put his U.K. flow to use over a cold beat from the drill genre’s go-to producer, AXL Beats. Drake somberly narrates his come-up in the music game and even touches on squashing a feud with fellow Canada luminary The Weeknd. The next Drake song is always a welcome sight, but this one seems to be more lyrical exercise than pushing his artistic boundaries.

7. “Time Flies”

Drake floats on the woozy OZ production. Sometimes, he just makes it look too easy. It’s as if “Time Flies” evolves from a text message, then expanding to his notes section, and finally ends up as lyrics laid down in the booth. Drizzy admitted this was the backup plan or “alternate” to his “Life Is Good” collab with Future. Any direction he goes is sure to do damage on the charts.

6. “D4L Freestyle” Feat. Future & Young Thug

An homage to the ex-ATL rap collective, but the Southside production could’ve soundtracked a Rush Hour fight scene. The amusing triumvirate of Drake, Thug, and Future take turns dominating the opposition with ease like they were members of the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics. Drizzy compares himself to Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen on the track, but he’s definitely more Michael Jordan than Pip at this point in his career.

5. “Losses”

Built around a quarantined IG Live session between Drake and his father, the 6 God writes with his Cartier pen until it’s out of ink. Drake said it himself, “I’m not tryna make no song, these are cold facts.” Greatness happens when you least expect it, and Drizzy seemingly puts forth an MVP type of effort letting the chopper sing with extended verses that are some of the strongest on the entire project.

4. “Landed”

Cartier pens sold out in three, two, one…. There aren’t many things more valuable than the social currency that comes with a Drake shout-out. Like balling in a pair of Air Jordan’s, could rappers follow Drizzy’s lead and keep their luxe pen game on point? A braggadocios, care-free Drake is always fun to hear, as he dishes out a slight flex about boarding his private Air Drake plane, but can you really blame him?

3. “From Florida With Love”

Drake meets the Plugg. Drizzy’s first collab on a Mexiko beat isn’t one to be missed, as the muffled production brings some premier storytelling out of Drake. He reflects on the seminal moment of meeting Kobe Bryant for the first time in Miami, but not being able to talk to Kobe about that with him anymore has pierced his heart. “Rest in peace to Static, yelling ‘Shawty want a thug,’ ayy Bottles in the club, ayy, know I love to touch/ Weezy played that shit for me and Kobe on the bus,” Drake reminisces.

2. “Demons” Feat. Fivio Foreign & Sosa Geek

Drake enters the world of Brooklyn Drill to see if he can hang with a couple of New Yorkers in their element. As usual, Drizzy’s star shines bright on the menacing tune, flowing over the heavenly production with his U.K. accent. The 6 God shouts out two of BK’s finest in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, then co-signs Fivio by making use of his slang. “Viral, movie. I’m in this b—h with the wooski,” he raps.

1. “When to Say When” 

Drizzy salutes Jay-Z by rhyming over his The Blueprint classic “Song Cry.” He then spills his heart out all over the candid track, which finds him traveling across NYC for the visual, as he even makes a stop at Hov’s Marcy Projects in Brooklyn. “Ayy, thirty-three years, I gave that to the game/ Thirty-three mil, I’ll save that for the rain/ Five hundred weeks, I fill the charts with my pain,” he raps. An emotionally reflective Drake strips him of his superpowers and seems to make him most relatable to his audience.