Drake’s label situation has been the subject of speculation for at least four years now, since the surprise release of his mixtape-album If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late in February 2015. And on his double album, Scorpion, released today (June 29) on “Is There More,” the final track on Side A, Drake raps: “Soon as this album drop I’m out of the deal.”
That immediately caught some listeners’ ears, kicking up conversations about whether he had now fulfilled his obligations to Young Money/Cash Money and was now a free agent. A rep for Republic, YMCMB’s longtime distributor, declined to comment, but sources tell Billboard that Drake will remain in the Universal Music Group family for the significant future.
Despite exclusive deals Drake made with Apple Music surrounding the releases of Views and More Life, and growing debate over whether an act of Drake’s stature still needs a record label in the traditional sense in the streaming era, even Drake has plenty of reasons to stay in the major-label system, sources say.
It isn’t clear, though, what his next act will look like, though. Drake has played around with the concept of what actually constitutes an album — both IYRTITL and 2015’s Future collab What A Time To Be Alive were considered “mixtapes”; More Life was memorably called a “playlist.”
Since signing with YMCMB in 2009, Drake has released four full-length albums (Thank Me Later, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same and Views) and one double-album (Scorpion); two commercial mixtapes (IYRTITL and WATTBA, the latter released jointly with Epic); and one “playlist” album, More Life; for a total of nine commercial releases, if Scorpion is counted twice.