If You're Reading This It's Too Late received generally positive reviews and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first week sales of 495,000 copies and 40,000 for online streaming crs, making this Drake's fourth time at the top of the chart. The mixtape also broke Spotify's first-week streaming record with over 17.3 million streams in the first three days. It was previously held by Drake himself, with his album Nothing Was the Same (2013), with 15.146 million streams in the first week.
In July 2014, Drake announced the title of his fourth studio album to be Views from the 6, upon which recording had reportedly not begun. In November 2014, in an interview, Toronto Raptors basketball player DeMar DeRozan mentioned that Drake was intending to release a mixtape in January 2015. On February 12, 2015, Drake released a short film titled Jungle, which featured snippets of new songs such as "Know Yourself" and "Jungle".
In an interview with HipHopDX, DatPiff founder Kyle Reilly revealed that Drake was initially in talks to release If You're Reading This It's Too Late as a free download on DatPiff hosted by DJ Drama, before Cash Money Records intervened. Due to its release via digital download outlets such as iTunes and Amazon Music as well as physically in vinyl and CD formats, contractually it is considered his fourth studio album for Cash Money Records. The album's cover art was done by Canadian artist Jim Joe.
Drake hinted on his Instagram account of an alternate version of the project by DJ Candlestick and hosted by OG Ron C, titled If You're Choppin' This It's Too Late. This version was later released on April 14. The physical version of the album was also released on April 21, with two bonus tracks "How About Now" and "My Side" in stores as "collector's ion".
If You're Reading This It's Too Late was met with generally positive reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the mixtape received an average score of 78, based on 33 reviews. Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 7.4 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.Album of the Year assessed the critical consensus as 77 out of 100, based on 27 reviews.
Tim Sendra of AllMusic said, "It makes for an album that's hard to love right away, but if you stick with it, is a rewarding listen." Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club said, "Drake may not have an hour's worth of great songs here, but he does have an hour's worth of thoughts he needs to get off his chest."Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph said, "Drake is amongst the most musically and lyrical progressive proponents of his chosen medium, bringing a level of educated artiness and psychological self-awareness to a genre too often reliant on big beats and braggadocio." Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly said, "Late is hardly a throwaway. In fact, it might be his most consistently rewarding full-length yet." Eric Zaworski of Exclaim! praised the release's production, writing that it "revels in the hazy drone of the 'Toronto Sound' that OVO's 40 and Boi-1da helped define, with offerings from up-and-comers like Brampton's WondaGurl and PRIME's Eric Dingus rounding it out." Paul Lester of The Guardian said, "the former child TV star comes out fighting, amid machinegun fire, complaining about everyone from his peers to his family – but he convinces more as the original sad rapper."
Randall Roberts of Los Angeles Times said, "The 17 tracks read like a fed-up farewell note penned in Drake's typically introspective, first-person style. It's so fresh the ink's still wet: bracingly honest and filled with observations about the darkness just outside the circle of the spotlight." Kevin Ritchie of Now said, "Drake is increasingly astute at reframing hip-hop braggadocio about wealth and competition as a kind of existential crisis through telling--but now familiar--details about his life ("I got two mortgages $30 million in total") and subtle uses of melody and atmosphere." Craig Jenkins of Pitchfork said, "On If You're Reading This, all of this chest beating is delivered over the most darkly hypnotic beats Drake's graced since So Far Gone." Simon Vozick-Levinson of Rolling Stone said, "For the first time in his career, Drake doesn't sound like he wants to be remembered as one of the greats. This time, he just is." Andrew Unterberger of Spin said, "Too Late definitely scans as a transitional work, a transfixing moment-in-time sort of recording that sees an unprecedentedly fortified Drake firing off paranoid and power-drunk thoughts from his basement, sounding even lonelier than he does than when he specifically talks about feeling lonely."
Claire Lobenfeld of Fact said, "It's Too Late is a woozy, scattershot thing--Late Night Drake, if you will." Jim Farber of New York Daily News said, "The album ends up seeming more like a stop-gap than a surge ahead. For the first two-thirds, Drake relies on his usual sing-song style, stoking interest only with his inventive stretches in phrasing.... Otherwise, cooler hooks, melodic flashes of R&B, or great variation can be hard to find." Alex Denney of NME said, "For all the music's cagey intelligence, Drake sounds like the kind of guy who comes sauntering out the traps in a 100m race and immediately breaks out into a victory lap, pausing only to remonstrate with hecklers." Steve "Flash" Juon of RapReviews.com said, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late isn't that good.... There are definitely some songs that have commercial potential that I don't hate, and though I'd rather hear Drake rapping than singing, "Jungle" seems like the kind of track that with a few choice s could get radio play."
^Aku, Timmhotep; Drake, David; Reeves, Mosi; Lee, Christina; Shepherd, Julianne Escobedo; Turner, David; Weingarten, Christopher R. (December 23, 2015). "40 Best Rap Albums of 2015". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2016.