One of the most ambitious tracks on Drake’s Thank Me Later is The-Dream duet “Shut It Down,” a sweeping number about seduction that clocks in at nearly seven minutes. Unfortunately for Drake, an unfinished version of the song leaked three months before the release of his debut album.
The final product is a slow-grinding effort that comes to a climax with a Drake rap after the pair croon throughout their respective verses. A second leak, “Darlin’ ” featuring Lil Wayne, and the “9 AM in Dallas” freestyle, an urgent battle-style rap — both of which were recorded after Thank Me Later’s deadline — are pretty much the only faults Drake found with his debut.
“The saddest part to me is that I would have made ‘9 AM in Dallas’ the intro for the album, but I did it the day of mastering, which is crazy, so it couldn’t make the album,” Drake told MTV News. “That’s probably my greatest upset, was the fact that it couldn’t be on the physical disc and be a part of that album. ‘Darlin’ ‘ was a loss just because it was never mixed, and every time I hear it in the club, you can never really hear the words. I think the words are the best part of that song. I think Wayne painted such a vivid picture. I tried to come in and add my little two cents at the end.
“Most of the music made it,” he continued. “Most of the music we held for a long time, and the stuff that did leak, it was pretty good references. It wasn’t anything I was too upset about. ‘Shut It Down’ leaking early was painful. I think it could have been a bigger record had it not been out there so long. And ‘Fall for Your Type’ I wish was on there, but I have other plans for that record, so it’s gonna be good.”
Despite records leaking and the Toronto lyricist’s album arriving online before its June 15 due date, Drake told MTV News on the day of Thank Me Later’s release that he never considered changing his plans for putting the project out.
“They tried to force me into a situation — I’m not sure if it was the label — [but] somebody tried to force me into a situation and drop the album June 9,” Drake said. “I really was like, ‘June 9 isn’t enough time to let them digest all the leaked music. If they got the music already, let’s let them listen to it. Let’s give them that two weeks to ride around to it and talk to their friends about it.’ ‘Cause that way, when they show up to the store, there’s no pressure — you know what you’re buying. You’re just going to support an artist you love and music you believe in.”