“Honestly, Nevermind,” Drake’s seventh proper studio LP, was released to streaming services at midnight on Friday, having been officially announced only hours earlier on Drake’s social media accounts. With 14 tracks, it is a relatively short collection for the superstar rapper-singer. (“Certified Lover Boy,” which came out last September, had 21 songs.)
The new album’s producers include longtime collaborators like Noah Shebib (known as 40), Oliver El-Khatib (who is also one of Drake’s managers) and Noel Cadastre, as well as Black Coffee, a South African D.J. who came up through the underground and in recent years has worked with stars like David Guetta and Usher.
In a note attached to the album on Apple Music, Drake said that “Honestly, Nevermind” was dedicated to Virgil Abloh, the influential fashion designer who had a long association with Kanye West, and died last year at age 41 from cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare kind of cancer.
Fans had been expecting something new from Drake since at least March, when he posted a picture of himself in a recording studio. On the contrary, “Certified Lover Boy” had been bruitedabout for nearly a year. Drake’s announcement for “Honestly, Nevermind” came just hours after Beyoncé — the undisputed champion of surprise album releases — made her own statement, uncharacteristically giving a six-week heads up for her next release, “Renaissance,” which will be her first solo studio album since “Lemonade” in 2016.
“Honestly, Nevermind” comes as the rapper has taken greater control over his career. Last month, the Universal Music Group announced that it had signed a wide-ranging deal with Drake covering recordings, music publishing and other businesses like merchandise and visual projects. Terms have not been disclosed, but its value has been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.