03 May 2020

"From Florida with Love" by Drake (2020)

I still remember the first time I ever seen/heard Drake.  It was on the music video to the 2010 track Miss Me.  The clip starts off with like firecrackers and Drake doing Michael Jackson moves or some sh*t, and I was sitting there like 'look at this nigga'.  But lo and behold, not only did he drop a duet with Lil Wayne but also proved, lyrically, to be his equal.  And this was back when Weezy, who I still consider to be the best lyricist in rap music, was at his peak.

The cover art to Drake's Dark Lane Demo Tapes (2020)
As you're probably well aware, between that time and now Drake has established himself as the number-one emcee in hip-hop.  And accordingly, he is extravagantly rich.  But at the same time he isn't resting on his laurels despite this lofty position.  In fact he had already dropped a couple of tracks this year before releasing a surprise mixtape, the Dark Lane Demo Tapes, just yesterday.

Now despite his exceptional talent, I won't go as far as to label myself a Drake fan for a couple of reasons.  But that doesn't mean I don't give respect where respect is due.  And there is one track in particular from the mixtape that caught my eye, so I decided to do some research on it.  Said track is called From Florida with Love, but it really doesn't have jacksh*t to do with the Sunshine State per se.  In fact it seems the reason he named the song so is because, according to Genius, he recorded it in Miami while concurrently recording his ridiculously-successful Scorpion (2018) album.


The reason this song is so interesting in comparison to others on the project is that this isn't a case of Drake just bragging or talking about shorties as usual.  Rather he raps about some specific incidents from his life.  For instance it seems that he was robbed in his hometown, Toronto, back in 2009.  Dudes pointed a gun at his face, in which he promptly handed over thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and cash.  However a couple of the thieves didn't get very far as, in the excitement, they drove the wrong way down a one-way street.  This resulted in them catching the attention of the police who arrested two of them, with the third apparently getting away.  However the one who did get away apparently went home with "around $4000 and a new that Lil Wayne had given" Drake.  And Drizzy himself went on to say that, considering the way the whole scene went down, he believes it was a setup.

Now of course Drake doesn't get into this much detail concerning the incident in the song.  Rather in keeping with the machismo standard which defines rap music he lets it be known that yes, he did find himself in a position where he took a loss.  However "that lesson stuck" with him, and since then he doesn't travel "without a Plugg".  Now said "Plugg" is actually a shoutout to one of the track's producers, MexikoDro.  But all things considered we can say that in this particular case he is also referring to a firearm.

However Drizzy also comes off as being humble when recounting the incident, as he states that since then he "never saw the point in talking tough".  But of course anyone who is acutally familiar with his music knows that he is able to levy lyrical threats with the best of them.  Indeed even when he concludes the story he kinda deduces that the reason anyone hasn't tried to rob him since is because now "niggas know what's up".  And of course he being robbed hasn't diminished love for his hometown, as right after telling this story he lets it be known that whom he is sending his 'love from Florida' to is "the 6ix", which is a slang term for Toronto.

Drake was a courtside regular at NBA games.  So of course he had
the opportunity to personally interact with Kobe Bryant even after
first meeting him, on Lil Wayne's tour bus, in 2008. 
Also on From Florida with Love he tells the story of the time he met "Kobe on the bus".  The "Kobe" he is referring to is none other than Kobe Bryant, who sadly passed away a few months before this track was released.

The way he met the Black Mamba, completely unexpectedly, was that Kobe was actually hooking up with Lil Wayne, who was also present, to receive a copy of Lollipop (2008).  And whereas a lot of people have used the opportunity - for lack of a better word - of Kobe's death to jump on the mourning bandwagon, I think it's safe to say that Drake was a true fan.  For instance the video embedded above, as provided by TMZ, was shot in Drizzy's indoor-personal basketball court(!).  And as you can see he has retired - so to speak - both of Kobe Bryant's jersey numbers.  Also shortly before the release of From Florida with Love, Drake also paid tribute to Kobe on the music video to his hit song, Toosie Slide (2020).


From Florida with Love sounds exactly as advertised, like a demo, as in a track that hasn't been worked on extensively, and perhaps the lyrics have only been recorded once.  But of course considering how popular Drake is, this hasn't stopped it from still reaching damn near 21 million views on YouTube in a single day.


As aforementioned Drake is a talented lyricist, but he isn't necessarily known for writing raps all by himself.  Maybe it's just a technicality, but in this case in addition to himself both of the track's producers, 40 and MexikoDro, are also credited as songwriters.

MexikoDro is an artist from the ATL who has worked extensively with rappers from that region, such as Playboi Carti.  Meanwhile 40, according to Genius, is one of "Drake's main musical partner(s)", a member of Drizzy's OVO label and has even worked with the rapper on some of his biggest hits such as Marvin's Room (2011) and From Time (2013).  And in both of those songs also he is credited as a writer.  So I guess by this time it would be logical that he's familiar enough with Drake to help him write tracks.

Drake's own label, OVO Sound, put this song out in conjunction with Republic Records and the Universal Music Group.  I don't know the dynamics of rappers starting their own labels, but it seems rare that they're able to put tracks out exclusively under their own power.


Wow, this turned out to be a pretty-lengthy post for a four-minute song, and I didn't even touch upon most of its lyrics.  But it's usually interesting when a really-popular rapper talks about specific incidents from his life which don't necessarily involve f*cking, doing drugs or spending money as usual - in other words generally-relatable events, if you will.

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