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The Art History of Drake: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

A mood board from the 6.

February 13, 2015

Late last night, Drake dropped a surprise mixtape / sort-of album called If You're Reading This It's Too Late. The cover art was pretty surprising, too—a childish, sloppy handwriting with an apostrophe missing. Here's who actually made it, along with a guide to possible influences on its peculiar style.

That's Jim Joe's handwriting, not Drake's

Even before Virgil Abloh confirmed it on Instagram, we knew the handwriting on the cover didn't belong to Drake, but rather the god-level graffiti artist Jim Joe, who has covered New York and the world in his inimitable scrawl. Basically, the art for If You're Reading This It's Too Late mimics the announcement for Jim Joe's 2014 gallery show at The Hole, as seen below. The illusive artist is an OVO homie in general: Oliver El-Khatib has frequently posted his work on Instagram, and he seems to have drawn Drake's recent 6 tattoo. (Jim Joe has worked with Kanye West, too, on art for 2013's Yeezus, and with Abloh on Pyrex gear.)

But it looks a bit like Chick-fil-A

Or like something you'd find written on a urinal

Specifically, the urinal of Marcel Duchamp's famous Fountain, which Duchamp tagged "R. Mutt 1917." (Jim Joe, like Duchamp, uses everyday objects as surfaces for his works, and once even wrote RMUT on a bus stop.)

It's definitely a little The Shining

With a dash of Snapchat

Maybe it was all inspired by a children's book?

Seven years ago, the author Pseudonymous Bosch published a book by the same name. On the cover, Bosch's name is handwritten too. Coincidence!?

Or Explosions in the Sky?

The art's reminiscent of the band's album art for The Earth Is Not A Cold Place. (A very Drake sounding title, as well.)

Shout out to Calvin and Hobbes

And the Bill Waterson handstyle. Think I saw them on Drake's thank-you list somewhere?

Now go make your own!

Tech head Rik Lomas and artist Simon Whybray have whipped up a sweet and easy website, If You're Typing This It's Too Late, where you can type whatever petty thoughts cross your mind, and voila. See one of Bray's examples below. He even released a font, Drake Neue Regular, which you can download for free here.

The Art History of Drake: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late