The premise of If You're Reading This It's Too Late, a short film about an obsessive Drake fan, is cribbed from a Biggie track off of Life After Death, but also from a long legacy of fans-turned-killers: "It's almost like you're nobody until somebody kills you," the film's unnamed protagonist paraphrases, before preparing a plan to murder Drake so that he can live forever by dying at his peak. The project, written and directed by NYU student Chris Cole for a final class project, turns the title of Drizzy's latest record into a death threat, slowly revealed through a macabre monologue in which the fan in question intersperses Drake lyrics and references with stan-level insight about the rapper's importance, and concludes that nothing would be worse than following up his Coachella 2015 performance with another letdown.
The first time I watched IYRTITL, I shrugged it off as an entertaining totem of fandom. Having watched it a few more times over the course of the past day, though, it strikes me as more than just dark fiction. Twenty years after the anniversary of Selena's death at the hands of a crazed fan, the public's relationship with those they idolize has changed wildly. Since Drake could very well double-tap one of your Instagram pictures, or slide into your Twitter DMs, or come to your house at the behest of an online campaign set up by your friends, the physical boundaries that once clearly separated regular people from celebrities have blurred. While the film's murder plot is disturbing, the psychotic break that prompts it is in fact not completely absurd: When the protagonist whispers to himself, "Is Drake real? Drake thinks you're soft. Drake didn't come to your bar mitzvah. Drake forgot your birthday," it's because he's probably not the only one thinking those things.
A request for comment from OVO was not immediately returned, but Cole, the student, told The FADER that the film went over well at school. "I haven't actually got a grade yet," he said. "After screening it, though, my professor thought it was really entertaining, and appreciated the work. I was surprised because I wasn't sure how accessible the film would be to people who either don't know or don't care about Drake. There's a couple different layers to it, and I'm glad that it seems people are picking it apart and taking time to understand what's going on."