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'The Drake Effect' Part 1: How Drizzy Changed Mixtape Culture Forever

Our new miniseries explores the ways Drake has impacted hip hop since entering the game

Welcome to The Drake Effect, a weekly miniseries created by Fuse's Esteban Serrano in which we explore the various ways in which Aubrey "Drake" Graham has helped shape the culture at large. The first installment, "The Mixtape," features thoughts from Drizzy, 2 ChainzMeek Mill (!), Rich Homie Quan, Hot 97's Bobby Trends, Genius' Rob Markman and YouHeardThatNew's Low Key about the mixtape as a shifting art form.

"Dropped a mixtape, that shit sounded like a album
Who'da thought a country wide tour would be the outcome?"
–Drake, "Forever," August 2009

In February 2009, Drake dropped So Far Gone, a 17-song free digital release featuring Lil WayneBun BSantigold and packed with original beats. Fast-forward seven years and you can't get two inches down your social media feeds without encountering that day's new mixtape, or two mixtapes, or five.

"By no means was So Far Gone the first mixtape," says Markman, "but it felt like the first, because even though other artists were definitely dropping mixtapes at the time, this felt like an album."

Since his label debut in 2010, Drake has released an equal amount of mixtapes and albums, with 2015 seeing the arrival of If You're Reading This It's Too Late and, with Future, What a Time to Be Alive. "It's a very overwhelming thing to think of making an album, especially when you're not in the position of an artist that's signed and has the backing," Drake told Fuse back in the day. "I just thought it would be smarter to put free music out, and that was I didn't have to worry about clearing samples."

Watch the first part of The Drake Effect above, then come back next Wednesday, Feb. 3, for the second installment, "The Cosign." Update: It's here! Watch part two below.

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