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Drake Draws Crowd for ‘Thank Me Later’ Session Despite Leak

Despite the fact that Drake‘s debut album, ‘Thank Me Later,’ had leaked earlier that day, the Young Money rapper kept his head high last night inside New York City’s MSR Studios. Posted up in the studio’s control room, Drizzy played his album in its entirety for those in attendance, including Cash Money CEO Ronald “Slim” Williams, labelmate Birdman and a few family friends, who politely sat in the other room listening intently as Drake emceed the album.

“This is definitely a day where I don’t know if I could ever see this coming,” Drake said via video from the other room. “I’m honored that you all showed up and chose to dedicate your night to this.” He also explained that the album was driven and influenced by a lot of people, name-checking Nas (‘A rapper I feel I never understood’) and Jimi Hendrix (for ‘his performance and demeanor’), and stating that the album was truly influenced by family, money and women -– “the things that control my life.”

As Drake promised the crowds on his recent tour, the album kicked off with ‘Fireworks.’ The song, which features Alicia Keys, picked up right where ‘Fear’ left off on his Grammy-nominated EP ‘So Far Gone.’ Drake continued by admitting that ‘Karaoke’ — a track written with Francis and the Lights — was about a girl with whom he’s always been in love. “I sent the girl I wrote about this the other day,” he earnestly said. “She liked it, so it’s a good sign.”

Next up was ‘The Resistance,’ a track he calls “the most honest I’ve ever been on a record,” which segued into the album’s lead single, ‘Over,’ or the ode to “a lot of wild night, trying to have a good time.”

The rest of the session saw Drake providing listeners with brief introductions to the rest of the album, introducing ‘Fancy.’ “I was so hesitant to call this song ‘Fancy’ because The-Dream has one of the best songs of my generation with the same name.” But the highlight was the special ‘listening party version’ of his Jay-Z-assisted ‘Lights Up,’ which featured a shotgun verse from his incarcerated mentor Lil Wayne.

‘Thank Me Later’, which is set to be released via Universal Motown, is expected to hit stores June 15.

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