Johnny Nunez

Last night, the heavens parted and dropped new Drake into our lives. Naturally, the world collectively freaked out. Some thanked all that is Drizzy, some were perplexed, and some were too busy trying to decipher his lyrics to be bothered. 

But If You're Reading This It's Too Late could be more than meets the eye. Since this is the Internet, after all, conspiracy theories have started flying. Beyond the buzz over whether Drake threw in yet another diss to Tyga, some in the music community think that the rapper released this album as a way to circumvent his current record deal with Cash Money Records. 

Since we're total suckers for conspiracies, we decided to let ourselves be sucked down the black hole of rap feud theories. We didn't find any evidence of The Illmunati this time around, but we did find out a few fascinating things about Drake.

The background: In case you don't spend your time following the occasionally petty bickering between business partners, here's a bit of a refresher on the Cash Money situation. Drake's friend, mentor, and frequent collaborator Lil Wayne has been having a very public spat with Birdman, the CEO and co-founder of Cash Money records. Birdman also happens to have played a part in Wayne's successful career, so this all runs pretty deep.

Wayne's forthcoming album Tha Carter V has been seeing some setbacks, including several delayed release dates, and in December of last year he took to Twitter to unleash a straight-up rant. 

Then he made good on his fighting words and sued Birdman and Cash Money for a whopping $51 million. We'll spare you the dry legal details, but basically it seems Wayne thinks that the record company owes him money for Tha Carter V and wants to be let out of his contract because of what he claims is alleged mishandling.

How Drake fits in: For better or worse, Lil' Wayne and Drake basically go hand in hand. Not only did Wayne discover Drake, but Drake is one of the stars signed to Young Money Entertainment, which is an imprint of Cash Money Records. There's been a lot of talk about how Wayne is planning to take Drake, along with his other protégé Nicki Minaj, with him if (or, rather, when) he leaves Cash Money for good. Drake hadn't said a whole lot about the matter—until now.

How If You're Reading This It's Too Late changes things: Before last night, the official plan for Drake was to release a studio album later this year titled Views From the 6 (announced by Billboard last summer). Fans (and the Twitterverse) have also been buzzing about a possible free Drake mixtape dropping. But what we got is something in between.

The terms of Drake's contract with Cash Money Records aren't available to the public, but it's no secret that his deal was reportedly to produce four studio albums. If If You're Reading qualifies as such, that would mean that the terms of his contract are satisfied and he's free to move elsewhere if he wants. As you can see, this is all very convenient timing considering Lil Wayne's desires to take his artists and run from Cash Money. You're probably thinking "Wow, that sounds really straightforward. This whole debate is now wrapped up neatly." Alas, it's never that easy. Especially when you're dealing with the diva-esque actions of very famous and very rich rappers.

We still have some questions: For starters, is Drake's new music an album or a mixtape? It certainly plays like a mixtape, with no radio-ready singles, but it's on iTunes and, well, costs money. And is Drake still sitting on the album he originally announced, Views From the 6? He could have just changed the name and dropped it early to get his contract requirements out of the way. Or, he could be saving the actual album for release if and when this Cash Money/Young Money split actually happens. In our opinion that's the more likely scenario, but if last night proved anything, it's that you never really know with Drake.

What's your take on this conspiracy theory? Real or imagined? And whose side are you on? Let us know in the comments!

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