Dear Drake,

These days it seems like everywhere we turn, all we see is Young Money. Between Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and Nicki Minaj's The Pink Print, it seemed like Birdman's flock was gearing up for something big. Then you dropped a bomb on us: your next album, your fourth since your 2010 debut, would be called Views From The 6, a reference to your hometown of Toronto. Not only that, but Billboard found a clue in your track "0 To 100" where you hinted that your next project would be dropping in Spring 2015. So now we know—all three Young Money heavyweights are about to tip the hip-hop scales firmly in their favor. The plan is in motion.

But, naturally, that got us at XXL thinking. Nothing Was The Same felt, in a way, like you'd climbed the mountain that you'd set out to defeat when you arrived with your massive mixtape So Far Gone in 2009. The progression had been steady up until then—you'd gone from hopeful to self-assured to the top, and in three albums you were finally there, wherever there was. It was set up to feel like a moment, to feel like we had a new Sheriff in town to take over from Lil Wayne as the next in line with a legitimate claim to the "Best Rapper Alive," however arbitrary that title is. But something happened along the way, and suddenly hip-hop was split down the middle; Kendrick Lamar had ridden an instantly classic debut album—given a XXL rating by us, something only seven other rappers have ever received—all the way to the summit, too. Suddenly the path wasn't as clear as it seemed.

So now here we are, waiting for your fourth album. The countdown has started and there's still plenty to accomplish. But how will you do it? Do you start your own franchise, like Weezy did with his fourth solo album, Tha Carter? Do you refine your craft and affirm your position, like Hova's Vol. 3? Or do you flip the script entirely and go rogue, leading hip-hop into an alternate dimension, like Kanye's 808s And Heartbreak?

Wherever you go, we know there's only really one goal for you—coronation. After this, if all goes according to plan, the world is at your feet. You could go into acting full time. You could expand your brand and broaden your business horizons. You could take a step back and build your label and work full time on developing your artists. Or, if the thrill of the competition keeps you coming back for more, you could keep pushing forward and fight to stay on the throne for as long as possible.

Of course, before all that happens, Kendrick is likely to have his say first. And you never know when another young gun will come out of nowhere and spit his way into the fray, or if Weezy can reclaim the form that made him the hottest rapper in the galaxy on Tha Carter III, or if Nicki can finally shed those ridiculous gendered headlines that have somehow kept her out of these conversations. Hell, even your sort-of-friends, sort-of-enemies Jay and 'Ye could come steal the crown. But until any of that comes into play, we've thought up 12 things we'd like to see on Views From The 6. You can take it from here. —XXL Staff


Gun For The Top

Take shots at Hov and Kendrick and anybody else you see who is in your way, because they've both done it to you at this point. Name names and don't try and shy away from a diss or try and bury it in an ambiguous line. If you're not being clear about why you should be considered the best rapper alive, or the hottest rapper on the planet, or whatever it is, then people will always be left wondering if you were really calling someone out or if you just stumbled into a clever line. You've waited long enough and skirted around it long enough. It's time you set your sights on the mountaintop and push the pedal to the floor.


Keep Expanding Sonically

Every album so far has included at least 8 tracks by 40, but some of your best songs lately—"Worst Behaviour," "Trophies," "We Made It"—were produced by DJ Dahi, Hit-Boy and PurppDogg, respectively. No one wants you to cut out 40, Boi-1da or T-Minus completely because that's such a staple of your sound. But experimenting even further is what took Kanye from being a conscious backpack rapper who had captured the mainstream to being the leading musical force in hip-hop. Experimentation might not come off every time, but you'll get all the credit if it works.


Lighten Things Up Sometimes

You kind of started doing that by acknowledging DeGrassi on NWTS, but we all saw you on Saturday Night Live, and we know you can be funny when you want to be. It's okay to be funny and ridiculous sometimes; every great could use a "Backseat Freestyle" every once in a while. Sometimes it seems like when you go into "rapper mode" you forget that there is more to hip-hop than aggressive braggadocio or bitter and mournful romantic failures. If you step outside that box, maybe you can reach a wider audience and speak on a broader range of topics. And make us laugh, too. You did a pretty good job at that last night hosting the ESPYs.


Stop Rapping About Being Underrated

We get it—you started from the bottom and now you're here, but you still don't have any trophies. Except you do—Take Care won a Grammy for Best Rap Album. But if you wanna be the King, you gotta act like the King, and that means looking down on your haters and slapping them around, not looking sideways at them and giving them dirty looks out of the corner of your eye.

When Jay was ready, he told the world that he may not have been better than B.I.G., but he was the closest one. When Weezy was ready, he literally dropped a song called "The Best Rapper Alive." Kendrick just placed himself in the Top Five, Dead Or Alive. It's your time to take it, if you want it.


Bring Some Guests Along

On NWTS, Jay Z was the only featured rapper on the entire project. You've proven over the past year that you can carry a track all the way through on your own, and that you don't really need any help. So why not mix it up a little? Hip-hop is dying for the type of track that Biggie and Meth brought with "The What," something where two top level MCs weave back and forth and work with each other to craft a real classic record. You can do it because nobody else is going to. And isn't your goal to stand out with something great? And if you're worried about being out-rapped on your own project, just think again back to Hov—he recovered pretty well from Eminem's lyrical slaughter on "Renegade," didn't he?



Rap Your Ass Off 

Things like this. "0-100/The Catch Up," "Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2," "The Calm" and "Say What's Real" are all lyrically formidable tracks with no hooks (save for the "Real Quick" section of "0 To 100") that feature you spitting for, sometimes, three minutes straight. No gimmicks, no fluff, no extras need, just bars and concepts and fiery flows. There are plenty of technically gifted rappers who can't connect to the mainstream, and there are plenty of bad rappers with massive hits; you have the ability to combine both of those and crush the competition. That's what we'd like to see more of.


Let The Best Rappers In The Game Elevate You

Have a track with Kanye. Grab a feature from Wayne. Let Nicki loose and finally squash the rumors around the deterioration around your guys' relationship. Feed off the competitive energy that you clearly have bottled up in your music and use it to challenge yourself and your fans to a hip-hop slugfest. Look at a song like "Monster." Look at a track like "1 Train." These types of songs force everyone to raise their game and come to the booth ready and waiting to battle it out. Let's see more of that.


Unleash OVO

We've heard bits and pieces from PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan and OB O'Brien. Bring them all along and let's see what the whole roster can do together on a track, and let the world see them on the biggest platform you can give them. Let's see what you saw in signing them in the first place.


Make A Song With Your Dad

We already know you two have been in the studio; "Heat Of The Moment" was supposed to be a bonus cut on Nothing Was The Same, but it never saw the light of day. Nas had his dad play trumpet on Illmatic; it would make the album that much more special and personal at the end of the day. Plus, it would be fascinating to see what the two of you would come up with. What's Dennis Graham got up his sleeve that we don't know about?


Address The Rihanna Situation

You were spotted in the studio with Breezy just last week, and everybody knows there's only one thing the two of you could ever talk about—Rihanna. You've aired out your own dirty laundry, explicitly or not, plenty of times before. People want to hear about it, but they want to hear about it even more when it comes to you and Rihanna. What happened? Did she not call enough? Did one side catch too many feelings and freak out the other? Did it just not click in the bedroom? Or were you just like any other two people with insanely busy schedules and drifted apart? The Internet would shatter.


Keep Pushing The Limits Visually

Your videos for the singles off Nothing Was The Same were even better than your previous ones, and that's saying something since "The Motto" and "H.Y.F.R." are both seared into our brains. But you stepped things up with the seven-minute short film forr "Hold On (We're Going Home)," and that took things to another level. More of you acting in ridiculous suits and even more ridiculous situations, please. It's the least we can ask for.