Rapper Drake surprises fans with album release

Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:51am EST
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(Reuters) - Grammy-winning rapper Drake surprised fans by releasing an album on iTunes early on Friday, following in the footsteps of pop singer Beyonce, who put out her fifth studio album with no advance notice just over a year ago.

The musician linked to the iTunes page of the 17-track album, entitled "If You're Reading This It's Too Late," in a posting on Twitter. The record features guest artists including Lil Wayne, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Travi$ Scott.

Drake's previous album, "Nothing Was the Same," went straight to No. 1 on the weekly Billboard 200 album charts in October 2013. That studio album, his third, sold 658,000 copies in its first week.

The move mirrors Grammy-winning pop singer Beyonce, who released her self-titled 14-song, 17-video album on iTunes with no fanfare in December 2013.

Drake has written numerous hits, including "The Best I Ever Had," and "Started from the Bottom," and all three of his previous albums debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts.

The hashtag #IfYoureReadingThisItsTooLate was trending nationally on Twitter by early Friday morning, with many users praising the album.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Larry King)

Rapper Drake arrives at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 10, 2013.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni