Canadian rap star Drake surprised the world by releasing his new album unannounced on Thursday. However, it has since been revealed that If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is a mixtape, rather than a proper studio album.

The reason for the confusion behind the new material is apparently so that Drake can fulfil a contractual obligation and free himself from Cash Money Records, according to XXL. Under copyright, the new record appears as his fourth studio album for Cash Money, thus bringing him to the end of his contract.

Drake's new mixtape was released online on Thursday

However, a spokesman for OVO Records said that despite the $12.99 price tag on iTunes (mixtapes are normally free), If You’re Reading This… is not an official album for the intents and purposes of other labels involved with the release. Fans aren’t being particularly short-changed, as it does contain a sizeable 17 tracks and features collaborations with other superstar names like Lil Wayne.

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Back in July last year, the 28 year old rapper announced that his fourth album would be called Views From The 6, so when the surprise mixtape dropped yesterday it naturally triggered speculation that it was that hotly anticipated album under a different name.

Despite the surprise nature of the release, If You’re Reading This… is expected to reach the top of the Billboard 200 by the end of the week, with projected sales of over 400,000. If it does, it would be Drake’s fourth consecutive Number One album in the US, following Thank Me Later, Take Care and Nothing Was The Same.

Earlier this month, Drake was confirmed as one of the headliners at London’s Wireless festival in Hyde Park this summer. He’ll be performing alongside Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and David Guetta.

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