Thirteen years ago, a young Drake made a strong impression with his second-ever mixtape “Comeback Season.”

With Drake‘s catalog ready to expand with the release of his upcoming Certified Lover Boy album, it’s easy to forget about the projects that helped establish him in the first place. And while much has been made of So Far Gone — and rightly so, considering the scope of the career it birthed — his second-ever tape Comeback Season tends to fly under the radar. Released on this day in 2007, two years before he’d go on to capture widespread attention, Drizzy’s sophomore mixtape put many of his artistic strengths on display.

Drake Comeback Season

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Boasting a staggering twenty-three tracks and guest appearances from Trey Songz, Kardinal Offishall, Rich Boy, Malice, Phonte, Elzhi, and Lil Wayne, Comeback Season largely finds Drizzy jacking for beats like a true disciple of the mixtape era. On the titular track, Drake takes to Lupe Fiasco‘s “Failure” as he lets fly bars with hunger no longer present in his current musical output — not that it needs to be. Still, it’s exciting to hear Drake plying his trade as a mixtape emcee, following in the footsteps of his eventual mentor Lil Wayne. He even tries his hand at a Kanye classic, bodying “Barry Bonds” with charisma and a sharpened ear for punchlines. 

To this day, there are some who still tout “Closer” as a turning point for Drizzy. He himself went on to reference the track on “30 For 30 Freestyle,” reflecting on how jaded he’s since become. Allowing himself ample space to flex the pen game with two lengthy verses, it’s almost surreal to hear him firing off so many bars — especially considering how vastly different his style has since become. And maybe it’s for the better, though that’s certainly up for debate. No matter where you stand, it doesn’t change the fact that going back to where it all started taking shape is an important process for Drake fans. With a new album on the way and a CN Tower lit up in his honor, Comeback Season captures an era when the 6ix God was a mere mortal — and what a time it was to be alive.