The Toronto MC's Thank Me Later leaked online earlier this week, but the buzz was still plentiful.
Journalists from Billboard, BET, XXL, Entertainment Weekly, VIBE, Us Weekly and the New York Times, among others, were present as Drake played his finished project.
Between selections, Drake — who personally manned the boards to preview the album — spoke about each track, explaining the inspiration behind a number of the songs.
"Fireworks," "Karaoke" and "The Resistance" kicked off the album, and the three selections serve as a bridge between Drake's breakout mixtape So Far Gone and Thank Me Later.
"Over," the rumbling first single, is where the album's story really starts, according to those close to Drake who chatted with reporters. Birdman was also among those in attendance at Manhattan's MSR Studios. He, Brown and Jay Sean joined Drake in the studio, along with his October's Very Own set, and the rapper sat behind the boards and spoke to the crowd via a microphone as the feed was transmitted to a television in the larger lounge area.
Kid Cudi was present as well — the Kanye West protégé was recording in a separate area upstairs at the facility.
Prior to the full album leaking to the Internet, a number of selections such as the Jay-Z-assisted "Light Up" and "Shut It Down" featuring The-Dream, were posted on blogs and made available for free download.
Bloggers, however, banded together in protest against posting the entire album.
"Enough is enough," Andrew Barber of FakeShoreDrive.com told MTV News on Wednesday.
Drake confirmed that he had visited Lil Wayne in prison since he was in town, he is also scheduled to appear at "VH1's Hip-Hop Honors: The Dirty South" and Hot 97's Summer Jam during his time in New York.
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