Drake first used the phrase “know yourself” in “Jodeci Freestyle” – a single released in the lead-up to his album Nothing Was The Same. On the album, the phrase is also referenced in “From Time,” during a monologue by Baka. Over time Drake has made the line a recurring theme in songs such as “0 to 100.”
“Know yourself”/know thyself is also an aphorism that has been attributed to a number of ancient Greek sages, including Socrates, Heraclitus and Pythagoras.
Care first about the greatest perfection of the soul. – Socrates
The beat used throughout the song was also used without the vocals in the short film Jungle, which Drake released shortly before dropping IYRTITL.