On December 25, 2019, Drake revealed the track’s title during his Rap Radar interview and discussed the tone of the track:
The ones that we connect on most are the ones where I’m just givin' those life talks like [“When To Say When”]… just to show you I can still rap
Drake didn’t reveal much about the song but remained noncommittal about the prospect of it making the album, claiming that he was unsure of how it would turn out.
On February 8, 2020, Drake was seen filming a music video at the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn for a single. Brian Miller, co-host of Rap Radar, confirmed that the video was shot for “Say When” via Twitter.
Drake released the track on March 1, along with “Chicago Freestyle” on SoundCloud. Both songs were also combined into a singular music video the same day.
The song was finally released to streaming services on May 1 as part of Dark Lane Demo Tapes.