Three. Long. Years.
That’s how long it has been since Drake’s last album. All the hype, all the hysteria, all the anticipation culminated last week with what Drake decided to call “Views.” Expectations were sky-high, from me to even Drake himself. Everyone was expecting a classic, but did Drake deliver?
“Views,” formerly known as “Views From The Six” was announced almost three years ago, a couple of months after “Nothing Was The Same” released. During that three-year period, Drake firmly cemented himself at the top of not only the rap game but the music world. Nothing Was The Same sold over 600K in its first week and eventually went platinum. Drake signed a 19 million dollar deal with Apple Music and debuted his OVO Sound Radio channel. He gave us two platinum-selling “mixtapes” in “If Youre Reading This Its Too Late” and his joint album with Future, “What A Time to Be Alive.” Drake dominated arguably the biggest rap beef of my generation and dropped one of the greatest diss tracks ever during the process. He would immediately follow up “Back To Back” with arguably the biggest song of the entire year, “Hotline Bling.” Finally, right before the album was released, Drake would deliver his first interview in years with Zane Lowe, then at long last, “Views” arrived upon us.
Drake would open up “Views” with one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Keep The Family Close.” Drake went a different direction with this intro than he usually does and I loved it. Instead of the solid bars we’ve grown accustomed to from the past three album intros, we received what Drake does best, emotional, introspective rap-singing, and immediately it brought Take Care vibes. A track I believe to be about Nicki Minaj and their fall out over Meek Mill, regardless, a beautiful intro.
The next six tracks would all be fire.
He would drop bars on “9”, a dedication to his love for his city and a clap-back to his haters over calling Toronto the Six. “And I turn the Six upside down, it’s a nine now” Drake proclaims, explaining he can call Toronto whatever the hell he wants because he’s the one that put on for the city.
My favorite song on the album came next on the third track, “U Wit Me?” Drake wasted no time on the DMX sampled track with the quotable lines. ” On some DMX sh-t/ I group DM my exes/ I told them they belong to me, and that goes on for forever.” My favorite part of the song would come in the second verse. As Drake describes perfectly what all of us iMessage users go through as we wait on texts, he delivers a beautiful bridge, “Slide on a late night, you like to slide on a late night, you sent the “are you here?” text without an invite.”
“Hype,” “Feel No Ways,” and “Redemption” are all standout tracks, but the track that stands out the most from the first seven is “Weston Road Flows,” which he did for his n-gga Renny. “Weston Road Flows” is Drake at his finest. Backed by a beat produced by 40, Drake did what Drake does best, brag, throw subliminal shots, and reminisce. Lines about his success were plenty, “I’m lookin’ at they first week numbers like what are those, I mean you boys not even coming close” or “The most successful rapper 35 and under, I’m assumin’ everybody’s 35 and under , that’s when I plan to retire, man it’s already funded.” He had sections during the song where he drifted into nostalgia, ” I get you all you can eat just have some patience with me/ you wouldn’t tell me you love me, started seeing Monique/ last time I heard from Monique, T-minus was making beats.” He finally addressed the Tory Lanez beef, even if it was very subliminal, “You was riding TTC metro, I had the place booming.” He even threw in a shout-out to Kevin Durant, “A lot of people just hit me up when my name is mentioned, shout out to KD, we relate we get the same attention” Definitely one of, if not the best song lyrically on Views.
From track eight until the “Summer’s Over Interlude,” the vibe of the album switched. During the interview with Zane Lowe, Drake explained that “Views” sequential order was modeled after the weather of Toronto. Beginning with “With You” is the summer section of the album and for the most part, Drake hit it out the park. “Still Here” is a must listen and “Childs Play” will probably go down as the club banger of the album, but Drake caught on to something with his take on Caribbean/afrobeat music. “Controlla” and “One Dance” are FIRE, and will definitely be two of the hottest songs of the summer. On “One Dance,” Drake got assistance from Nigerian artist, Wizkid, and British artist, Kyla, and it became Drake’s first Hot 100 Number 1.
Let me just be the first person to say it; Drake started a new wave with his take on Caribbean music, and watch how many artists, old and new, “come up of the style that he made up.”
Sadly, for the first time, I had disappointments from a Drake album. For the first time, Drake and PartyNextDoor created a song together that I didn’t like. I also would’ve preferred if Drake kept Kanye’s verse on Pop Style which Ye’ completely bodied. “They like Pablo, why are all the windows tinted on your Tahoe?/ why do you know every single b-tch that I know?/ why can’t you just shut your mouth and take the high road?” Ye’s verse is too fire for Drake not to have put it on “Views,” you should’ve known better Drake. So I guess, just a couple disappointments, but not too many after all.
“Views” is a fantastic album… It’s just not what I expected it to be.
But first, let me explain.
Anyone that knew me and let me tell it, I was proclaiming “Views” to be Drake’s magnum opus, his best work. I set the bar too high for myself, so I can’t blame Drake for that. Drake has elevated himself so much above his peers that comparisons between them are pointless, I compare Drake to his past work. So it grieves me to say this, but no “Views” is not Drake’s best work, and honestly, it’s not even his second. Take Care is still the best Drake album out and Nothing Was The Same follows closely behind it. If I’m talking 2016, Drake most likely has it so far. He definitely won April, a month where we got a new Big Sean and Jhene Aiko album, a Beyonce album, and a new Lil Uzi album. As of right now, though, his only competitor for best album of 2016 would fittingly be his only true rival in music today, Kanye West with his “The Life Of Pablo.”