Turned the 6 upside down, it’s a 9 now.
It must be lonely at the top for Drake. For years he’s dominated the airwaves with infectious pop hits while still doing what it takes to keep his place at the top of rap’s ever-shifting hierarchy. Although Views was announced back in 2014, he released two other projects before it, one of which in my opinion was his best in years, that signified a progression in his sound that was loved by his fans. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was Drake’s strongest, most hard hitting work in his catalog, with a new style of productions and flows before unheard of from the 6 God, and What A Time To Be Alive saw him pairing with Future to test himself by rapping over Atlanta trap beats and write a whole album in 6 days. We saw his progression as an artist for most of 2015, but it seems that all that progression was lost in favoring of playing it safe.
Don’t get me wrong, Views is a great project, filled with bars and catchy R&B hooks, a perfect blend of his previous works. The only issue is, it’s exactly what you would expect from Drake. Nothing less, yet nothing more. Clocking in at an hour and 24 minutes, it offers 19 new tracks from Drizzy, with Hotline Bling as a bonus. The opening track, Keep Your Family Close, is a slow jazz, all sung, R&B track sees Drake addressing someone who turned their back on him, with lines like “You’re supposed to put your pride aside and ride for me” and “You chose a side that wasn’t mine” leaving the listener to assume he’s speaking on Nicki Minaj during his beef with Meek Mill. Feel No Ways is the stand out track on the album, a groovy R&B track with a vibe similar to his track Hold On We’re Going Home, which was on his last studio album. In fact, majority of the album addresses his different relationships with women, leaving only a handful of tracks that display his lyrical chops. Songs like 9, Hype, and Pop Style see Drake with his usual I’m number one vibrato and a barrage of shots at opponents, while Weston Road Flows and the title track have a laid back soft flow where the lyrics and punchlines take the forefront. The biggest flex Drake committed on this album was the removal of the Throne, Kanye West and Jay-Z, from Pop Style in favor of an extra verse of his own. Kanye’s verse on the original single version of the track was phenomenal(THROW A THICK BITCH ON A KAWASAKI), and removal leads you to think that at his current stature, Drake doesn’t want to be outrapped on his own album. The features on this album are plentiful, with support from OVO signees like DVSN and partynextdoor as well as popular artists like Rihanna, Future, and even a posthumous verse from UGK’s Pimp C. The Future featured Grammys is my personal favorite on the album, as well as the following track Child’s Play, which finds Drake stressing over how he’s supposed to love this girl is she acts up all the time. The Caribbean inspired tracks on the album are feel good dance tunes, with the original single version of Controlla featuring Reggae artist Popcaan and UK Singer Kyla and Nigerian Popstar WizKid featured on One Dance. Drake’s BFF 40 doesn’t disappoint production wise. Every track is seamless, there’s no moments of disconnection or awkwardness. Like Joe Budden said, 40 has progressed while Drake hasn’t.
As a whole, Views is a good album. Drake never disappoints when it comes to his music. The issue that everyone seems to have is that it fell short of the hype surrounding it. Even when the track Summer Sixteen was released, though it ended up not even making it on the album, it followed with the sound of progression everyone was hoping for. At the end of the day, all we got was another Drake album when we hoped for so much more.