It had been about two and a half years since Drake dropped his last true album, “Nothing Was the Same,” and a little over a year since he came out with the mixtape/album, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
It’s safe to say the world was ready for some new Drake music, and now that “Views” is finally out, the question is: did it live up to the hype?
Initially, I thought this album was a bit of a disappointment (and it pains me to say that because I really wanted to love this album). It just didn’t have the shock and awe effect that “Nothing Was the Same” or “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” did for me. Drake truly honed his sound on the very emotional rap/sung mixed “Nothing Was the Same” and then he tried to regain some of his street cred back on “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.” It also helped the shock and awe factor when Drake dropped the mixtape/album unannounced overnight. But when I first listened to “Views,” it didn’t hit me the same way.
On the scales of rap/R&B, “Views” tips a little more toward R&B, and it starts right off the bat with “Keep the Family Close.” I don’t know if I was hoping for an intro more like “Tuscan Leather” or what, but this song didn’t hit me in the face, initially, like I wanted it to. “Feel No Ways,” “Redemption,” “With You,” “Controlla,” “One Dance,” “Too Good,” “Fire & Desire” and “Hotline Bling” all have an R&B vibe, which is fine. But I was kind of hoping for more rap-influenced songs on this highly anticipated album. After my first listen, “Weston Road Flows,” “Views,” “Still Here” and “Hype” were my favorites just because they were more rap-heavy.
I read a tweet the night “Views” came out that said J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar’s music feels like it’s made for other people, and Drake’s music sounds like he’s rapping into a mirror. On the surface, this sums up “Views” in one sentence.
But then I dug a little deeper into the music. After 4-5 listens, “Views” really started to grow on me. All of the songs are catchy. There are some that put you in your feels and others that make you want to dance. There are some songs that make you want to call your current or former significant other and there are others that make you want to celebrate life because summer is coming up.
This is an album that grows on you. It’s not a concept album. It’s not really that cohesive. But it’s great music to vibe out to. Before the album dropped, Drake’s producer 40 said, “[Drake]’s discovering new flows, new cadences and new patterns.” I think that is a perfect way to sum it up. It’s highlighted on songs like, “9” when Drake switches up his rap flow to sing, “Keychain go jang-a-lang. I wanna do major things. MJ in every way; I just don’t fade away.” He also finds a Big Sean-esque flow on “Hype” when he says, “I don’t take this s*** for granted. I do my own propaganda. I feel like Juelz Santana. Leg hangin’ out the Phantom…” I also love the passion toward the end of “U With Me?” Drake has perfected the mesh between his singing and his rap skills, and he continues to tell his story, his way. We really do get a glimpse of The 6 on this album.
Another question that gets thrown around a lot is: has Drake released a classic album?
In my opinion, “Nothing Was the Same” is Drake’s closest piece of work to a classic album. “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” really showed his versatility and “Take Care” had the hits and won the Grammy, but something about “Nothing Was the Same” did it for me. I know it’s too early to tell if “Views” will go down as a classic, but after about a week, it has already grown on me quite a bit and it will only continue to grow. So, there is hope for “Views.”
I think “Views” will be remembered for its amazing production and the mark it left as an OVO-heavy project. It won’t move Drake any closer to “best rapper” category, but it will have its place in pop culture for the near future. I even find myself saying “ting” here and there now.
Another thing I want to point out is the contradiction in tones and release dates from “Views” and “Nothing Was the Same.” “Views” definitely has its dark moments, especially during what I like to call the random “sounds of the 6” at the end of nearly every song, yet it came out at the end of April in order for it to be a summer album. Even the album and the booklet include pictures with dark tones and colors. On the other side, “Nothing Was the Same” was released in September of 2013 and was meant to be an album to “heat up the winter.” On this album cover, Drake’s head is in the clouds, and the music, itself, gives off a much lighter tone, in my opinion. I’d argue that eight out of 20 songs (maybe even more) on “Views” would be considered dark, whereas only five out of 15 songs on “Nothing Was the Same” gave the dark and ominous vibe. Therefore, Drake's summer album is darker than his winter album. I just keep picturing that second teaser trailer whenever I listen to "Views." It’s a very interesting piece of irony Drake has laid out for us.
Dark songs from Views: (8/20) 40%
Keep the Family Close
U With Me?
Weston Road Flows
Fire & Desire
Dark Songs from NWTS: (5/15) 33%
There’s no denying that Drake is one of the best artists out right now. He really does have the Midas touch and he’s in his own lane. “Views” just adds to all of that which is Drake.