“6 cold like Alaska / Views already a classic…”
On April 28th also known as #VIEWSEve on Twitter, Drake joined Zane Lowe for a hour long interview on Apple Music exclusive OVOSOUNDRADIO to discuss the journey of working on his fourth studio album Views and how the 20 tracks reflect a significant part of his life in Toronto. Hearing Drake and Zane have this deep conversation about the 6 (or Toronto for the people who don’t live there) or Drake’s creative process when trying to make music that shows how much he’s grown over the years was motivating and added even more anticipation to one of 2016’s biggest music releases. After finishing the interview, I immediately started the album, expecting to hear…a defining album for my generation. A true classic. I’ve read and heard many mixed reviews about October’s Very Own’s ode to the city that inspires and energizes him and while the view seems like it looks amazing from the top, maybe you lose the desire to remember the grind it took to get there.
“All of my let’s just be friends are friends I don’t have anymore,” Drake announces on the sentimental introduction to Views. It reminds me of the Drake I resonate with the most. The honest, always vulnerable artist that can tell you how he’s feeling as easily as he can tell you why he’s running the rap game. You can feel the buildup in the intro, as striking music provides the background to Drake’s lyrics. While “Keep the Family Close” almost feels too long, I feel like Drake is trying to bring this epic summer blockbuster feel to the album like we’re listening to a moment, something great. The next song picks up the BPM to give us the confident “9”. When Drake isn’t letting his feelings show on a mid-tempo reflection type track, he is at his best when he’s rapping with braggadocio and “9” is the perfect example of that. DMX’s “What These Bitches Want” gets sampled on “U With Me?” and it reminds me of So Far Gone in the best way possible. Drake has a talent for letting stories play out in his music and I love the chill vibe that is mixed with Drake pondering his girl’s trustworthiness.
More than half of Views contains samples from R&B greats (Mary J Blige, The Winans), influential reggae acts (Beenie Man, Popcaan) and everything in between. Sampling is one of the most important elements of rap music and Drake definitely makes each credit his own. Singing also plays a major role in this latest album with songs like “Feel No Ways”, “Redemption” and “Controlla” showing the growth in Drake’s voice and his ability to carry his own when solely singing through a song. When Drake is in rap mode, he doesn’t disappoint, with endless punchlines and lyrics that are waiting to be deciphered from people wanting to get closer to Drake’s personal life. There is so much good in Views and nods to previous releases. “Weston Road Flows” one of the best tracks on the album reminds me of some of the flows that can be found in Take Care. Drake’s cadence in “Pop Style” could be a sequel to “All Me” and I don’t think it needs to be on the album.
I could speak more on the good than the bad when discussing Views but I think the biggest complaint I have is that it’s too long. It’s crazy to write that because I always want an artist to release an album with more songs rather than 12 tracks so it doesn’t feel too concise but Views has the opposite problem. There is so much solid production. Drake’s lines like most of his music are quoteworthy and lit but after track 13 or 14 it feels like the album should be done. During that Zane Lowe interview Drake said, “I don’t want you to get it right away / Great music takes a little work / It takes elevating your listening level.” While I completely agree with this quote, there are albums that I hated in my youth, that I revisit now and wonder what my ears were on because the music is great now; I don’t understand what I’m not supposed to get right away with this album. None of the songs are horrible and maybe with time I’ll be able to listen to this album from beginning to end and enjoy it but I was expecting a different album when I came from that Zane Lowe interview.
Drake talked about wanting to get the feel of the seasons in Toronto on this album because it really effects your mindset when you live there. We start off in the winter, where it’s too brutal to go outside, so you stay inside and contemplate on former flames and past mistakes. As it gets warmer, you care less about emotions, want to turn up more and enjoy the moment. By the end of the album the weather is getting colder again and the desire to contemplate is coming back. I assume that’s the living pattern but I wanted Drake to go deeper into life in the 6. Why is this the place where you find your inspiration? How do the people live? What’s everyone mindset when living there? Is it to get rich and live well like in America or are people in Toronto more focused on finding happiness.
“Fire & Desire”, “Weston Road Flows”, “Views” and “9” give me that feel but there’s so many elements you have to get around to find “the 6”. I’m definitely going to keep listening to Views and hopefully find a love for it like I have for some of his previous releases, specifically So Far Gone and Take Care. I never like to put any expectations on music I’m excited to hear because I don’t want my ideas to cloud what actually comes out and I think too many people expected a Drake only version of What A Time To Be Alive or less emotions like they haven’t heard any full-length piece released by him. I’m still here for the man that’s trying to put the 6 on the map but I want to hear the Drake that’s trying to accomplish even more than he has in the past. You’ve got the crown right now Drake, don’t lose sight on cementing your legacy.
Must Hear Tracks: “9”, “Weston Road Flows”, “Grammys (Featuring Future)”, “Fire & Desire”, “Controlla”, “With You (Featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR), “Still Here”
What do you think of Views? Let me know in the comments!
Buy on iTunes: HERE