After being teased by Graham since 2014, Drake finally dropped his 4th studio album on Thursday night. Throughout the album’s razor sharp production are lyrics which pair the mellow beats with thorough introspection while at other times the bombastic production is matched with Drizzy’s razor sharp flows. “I wanna do major things, MJ in every way,” proclaims Drake on his latest release.
If "So Far Gone" showed a backpack rapper crooning over the best he ever had while breaking into the rap game, then Views completed the progression apparent through all of his mixtapes and studio albums. VIEWS cements Drake as the self-coronated 6 God, a rapper at the top of his game that no longer has to worry about album sales or if his music will be accepted.
During an interview with Zane Lowe for OVOSOUND RADIO on Beats 1 on Apple Music Radio, Drake revealed that the album was conceptualized with the seasons of Toronto in mind.
“The album is based around the change of the seasons in our city,” said Drake “It starts out in the wintertime… That was what I used to tie it all together.”
The beginning of the album would be the first winter with the beats mellow and the flows slow and then the snow begins to melt on “Hype” and then summer is in full swing during “With You” finally coming to a close on the aptly titled “Summers Over Interlude”. The second winter brings with it two of the strongest songs on the album, “Fire & Desire” and the titular track “VIEWS”. The former further proves that Drake is at his best when he blends his R&B and rap sensibilities on introspective tracks that deal with his emotions but with cunning lyrics that keep the listeners’ ears. The latter is Drake’s declaration that he is a God and is not to be trifled with. Through all the emotion, reflection on women, and bragging of money, he is a rapper at the peak of his own personal craft and is unafraid to say that to the world.
The vision behind the album may have been Drake’s but VIEWS would be nothing without the work of the producers, who are phenomenal on every track. Long time Drake collaborator Noah “40” Shebib is a tour de force on the album as the head producer. Though other fantastic producers contributed, such as Kanye West and Boi-1da.
The other thing that stood out were the guest artists on the album, with the surprising exclusion of two heavy hitters. The most jarring change is that “Pop Style” no longer has The Throne i.e. Kanye West and Jay-Z featured, opting instead for an extra verse from Drake. While Jay only dropped two or three bars, West’s verse would have been one of the highlights of the album.
Luckily, with the inclusions of Rihanna, Future, the late Pimp C, and PARTYNEXTDOOR, the album felt well rounded, with Party and Rihanna being the standouts.
So, how does Drake fare in all this? The answer is he does just fine. He reaches for some higher notes in some songs but overall it’s more of a refining of style than an exploration of new depth. It is the same style Drake has cultivated over the course of his career but with the knowledge that comes after much writing.
VIEWS is a good album that skims the surface of great. It’s not revolutionary, but what it sets out to achieve it does. It has moments that will have you thinking about your own life through his lens offset by the moments when the rhythm unleashes its bravado on the dance floor. If you aren’t a fan of Drake then most likely VIEWS won’t change your mind one way or the other but what it does is cement the fact that, like him or not, Drake is going to be around for years to come.