The amount of hype and expectation surrounding the Toronto emcee’s fourth studio album was insane. Fans and critics expected a classic hip hop album, a force that the next generation will look back on and understand how important Drake is to the rap community.
Well, it wasn’t either of those things.
That doesn’t mean “Views” isn’t a solid album, though. Drake has a formula that has given him the crown in the streaming-era of music; his formula has brought him millions of dollars. It’s, also, a formula that dominates our airwaves.
There’s two faces to this album: a more chill, intrinsic vibe for the wintertime and a Carribean, dancing vibe for the summer. The entire album is supposed to explore Drake’s upbringing from his hometown of Toronto, the 6, to now.
I’m not so sure many of the tracks give an origin story as originally planned. “U With Me?” touches on a couple of aspects of Drake’s past that may play a role in his adult life, but that seems to be where it stops.
The album opens with “Keep the Family Close,” a track that isn’t overly produced with drums, snares and bass lines. It’s simple and the initial inhalation into the project. I enjoy it more and more when re-listening, which pays creedance to the replay value of “Views.”
The sing-song Drake is in full effect, which is what I expected. Less rap, more singing, which contrasts with Drake’s previous album, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
I’ve always been a big proponent of an environment playing a large role in how much a song is liked by the listener. Track two, “9,” is a perfect example. I’m cruising down Florida’s Turnpike to work. The sun is rising over my left shoulder and “9,” produced by Noah “40” Shebib, plays for the first time. An infectious beat begins to play that kind of reminds me of a video game’s intro as a child, which only helps begin my calm Friday. Then, it hits you in the face. A fluid combination of drums, clean snare hits and a tempo that fits Drake’s flow well. You can’t help but to smile.
The production on “Views” is awesome. It isn’t perfect, but it just — fits. “40” has been with Drake for years. The album’s production isn’t without blemishes, but “40” is the perfect producer for Drake. Alongside “40” are notable producers, like Kanye West and Boi1da. “Views” encapsulates the years of increased quality in production for Drake’s body of work.
Not everything found on the 20-track album makes me bob my head, though, and a big reason for that is its lazy lyrics. It’s incredible that Drake, someone who’s impressed with his lyricism, said, “Got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum.” That’s on “Pop Style,” a track that once had a full verse from Kanye West and two-line Jay Z intro to West’s verse. Both were taken off and undoubtably makes a forgettable track even more forgettable.
Now, there are flashes of the old, rapping Drake on “Hype,” “Weston Road Flows” and “Grammys.” All three tracks that I’d consider pretty darn good.
The only tracks that really have made me skip over them so far are “Redemption,” “Too Good,” “Fire and Desire” and “Hotline Bling” (because God knows we’ve all heard that song too many times).
I may grow to love this album even more and see through the faults of the above songs. Why? It’s simply because Drake’s infectious formula works: you hate the song, you hear it some more, you hear it with a group of friends and you begin singing the catchy hooks.
“Views” delivers and makes for a fun album now and for the rest of the year, even if there’s some filler to found.
It just didn’t feel like the album fans waited for from one of the kings of hip hop.