Every time a new Drake album drops, I do my best to listen to it objectively and try to understand why this dude is such a big deal. Of course, every single time, his work disappoints me. And before all the hardcore groupies come at me just to say that I’m not a fan because “he’s not macho” or because “I don’t respect a sensitive man”, get off that bullshit. Some of the best artists on the planet have made a living creating music off their vulnerabilities, yes, even in hip hop. Just look at some of his immediate peers. Last year we had Kendrick Lamar dealing with his depression and lack of self esteem, yet he didn’t sound like a whiny bitch while doing so. J Cole recorded a track a few years ago where he assumes the role of a woman who is being pressured to get an abortion, even with a topic as sensitive and dramatic as that Cole manages to not sound insecure or whiny either. Yet that’s something that Drake manages to do often, specifically when talking about relationships. I don’t hate everything that Drake drops either, he can spit some serious shit on tracks like Fear and 9AM In Dallas among plenty of others, but he mostly switches up his style to (successfully) attract a larger audience, and it’s a part of the reason why he’s so relevant.
So my question as a so-called “Drake hater” is: Will this be the album that changes my mind about Aubrey Graham?
Views opens up with Keep The Family Close, in which Drake once again speaks on his trust issues, a topic which he has spoken about for 4 albums now. We get it. However, Drake does have his best melodies in the whole album in this track, and the strong production which climaxes on the 2nd half of the song helps him out quite a bit. Even though the topic has been pretty run down in his previous albums, it’s not a bad intro to Views. Next up is 9, which is Drake’s cure for insomnia. Over a bland beat mostly powered by fast paced high hats, Drake rehashes one of his most boring flows to talk about turning his city (nicknamed The 6) upside down. Get it? Witty right?!! Nah. Not really. This track feels like an interlude that never took off. The beat wouldn’t be that bad if Drake had some energy to his delivery instead of that NyQuil flow. This familiar sound follows on U With Me? where Drake borrows the classic hook from DMX’s How’s It Going Down and strips it of all charm that made the original what it was. Not only is it prostituting the original, but DMX himself has previously gone out of his way to say he’s not a fan. Once again, Drake’s monotone lifeless flow takes the center stage and the track only comes alive towards the end where he finally livens it up. Instrumentally, it’s a simple beat (credited to 7 different producers) but it works well and it would’ve sounded at home on any previous Drake release, specially Take Care. Feel No Ways is another R&B track, produced by Jordan Ulman (of Majid Jordan), and has Drake’s off key crooning and ruining the fuck out of a decent beat. I wish Majid Jordan would have done justice to this song and kept it as one of their own.
After nearly dozing off during the first 4 tracks, Im guessing Drizzy decided to wake up whoever was falling asleep with Hype. One of the best records in the album has Drake going off throwing subliminals left and right. The only real negative thing I can say about this track is regarding the “I just hit a lick, I got to hit a next one” line, come on, the thought of Drake robbing somebody is fucking hilarious. To my surprise he goes off on back to back tracks, Weston Road Flows is Drake doing what he does best, introspective verses. The mellow production by 40 and Stwo provides a fitting backdrop for Drizzy to spit some of the best lines in the album for nearly 4 minutes without a break. Unfortunately, the mood goes down once again with the very somber Redemption. The track wouldn’t be bad as a 2 minute track, however this track goes on for over 5 minutes and easily the most boring moment in Views. Next up, With You featuring PartyNextDoor feels more like a PND track than a Drake track, and I have no idea why it’s in this album because at this point it’s just starting to drag. The production is the first among a few caribbean sounding crossovers including Controlla and the single One Dance. Three tracks which begs me to ask, why the fuck is a Canadian faking Caribbean accents? It sounds ridiculous. Due to the production, all these could be hits on pop radio but all would’ve been better with genuine Caribbean artists performing them.
Faithful is another R&B track which features Pimp C and dvsn. Pimp C is completely out of place on this, as his feature just seems like it was copied and pasted from another song. Drake also doesn’t do it justice with god awful lines like “You talk like you got the juice and the squeeze.” The sole bright spot on this track is dvsn, who is the best singer in this album, his voice completely leaves Drake’s in the dust and shows what an actual R&B singer should sound like. Still Here is by no means a great track, but at least Drizzy’s nursery rhyme flow will get stuck in your head. In Grammys he’s accompanied with his What A Time To Be Alive partner, Future, to balance off the scales. Unlike most tracks in that album, this feels like a Drake track featuring Future and not the other way around. Unfortunately, it’s also nowhere near as good as anything on WATTBA.
Now comes the most cringe worthy moment in this album, and possibly even Drake’s discography. Although Drake meant it another way, Child’s Play is great description of what this is, one of the most child like and immature depictions of a relationship within a song. Highlights off this fuckery include a fight at the Cheesecake Factory and Drake hiding his car keys because his girl took his Bugatti to buy tampons at CVS, I’m not kidding. To top it off, he finishes it off by saying “Momma is a saint, yes she raised me real good, all because of her I don’t do you like I should. Don’t make me give you back to the hood.” What in the fuck is going on? Aubrey sounds like the type of guy to pump himself full of self-righteous ego juice, all the while dating drama queens and creating shitty situations for himself just to brag that he’s “the nice guy” . Since things can’t seem to get lower on this album, Pop Style, now without the Kanye West feature, is borderline tolerable but still has plenty of questionable weak ass lyrics. None lamer than “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum.” Really? How many ghostwriters did it take to come up with that bullshit?
Nearing the end of Views there are a barrage of pop tracks, including Too Good featuring Rihanna, which has the same pop duet format that has been redone for decades and lyrics that 13 year old girls will be tweeting through out the rest of the year. Summer’s Over Interlude is basically a solo track from Majid (the other member of Majid Jordan), and even though he has a great voice, there’s no point in having this track on here. Fire & Desire is another banal R&B track which has nothing memorable going on. This last half of the album is saved by the album’s eponymous track, Views. This track is a lot like the aforementioned Weston Road Flows, and has Drake spitting two of the strongest verses in the album over a banging Boi-1da beat, but there’s still plenty of terrible lines. The album concludes with the Cha Cha rip off, Hotline Bling, a song that I’ll be perfectly happy never hearing again.
If Drake’s last album was called Nothing Was The Same, Views might as well be It’s Still The Same Old Shit. Views is around 80 minutes long, and it would be a better album if at least 30 minutes were shaved off. Drake can rap whenever he wants to, without the need for ghostwriters, however that’s not the case throughout a majority of this album. A lot of lines in Views are some of the corniest Drake lyrics ever, and it makes me wonder if he’s just paying people to come up with dumb ass watered down lines that lack wit. When it comes to his R&B/Pop side, Drake is pretty much the male Britney Spears, he can come up with catchy melodies and hooks but his voice remains unimpressive especially when you have someone like dvsn whose vocals blow you away on your own track. Props where props are due, he knows what makes him money and does it well, but that doesn’t mean I have to like his music.