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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Review: Views

Review: Views

Toronto-based rapper Aubrey “Drake” Graham really needs no introduction at this point. Drake, a former child-star turned rapper, recently lit the music world on fire with his surprise mixtape release in 2015 of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, an album that I consider the strongest in his discography. For once, Drake didn’t seem insecure, and he actually seemed to be confident in his position as one of the biggest names in rap. This mentality carried on through the summer of 2015, as he became embroiled in a rivalry with Philadelphia rapper, and frequent collaborator, Meek Mill. This rivalry period brought us two of Drake’s best songs in the Grammy nominated Back to Back and Hotline Bling, which peaked at #2 in the Billboard Top 100. After this came What A Time To Be Alive, a collaboration with Atlanta rapper, Future. While I personally dislike Future, his energy remains hard to be beaten, especially when combined with Drake.

In 2016, Drake started off the year strong with his track, “Summer Sixteen,” where he claims to be “Looking for revenge all summer sixteen.” I believed Drake was poised to have an even bigger year than the last, considering he was staying in line with the sounds and lyrical content of If You’re Reading This.

Then, on April 5, Drake dropped two new tracks in “One Dance” and “Pop Style.” One Dance follows a disturbing trend of Drake releasing songs with a dancehall, or Caribbean sound. I felt like he was losing all of the momentum he had gained in favor of lazy beats and even lazier singing. Luckily Pop Style was still there to theoretically wash Drake of his sins. It didn’t. Instead we got Drake rapping cringe-inducing lines such as “got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum.” This does not fit the same description of a Drake who will call you an Uber because he has somewhere to be. This was a safer Drake. A scarier Drake.

Finally, after three years since an official album release, Drake released Views, an hour-and-22-minute epic designed to be the rapper’s victory lap celebrating his home town of Toronto.

So, does it live up to the expectations of his previous work? No, not really… Do I consider Views a bad album? No, not really.

The album starts with “Keep the Family Close,” a track that features incredible orchestration, the likes of which I haven’t seen on a Drake song since Over back on his debut album, Thank Me Later. Right off the bat, we get Drake singing, a feature in his songs I have yet to warm up to. On “Keep the Family Close,” it works well enough, until the interesting lyrics begin. Drake begins the album singing “All of my “let’s just be friends” are friends I don’t have anymore,” a line which will forever be etched on teenage girls’ Twitter pages and Instagram posts for now until forever. On his next verse, he says “Always saw you for what you could’ve been/Ever since you met me/Like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley,” referring to the Chrysler 300. This begins a barrage of bad similes thrown at the listener in hopes they confuse it for deep meaning or lyrical craftsmanship.

The next track, “9,” produced by frequent Drake producers, Boi-1da and Noah “40” Shebib, features many of the same problems as the previous song. While the beat is luscious, the lyrics don’t hold up their end of the song, with Drake rhyming “no good” with “no good” with “no good” with “I should.” Sigh. The title for this song comes from Drake saying “Six upside down, it’s a nine now.” Six referring to the nickname for Toronto, and nine referring to… well I don’t know.

The next two tracks, “U With Me?” and “Feel No Ways” both tell more stories of Drake’s insecurities and lady troubles, with him dropping such great lines on “U With Me?” like “Yeah, how’s that for real?/You toyin’ with it like Happy Meal.” The beat on Feel No Ways, produced by Jordan Ullman of Majid Jordan, happens to be one of the most fun instrumentals on the album with a choppy sample of Malcolm McLaren’s song World Famous, and will certainly be featured on many summer playlists this year.

The aptly named “Hype” features the same type of Drake we saw from What A Time To Be Alive, with high energy, fast tempo songs about how cool he perceives himself to be, and how much cool stuff he has. For those who were praying for more shots to be taken at Meek Mill, while it seemed Drake had finally gotten over the feud, he still gave us a nugget of gold, saying “I don’t run out of material/You shouldn’t speak on me, period/You try to give ’em your side of the story/They heard it, but they wasn’t hearin’ it.” Whether or not either of the rappers care anymore, it still makes for exciting music

The next track, “Weston Road Flows,” provides a look into Drake’s past in his hometown of Toronto, while sampling “Mary’s Joint” by Mary J. Blige. If you’re a fan of Drake slowing down his beats, taking his time to tell a story and using his singing chops, then Weston Road Flows provides one of the best experiences on the album

“Redemption,” “With You” and “Faithful” all have a similar sound to something that would appear on Drake’s Grammy winning album Take Care. “With You” features soft vocals from frequent collaborator PARTYNEXTDOOR, while Faithful features a more different range of guests. OVO Records cosign DVSN making an appearance makes sense in the context of the song, putting deceased Houston rapper Pimp C on the same song doesn’t necessarily add up. Depending on what kind of Drake fan you identify as, this three song stretch might be the highlight of the album, but for me, the stretch provides an unnecessary slowdown that seems out of place considering what comes after it.

Views gets jump-started again with “Still Here,” the highlight of the album. Produced by 20-year-old producer Daxz, “Still Here” features one of Drake’s most interesting lyrics on the album: “I don’t need no pill to speak my mind, I don’t need that.” Considering Drake’s mentor, Lil Wayne, has been hospitalized for overdoses multiple times, and his friend Future’s most famous album, Dirty Sprite 2 (DS2), features many references to countless drugs. Maybe Drake might be trying to clean up his act? Probably not.

“Controlla” and “One Dance” both feature the same dance-hall style that I previously loathed. However, I enjoyed them more in the context of the album. “Controlla” has more of a slower mood compared to the very pop-focused “One Dance.”

“Grammys” featuring Future, reaches a pretty low point. Instead of the memorable quotes and quick beats, we get Future saying “They gon’ think I won a Grammy,” a total of 20 times in this one song. This song feels like a leftover from What A Time To Be Alive, and should probably be treated as such.

“Child’s Play” has Drake talking more about lady issues and also going to Cheesecake Factory. So if you’re into lady problems and Cheesecake Factory, “Child’s Play” might be the highlight of the album. Following this song comes “Pop Style,” this time without Kanye and Jay Z, which were ultimately the best parts of the original song. “Too Good” featuring Rihanna follows the same style and energy as “Work,” the Rihanna-Drake track put on her ANTI album earlier this year. However, this track is much more bearable than “Work,” and features much better instrumentation.

The final songs, “Fire and Desire” and “Views,” both show Drake making his Toronto pride known. For final tracks, they both stick the landing and provide and satisfying ending to the album. The final track, “Hotline Bling,” obviously has been around since last summer, so regardless of your appreciation for the song or lack thereof, it hasn’t changed since it was first released.

Drake has certainly made a polarizing album in Views. While there are great songs sprinkled in, I’m very divided on the tracklist. Fans of Take Care will enjoy that Views has become practically a spiritual successor, but those looking for a sequel to If You’re Reading This, might have to wait a little bit longer.

 

6/10

About the Contributor
Grant Baker
Grant Baker, The Rider Editor-in-Chief
I'm Grant Baker and I write for this website. I love serving God, watching football and listening to 2000s southern hip hop. Maybe not all of those at the same time. I don't know. Okay you know how hard it is to write one of these things? Pretty hard.
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