Views - Drake
Genre: Rap/Hip Hop
It's late 2008 and the birth of Young Money is well underway with one its star players emerging as the actor turned rapper/singer Drake. I slowly realize that Jimmy finally started to take his rap career more seriously and made connections with Lil' Wayne. Intrigued, I looked into his work and saw the potential. As time went on, I've witnessed him maintain his average rapper status and his "I can carry a note" singing, all while adopting any new trend to keep his name in the forefront of the hip hop game. In my experience, Drake delivers a great ear for production (usually) and clever wordplay from time to time. Though his authenticity as an emcee has been called into question often, many have to credit him for creating a lane that many would try to retread again and again just to stay relevant.
Thank Me Later solidified Drake's style to me. Take Care showed me he was becoming more ambitious with his sound. Nothing Was The Same had him proving his mark on game is indelible. If You're Reading This, It's Too Late made me see he let his success get to his head. Drake's emotional side has always been a double edge sword as it attracts females, but at times exposes his possessive/dependent tendencies. Then his hard persona can range from just a witty rapper to an unbelievable caricature of what a tough guy is supposed to be. This is why it seems like he's acting, since it never seems like he presents a multi-dimensional personality. He just plays a role for each song topic, but with the same finesse as his Degrassi days.
That finally brings me to Views, as it was a highly anticipated release. With no shortage of radio hits leading to this album, even I was curious to how this would sound despite my complete dislike of IYRTITL and disregard of What a Time to be Alive. I press play on the very first song, "Keep the Family Close", and instantly begin to get a sour taste in my mouth. Knowing Drake knew expectations were high, I feel you can just hear his efforts to make this seem epic and cinematic. As mentioned before though, it comes as conspicuous as his acting: it feels forced and noticeably unnatural. Every once in awhile there comes tracks that appear genuine, but others that could definitely could be ghostwritten and performed by our good boy, Jimmy. The album does execute one thing Drake set out to do, which was take you through Toronto in Winter and keep you company until Summer. He achieves that through his wrangling of production and a few sound bites in between songs.
Yet, this is just my results from my listens to the project. I ended up getting a few tracks I enjoy from Views, namely "Hype", "Weston Road Flows", "Too Good", & "Views". Plus, I'm still not tired of "Hotline Bling" due to my avoidance of the radio, although many wonder why its inclusion was even necessary after being out so long. I, personally, shouldn't be surprised with my takeaways from this project because I fared the same way with pretty much every project from Drake. Therefore, I can see fans of the actor formerly known as Aubrey not enjoying this album since it has just as much pop appeal as he's always had. Thing is, I've surprisingly heard some Drake fans were disgruntled with this LP. Some attribute it to the 20 song tracklist and others that there's just a little too much singing. Overall though, the "6 God" still has the hip hop game in his hands and Toronto is officially a "9" now since he's turned it upside down.
Views on the "Views":
Notable side assessments: Some of his corniest lines and most red flags for relationship behavior included. Kanye's better "Pop Style" verse not included.