Drake’s VIEWS Is A Sadder, Colder, And Worse Version Of Every Drake Album » VSB

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Drake’s VIEWS Is A Sadder, Colder, And Worse Version Of Every Drake Album

Has Drake fallen off? I’ve had a hunch that this was happening for a little over a year now, but the pop-culture whirlwind of Meek Mill and “Hotline Bling” threw me off the case. The truth was buried beneath a shower of memes and GIFs. Somehow, the stench of tepid-hotdog-water bars found their way into this detective’s nose.

With the release of Views, I was forced to revisit suspicions I’ve had since the simpler times of winter 2015. I drew my looking glass a bit closer and found three chinks in Drake’s armor: transparent calculation, wave riding, and lazy bars. The current state of the rap game had left these weak points uncovered and untested by competitors, but maybe VIEWS would assuage my concerns. Let me take you back to where it all started.

March 2015. Paris. A disappointingly terrible nightclub.

An unrepentant Kanye stan, I foolheartedly attend a Just Blaze set with a flash drive of struggle beats while on vacation, because, hey, you never know. Prior to Just Blaze’s arrival, someone made the decision that the entirety of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late needed to be played to a room full of clubgoers.

It did not need to be played; it was not a good album. For a brief period, the pop-culture gods had deemed that “woe” was a thing. It was terrible. It was contrived—it may have been written by Quentin Miller—but people liked it and I couldn’t understand why. The entire project was filled with bread-loaf ends, outside of “Used 2,” “6PM in New York,” “6 Man” and “Jungle.” Fortunately, the karma of releasing a reach like “Madonna” quickly rebounded and Drake received an ashtray and plain Listerine kiss from Madonna herself.

The averageness of IYRTITL could be chalked up to the project being deemed a mixtape, but “Madonna” is an example of one of Drake’s consistent issues. Referencing other artists is fine, but his heavy-handedness results in poor execution. “Wu-Tang Forever,” “Practice” and the outro on “6 Man” were lowlights on his previous albums. On Views he commits the sin again with “U With Me?” He even had the nerve to name a track “Fire & Desire,” which included melodic vocals but had no “sangin’” on it.

May 2015. Los Angeles. A bar.

The happy hour crowd is preparing to watch the Atlanta Hawks get casually swept aside by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time. A cameraman catches LeBron James singing “My Way” by Fetty Wap. Fetty Wap was the hottest thing in 2015, so, of course, Drake remixed it. Drake also liked ILoveMakonnen“Tuesday” and remixed it. Drake also liked Migos’ “Versace” and remixed it.

There’s nothing wrong with an artist appreciating the work of up-and-comers, but Drake’s quickness to hang 10 on the latest wave is becoming less tolerable as his star grows. Recently, ILoveMakonnen commented on Drake’s lack of support during his time on the OVO Sound label before quickly backtracking. Even his latest collaboration with Future was driven heavily by Future’s sound.

VIEWS showcases Drake’s affinity for dancehall on “Too Good,” “Controlla,” “One Dance” and a few outros, including a shoutout from Beenie Man. While Toronto has a large Caribbean community, it’s never really been front and center in Drake’s work. Maybe, as de facto mayor, he’s trying to bring the entire “6” under his banner.

“Pop Style” Drake feat. Jay Z and Kanye West” appears on my news feed. I scour YouTube to find an official track and am treated to an audio diaper: “Got so many chains they call me ‘Chaining Tatum.’ (Editor’s note: An entire episode of True Hollywood Stories needs to be dedicated to deconstructing how bad that line is.) The spirit of Big Sean is moving. Also, the Jay Z feature was two bars. Which isn’t quite “Fuck y’all niggas,” but it’s clearly “I’m busy nuzzling my wife’s ankle.” The final album version includes neither Jay nor Ye.

Drake’s lyricism has always been solid, but his ever increasing focus on his flow, coupled with the specter of Quentin Miller, has introduced doubts. These doubts turned to legitimate concerns when I heard the final official track on the album, the titular “Views.” Typically, the last track on a rap album is reserved for barzzz, and these lines were obviously not peer reviewed: “My wifey is a spice like I’m David Beckham,” and “It’s like the front of the plane, nigga, it’s all business.

After wading through a sea of Lemonade to give VIEWS some quality time, I came to a realization: Too many years of celebrity have eroded Drake’s greatest attribute, his honesty. Attempts at crafting or sometimes following a particular sound leave even his best bars lost in a cloud of disingenuity.

Drake is a rapper, not a band; sound alone leaves his persona lost in a caricature of itself. VIEWS touches on “the come-up,” but it generally sidesteps Lil Wayne. It mentions his legacy but doesn’t really discuss who he’s inspiring or actually working with.

The album once again muses on relationships, but instead of the faux-wistful dismissiveness we’ve come to expect from manipulative player Drake, we get a cold cornball lothario. A man relegated to the truth of his ain’t-shit-ness. It’s eerie that more of the same would follow Nothing Was the Same. VIEWS is Soviet-era propaganda. Toronto in red. Compelling, thoughtful and masterful, while simultaneously cold and devoid of joy, like the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers. Drake says it himself on “Hype”: “I don’t take shit for granted; I do my own propaganda.”

He didn’t fall off, but I think Aubrey has gone missing.

Brandon Harrison

Brandon lives in LA and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you.

  • Baemie St. Patrick

    This is going to make me sit and give Views a serious listen. It was cool upon first listen. Second listen, I got bored halfway thru and went back to Lemonade. Thank you for forcing a 3rd, fine-toothed listen.

    • Brandon Allen

      It’s a good album but if you’re a genuine drake fan than it just leaves you missing something.

      • Baemie St. Patrick

        I wasn’t wowed. Something in his life needs to happen. Serena and Rihanna need to link up and write a tell-all or SOMETHING.

        • Jennifer

          How about a “visual tell-all” chock full o’ struggle twerk?

          • Baemie St. Patrick

            I laughed from way down in my gut

  • Drake has always been a rough listen, even at his best. The emo style is a turn off. Then again, I may or may not have screamed like a boy band fan when I found out the Beatnuts did a Juan Epstein podcast, so there’s that.

    Call me crazy, but I don’t mind cornball lothario. Considering he was passive aggressive f*ckboy before, this is growth. He’s admitting that you can’t hump 20% of the Black strippers in America and claim you’re deep in wuv.

    • At some point in time, you start believing the lies you tell them.

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      That Beatnuts episode had me gassed, I forgot how many bangers they got.

      But Beatnuts Forever from the Violator album tho? Pssssss my #1 track aside from Mysonne, 8-Ball, & Ma$e.

      • I swear that podcast was a sign from God telling me that life will be fine. As for my favorite Beatnuts songs, it’s a tie between Stone Crazy and Hit Me With That.

        I also didn’t know how much they produced, which considering how much I stan for them is scary. Wait… Chi Ali’s album was pieced together from the beats on their DEMO???!!!

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          That’s why I love Juan Ep, so much hip-hop history never gets told.

  • Annalise Keating

    Has there been a decent drake album since “Thank me later.”?

    • Baemie St. Patrick

      I used to think Take Care was meh, but I can appreciate it a lot more now. NWTS is pretty solid IMO.

      • Auggie

        I still bump NWTS from time to time

    • Brandon Allen

      Take Care is peak Drake.

      • That’s the Aubrey… I LOVE.

      • Baemie St. Patrick

        you might be right.

    • uNk

      “Nothin Was The Same” is probably his most solid piece as an album.

    • 1. NWTS
      2. Take Care
      3. Views
      4. Thank Me Later
      5. If Youre Reading…

      • Brandon Allen

        NWTS has high highs but some low lows. The language, 305 to my city are boo boo.

  • -h.h.h.-

    after 1 listen…

    it’s a great album. should win a grammy and an oscar.

    gonna keep it on repeat for the rest of the week.

    • LOL

    • miss t-lee

      What, no classic?
      LOL

      • -h.h.h.-

        cant give out the classic label all willy nilly

        last classic album i listened to was Cam’Ron’s Purple Haze

        • miss t-lee

          I thought you were being funny…which is why I mentioned classic.
          Folks will drop the classic label 10 minutes after the album drops.

        • Brandon Allen

          What? No MBDTF?

          • Julian Green

            Why do people think that’s a good album?

            • Brandon Allen

              Cuz it’s great. Maximalist, great production. What’s a good album to you?

              • Julian Green

                A good album would be Anderson .Paak’s Malibu; Boogie’s The Reach or Illadelph Halflife by The Roots.

                Good albums are more than just great production; if I don’t like with the lyrics and themes, I’m not going to be able to enjoy the music. And- for me- Kanye West consistently ruins his own songs by opening his mouth.

                • Brandon Allen

                  Your taste seems specific. That album is great and the lyricism is some of Ye’s best and the themes are compelling. But to each his own.

  • Auggie

    “Views” was solid… I agree that Aubrey has gone MIA… Not sure if that’s a bad thing though. It would disingenuous for Drake to rap as if he was still that sensitive, shy kid from Toronto. He’s a man grown now –not quite as vulnerable as he was in his earlier projects. This is neither good nor bad… it simply is what it is.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    You are like the probably like the fourth or fifth person to give very middling/bad reviews on this album. Add to the fact that I’m not really feeling the singles (at least how i am with his previous music )….Looks like I can hold off on starting that apple music three month trial.

    But I will admit I will go see him on tour because future. (Saw him in concert back in October and I got it, although he is no Kendrick or J.cole)

    Also probably won’t spend as much as i did for Beyonce…..because it’s freaking Beyonce

    • Baemie St. Patrick

      I’ve seen him twice and he puts on a very good show. This time around though, I’m going to see dvsn.

  • Singing Drake is BAE.. Rapping Drake not so much anymore.

    • Baemie St. Patrick

      “Doing It Wrong” is still>>>>>> and Stevie’s harmonica was the perfect touch.

      “A Night Off” is still chexy time playlist music.

      • miss t-lee

        “”A Night Off” is still chexy time playlist music.”

        I still think Lloyd did most of the heavy lifting on that one…lol

        • Lloyd washed him

          • miss t-lee

            Yup.

          • TheCollinB

            Omarion did too…

        • Baemie St. Patrick

          He did but I liked the way their voices contrasted. That’s before we knew to look to the sky for the jig.

          • miss t-lee

            LMAO

      • TheCollinB

        The joint with Omarion still gets play like it’s brand new

        • Baemie St. Patrick

          Bria’s Interlude? YES

          and speaking of Brand New, that song is still so tough.

          I miss So Far Gone Drake lol

  • Cleojonz

    One Dance is my ish! I don’t plan to listen to the rest of the album though. I don’t own a single Drake album.

    • uNk

      If you love One Dance, then you should listen to Controlla.

      • Cleojonz

        I do like that one! I am terrible with song names lol. Hadn’t even occurred to me I’d heard it already until I googled it.

    • axrxi

      Controlla is actually better than one dance for me

    • Val

      <— Doesn't even own a Drake single.

      • JennyJazzhands

        *picks up purse to come sit by you*

        • AlwaysCC

          *scoots you over and takes a seat* want some skinny pop?

        • NonyaB

          *Joins y’all with a quickness*

      • Cleojonz

        Me neither. I got Spotify lol.

    • Drakeggaeton is annoyingly catchy

      • Cleojonz

        “Drakeggaeton”

        LOL! I might have to steal that.

  • uNk

    I cant agree with ppl at all saying that its a horrible album, because it truly isn’t. Ppl got a little too used to “What A Time To Be Alive,” and “If You’re Reading This Its Too Late” Drake, when in reality that is not the type of music ol boy puts out regularly. Granted, the album doesn’t really start for me until track 9. He took a good number of ppl off the album though that he released as singles with them on there. To me, that wasn’t really a good look, but that’s just me. The album is decent, not a classic though.

  • axrxi

    After maybe 20 run throughs of Views, I feel like it’s very below average. I watched some interview that 40 did, and he made the mention that ‘Views’ would be what we needed not necessarily what we wanted. But I didn’t need or want THIS Drake.

    And we have a superfluous amount of light skinned Drake. It even got me, in ‘Child’s Play’ when he says it.

    Maybe I’d feel different if it were a fall release, and I could listen to it during another failed attempt at cuffing season. But this is not summer 16 worthy.

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