but I do recognize that his talents and skills in this industry are top notch. He's dominating, aiming for greatness, breaking chart records, etc... The Toronto singer/rapper set high expectations for his VIEWS album, so I held him to it.
When I gave my ears to the album, I was instantly brought back to a little bit of Take Care mixed with So Far Gone, and in the end, it was OK. From his "Back to Back" diss transpiring into a leading single and releasing What A Time To Be Alive with Future this past summer, I assumed Drake was projecting major HEAT in preparation for VIEWS, but instead the forecast was mainly cloudy, foggy, and rainy. VIEWS honestly put me to sleep after awhile. I had to take a couple of breaks and come back to it every now and then to get Drake's full intentions with the record.
When I heard his interview with Zane Lowe, he touched on VIEWS being a seasonal album where he addresses his personal emotions (now I get the cloudy, fog perspective) vs. his past projects where he's described others' emotions with him involved. Drake has always played it simple with the repeated topics on fake friends/enemies coming left and right, exes from serious relationships that he can't get over, etc... We've heard it all before in Take Care and in If You're Reading This It's Too Late. I mean that's basically Drake's brand but damn...I wanted more depth in his storytelling. He also spoke with Zane on wanting to go deeper but he didn't want to create a theme of telling someone else's story. Regardless, there wasn't much of a story...just hits. As creative Drake got when he clowned Meek Mill with memes and two diss tracks during their beef, I wondered why he fell short with the album we anticipated to be a milestone in his career.
VIEWS took about TWO YEARS to complete and from a couple of in-depth listens, I got 20 recycled hits. I really thought there was going to be a full concept...with the name VIEWS and the album cover of Drake photo-shopped on top of CN Tower’s SkyPod, I'd figure he'd dive into the Toronto scene but sadly I didn't get any of those vibes. I've never been to Toronto either and VIEWS definitely didn't intrigue me to visit. What I was looking for was growth in his artistry,something that would raise my eyebrows and be impressed with.
The highs to VIEWS were his island tracks ("Controlla" and "One Dance"), which mainstream radio is preparing to over saturate in their rotations this coming summer. While discussing with my music friend Britt Whyms, she stated: "I think he sees growth in regards to hopping on different sound waves. First, it was his infatuation with Aaliyah, then the Latino culture, and now the Caribbean culture (which is debatable since a lot of Jamaicans live in Toronto and many Canadians have adapted their lingo/accent). I want more out of him lyrically." We know Drake can make a hit and his vocal levels on this album were definitely a step up from his past works,but a couple of punchlines here and there that will eventually become a caption or post on social media is long overdue.
Production from Noah "40" Shebib never disappoints which probably prevented the album from going south. I do love that Mary J Blige sample for "Western Road Flows," but I'm pretty sure we've all gotten used to the signature OVO sound. In fact, I feel like 40 locked himself in the studio, honing in on this project while Drake spent his these past two years as a social media phenom.
Marketing and business-wise, Drake knows what he's doing. He's got his formula down and calculated to a 'T.' You don't hear too many rappers in their feelings lately, especially with the trap era we're in right now in Hip-Hop,and I see that Drake sticks to the route he knows he can flourish in. Fortunately for him,numbers don't lie and his VIEWS is charting over his past records with over 850,000+ sales in just one week. Lyrically, I was just expecting some type of growth from the aesthetic he's pulled off on past records.