- Mathew Silver
Drake is getting a lot of love for this new album and I can’t quite figure it out. Aside from having the tightest cover art I’ve ever seen, there’s nothing new going on for the Toronto born rapper in his latest collaboration with producer Noah “40” Shebib. While I wouldn’t qualify myself as a rap enthusiast, I’m familiar with the genre and have proudly kept up with Drake’s progress on the rap scene. Which meant that my expectations were high for this instalment, considering that a flop could indeed mean the end of an era for “The 6 God.”
With “Views,” we’re getting the same atmospheric crooning we have come to expect from Drizzy, just without any of the fun, or anything that could potentially progress the genre. You can’t listen to past bangers “Headlines,” or “The Motto” or “Energy” or “10 Bands” without wanting to jump out of your seat. With “Views” I feel like I’m constantly stuck in some scuzzy, smoke filled Toronto strip club, coughing and bleary-eyed, waiting for a lap dance from a girl named Steffi. And to top it all off, I have to wait until track 20 to hear “Hotline Bling,” the only source of glimmering hope that Drake has retained his sense of humour along the way.
It could be that this album was ultimately over promoted, with a hype train that started with “Hotline Bling,” and rode all the way through NBA All-Star Weekend. It’s hard to imagine an album that could have met those expectations. My friend, upcoming Toronto rapper “Johnny Active” noted that, “people just don’t have the attention span for 20 songs, even if you’re the biggest star on the planet.” I’m tempted to think that he chose quantity over quality, but at this stage in his career I wouldn’t expect as much from such a calculated artist; Drake should know better.
It all feels very safe, and by not moving forwards it seems to me like Drake is moving backward, especially on an album that people have been anticipating for two years. Every song sounds like a late-night phone call between Drake and Bae, but I guess it’s hard for me to believe that he could possibly be having girl problems at this stage in his career. Not to mention that the narrative of his life has hopefully changed since he took the world by storm in 2008; you’re too famous to be whining to girls over the phone Aubrey. Just tell them you will show them the studio or something, or that they can meet Future. That will get them over.
Drake said, “I’ve got enemies, got a lot of enemies,” and it was that fire and tenacity that made him singlehandedly end Meek Mill’s career in “Back 2 Back” – on short notice. That Drake was absent from the studio when making this album. The irony is that he, “Took a break from views…” to make a song that would have stood out as one of the best on the album. My advice to Drake: start having fun again. Your famous mixture of melancholic, late-night, red velvet couch, whiskey on the rocks soul music, with a little dose of those upbeat, crispy, ear-worm goodies that make you so accessible to the every day fan is your recipe for success.
Fingers crossed that someone in the industry calls him out, and Drizzy will have to respond from his all too comfortable perch atop the CN Tower. Six!!!!!!