—reviews by Jesse Wiles and Isaiah Fabre
Favorite Album: Nothing Was The Same
Where Does Views fall?: Nothing Was the Same, Views, IFYRTITL, Take Care.
What we liked:
Aspiring artists should take a page or two out of Drake’s playbook. Specifically from the page that talks about ‘why’ he releases music. He’s not here to make hits, although there are sure to be an abundance of them. The name of Drake’s game has always been longevity. Something that’s lacking in an age of “blowing up overnight” and a seemingly endless stream of one hit wonders. Hits that have been mass-manufactured and churned out ready to be thrown up on Worldstar or over a Vine loop, given two weeks of Twitter fame and then forgotten about.
After my first listen to Views I was unimpressed. So I took a step back and realized that I had become a product of my environment—too ready to consume and forget than to consume and digest. I realized that I wanted hits. I wanted bangers like “6 God” “10 Bands” or “Worst Behavior.” But instead I got a complete body of work, 20 tracks, spotless production from 40 on 12 of those and in the end an album that might be Drake’s best yet. The songs on this album might not stick out on their own as well as past Drake album’s (aside from the previously released material, “Summer 16,” “Hotline Bling,” etc.). The beauty of "Views" is it demands the listener to play the full album. And despite a limited attention span and the quest for “the hits,” people will, today, tomorrow and ten years from now. Forgive me for using the word ‘classic’ too soon, but this just might be.
Favorite Songs: “Keep the Family Close,” “With You,” “Faithful,” “Too Good,” “Weston Road Flows.”
Rank out of 10, first listen and now: First listen- 7/10, Current rank- 9.5/10
Favorite Album: Take Care
Where does Views fall?: Take Care, NWTS, Views, IYRTITL, Thank Me Later
What we liked:
Out of all of his past albums, this one is definitely the most well structured. On the first listen, I couldn't tell when a song was going to start or when the last one ended. I think that's not only a sign of good tracks on the album, but of a well thought out project. The whole OVO camp is very cryptic, and deliberate with their moves. Drake has been teasing this album since late '14 and from the ambiguous 6 God billboards, to the Instagrams with a single emoji as a caption, or the black and white photos of what seem to be people in hoods and snapbacks cast in shadows. Plenty of us, myself included, fell prey to the machine that is OVO sound. 2015 was Drake's year. Whatever you have to say about the overall success of What a Time To be Alive, his joint mixtape with Future, "Jumpman" and "Big Rings" hit major with some big television placements. His album "If You're Reading This It's Too Late" got the Grammy nomination along with his single "Back to Back" which came from Drake triumphantly squashing Meek Mill's claims about ghostwriting. And for me, after all that I felt like Drake could do no wrong. Until I listened to this album.
I did in fact really enjoy the album, and it has been in rotation since the night it dropped. But that’s all it has been, in rotation. Off of the first listen, I was more excited that the album was finally here (and that I was contributing to the new RIAA certification rules) than I was with a lot of the songs. The song content is indistinguishable from his last few projects. The few trap songs “Hype”, “Pop Style” and “Grammys” have tough beats, and a few memorable lines but I don’t see them being played long after summer ‘16. Did Drake hit his peak? It’s still too early to make that decision, but the response from the public seems to be pretty even on both sides. Some underwhelming reactions and some say it's his best yet. Drake’s vocal performance on the album is his best yet definitely. His singing is composed and polished, his rapping is capable and tenacious. But there were songs that could’ve been left off, maybe some features should've remained. I’m excited to see how the rest of the year plays out for Drake and "Views". Will it be the classic we all were expecting, or will only a few singles last the test of time?
Favorite Songs: “Childs Play” “9” “Feel No Ways” “Summer’s Over Int” “U With Me?”
Rank out of 10, first listen and now: first listen: 7/10 current rank - 8/10