Finally. Today (after inexplicably blessing the U.S. and Canada and making the UK — who were on the right day, mind you — wait well into the morning), Drake liberates his fourth studio album Views, which sees 20 tracks and appearances from Rihanna, Future, Kanye West, JAY Z, Wizkid, Kyla, Popcaan, Pimp C and OVO Sound artists PARTYNEXTDOOR and DVSN.
We decided to live blog throughout our first listen of the project and end it with a general idea of whether we feel Views hit the mark or not, which will be updated as we cycle through the tracklisting. Enjoy:
1. Keep the Family Close (Prod. Maneesh): First thought, Drake’s keeping the ‘No New Friends’ mindset. Big orchestra sounds that definitely get you ready for the rest of the album. He’s singing…hoping that this won’t be most of what we hear.
2. 9 (Prod. 40, Co-Prod. Boi-1da & Brian Alexander Morgan): Drake’s rapping (although in the popular style that he learned from Quentin Miller and whomever else has written for/with him last year). Still, we definitely like where this is going. That cold weather feeling.
3. U With Me? (Prod. 40 & Kanye West): Drake just (basically) remixed DMX’s ‘How’s It Going Down’. Immediately remember when DMX dissed Drake some time ago. Hope he got a big check for Drake using this. Drake’s back on his emotional ex-boyfriend rap (and why wouldn’t he be? That’s his bread and butter).
4. Feel No Ways (Prod. Jordan Ullman of Majid Jordan): Back to singing for ‘Feel No Ways’. Definitely back in the Pop pocket a la ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. Will probably be a crowd favourite, although we will probably skip past this cut on future listens.
SIDEBAR: Drake’s definitely on the emo-ish heavy. If it ain’t broke…right?
5. Hype (Prod. Boi-1da & Nineteen85, Co-Prod. Beat Bully): The cold weather vibe is very prominent so far. Drake is going off on this one (Migos-style….sigh). The blogs (including us) will probably be dissecting the lyrics on this one later. Lots of big boy statements aimed at somebody (or some bodies?).
SIDEBAR: Views sounds much better than Nothing Was The Same right now. While NWTS is similar (ie. Rap isn’t the prominent factor), Views feels like a more cohesive mix. Many more tracks to mess that up, though.
6. Weston Road Flows (Prod. 40): Drake continues to game-spit (and tell stories of life with friends growing up in Toronto) over some really nostalgic (90’s R&B vibe?), melodic production. Definitely an album favourite. Claims he’ll be retiring at 35.
7. Redemption (Prod. 40): Sing-rapping. Back on the emo. Definitely a master at being the sensitive ex-boyfriend for sure. He does get off some bars toward the end. Respect must go to 40 and his contributions at this point.
8. With You Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR (Prod. Murda Beatz): PARTYNEXTDOOR joins in. Chances are, he probably wrote all of this (including Drake’s parts). This is full R&B. Is that The-Dream (NOTE: It’s Jeremih.)?
9. Faithful Feat. Pimp C & DVSN (Prod. 40, Co-Prod. Boi-1da & Nineteen85): Pimp C’s appearance definitely stands out in a negative way (just doesn’t fit with the song). Not a fan of this one. Can certainly see DVSN’s potential, though.
10. Still Here (Prod. Daxz, Co-Prod. 40): Now Drake sounds like Chief Keef. Appropriation accusers will probably pick on this one…still sounds good, though. Boastful Drake.
11. Controlla (Prod. Boi-1da, Co-Prod. Supa Dups & Allen Ritter): You heard this one. Pop/Reggae-style. Will be a radio and club hit if it isn’t already. Looks like Popcaan was removed from the original, leaked version. Drake holds his own regardless.
12. One Dance Feat. Wizkid and Kyla (Prod. Nineteen85, Co-Prod. 40 & Wizkid): Drake takes from the UK…will probably be a bigger hit than its predecessor. Salute to Kyla (who appears on this) and Crazy Cousinz. Big collab for Wizkid as well.
13. Grammys Feat. Future (Prod. 40 & Southside, Co-Prod. Cardo & Young Exclusive): Obviously, this is for fans of ‘What A Time To Be Alive’. For us, this doesn’t have much replay value.
14. Child’s Play (Prod. 40): Funny “skit” prior to this song coming on (we hope you’re not dating a girl that goes to opening season games without you). Song slightly switches gears from “regretful ex-boyfriend” to “we’re still in a roller coaster relationship”. Same emotional Drake applies.
SIDEBAR: Fans of Drake’s earlier work (ie. So Far Gone) should definitely be as happy as newer fans. Views is serving vibes for everyone.
15. Pop Style (Prod. Sevn Thomas & Frank Dukes): Drake removes ‘The Throne’ and goes solo. Truth is, he really didn’t need JAY or ‘Ye on this (especially JAY). Goes Migos flow for the second verse.
16. Too Good Feat. Rihanna (Prod. Nineteen85): Lots of Caribbean vibes through ‘Views’. Here’s the next one, with ex-gyal Rihanna. Make no mistake: these two or great on a record, every time (imagine if they followed Big Sean and Jhene Aiko and made an album together? Maybe it would finally get JAY and Beyoncé to make one).
17. Summers Over Interlude (Prod. Maneesh): This is like pure Blues/Soul! Who is this? Majid (of Majid Jordan)? I really need to catch up on these guys!
18. Fire & Desire (Prod. 40): The smoothness of the previous track eases right into this one. Drake on his grown-and-sexy R&B vibe. Not mad. Still wowed by that last track, wishing it was a full song.
19. Views (Prod. Maneesh): Starts off on a Gospel-vibe (
or Whitney Houston? NOTE: It’s the Winans). Gets very Hip-Hop. Drake is definitely paying proper homage to Toronto with this one. Just Blaze, is that you? (It isn’t.)
20. Hotling Bling: Don’t really think any explanation of this track is needed. It functions as a bonus track on Views, since the self-titled cut before it provides proper closer for the album. Fair enough.
All-in-all, Drake’s Views is a lengthy — like, ‘could’ve-been-a-few-songs-shorter’ lengthy — ode to both his city (Toronto) and his sound (heart-on-sleeve hit records and emotional cries to an old flame that let him go). With that said, Drake still manages to brings much of his older styles to the project as well, making it a one-play-fits-all (or most) that will surely top annual charts. Unfortunately, the Hip-Hop purists (probably) will see this as another step back for Aubrey.
STREAM/DOWNLOAD: Drake – Views
DRAKE – VIEWS (FULL TRACKLISTING):
1. Keep the Family Close (Prod. Maneesh)
2. 9 (Prod. 40, Co-Prod. Boi-1da & Brian Alexander Morgan)
3. U with Me? (Prod. 40 & Kanye West)
4. Feel No Ways (Prod. Jordan Ullman of Majid Jordan)
5. Hype (Prod. Boi-1da & Nineteen85, Co-Prod. Beat Bully)
6. Weston Road Flows (Prod. 40)
7. Redemption (Prod. 40)
8. With You Feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR (Prod. Murda Beatz)
9. Faithful Feat. Pimp C & DVSN (Prod. 40, Co-Prod. Boi-1da & Nineteen85)
10. Still Here (Prod. Daxz, Co-Prod. 40)
11. Controlla (Prod. Boi-1da, Co-Prod. Supa Dups & Allen Ritter)
12. One Dance Feat. Wizkid and Kyla (Prod. Nineteen85, Co-Prod. 40 & Wizkid)
13. Grammys Feat. Future (Prod. 40 & Southside, Co-Prod. Cardo & Young Exclusive)
14. Child’s Play (Prod. 40)
15. Pop Style (Prod. Sevn Thomas & Frank Dukes)
16. Too Good Feat. Rihanna (Prod. Nineteen85)
17. Summers Over Interlude (Prod. Maneesh)
18. Fire & Desire (Prod. 40)
19. Views (Prod. Maneesh)
20. Hotline Bling (Prod. Nineteen85)