Drake Has Borrowed Too Many Feelings
Strange as it may seem, Drake, who is known for being one of the more sensitive rappers to hit the scene, may be in rare form on his fourth studio album, Views. Never one to shy away from stories of lost love, betrayal, and comeuppance, Views sees him hitting all the familiar beats with a velvet covered baseball bat. If Drake feels like you’ve wronged him, then there’s a song for you on this album, I just wish the delivery was something close to interesting.
Let me make this clear; Views is not a bad album, not by any stretch of the imagination. The beats, most by frequent Drizzy collaborator/Producer, 40, suit the Toronto MC like his favorite pair of sneakers. The problem throughout Views is that arguably the biggest “rapper” in the game has put out his safest work yet. Leading up to what was then known as Views from the 6, Drake had said he was going to explore different flows, cadence and beats in order flex some artistic muscle. The mixtape releases preceding Views seemed to be going in that general direction, with If You’re Reading This…and What A Time To Be Alive featuring a darker, more focused MC. Views falls more into a sing-songy back and forth with Drake and his various ex’s, where he layers on all his insecurities and misogyny on a faux-R&B track as to come off less intimidating.
Drake’s capabilities as a rapper can hardly be disputed. At his best he is as sharp and witty as any of your favorites, but on Views he’s working more on reputation than execution. On “Hype” he spits “Dat boy light as Michael Jackson, but on verses he be blackin'”, and at that moment, the entire “real hip-hop” crowd simultaneously went blind from eye rolling. The album is peppered with turns of phrase that feel lazy and uninspired, but no one in the studio could muster the strength to tell “First Take Drake” that they were whack. Lest they end up the subject of another song about people not taking Drake’s side, the major theme throughout Views.
The opening track, “Keep the Family Close” is all about the women who don’t seem to have time for him anymore, and by the end you can’t really blame any of them. Drake wants you to drop everything in your life to take care of him and his fragile feelings, while not exactly caring about yours. Typical “me first” relationship stylings from a millennial, mixed in with traditional male talking points. “Hey girl, I can take care of you financially, so everything else should be fine….wait, why are you walking away?” But hey, he’s singing, so it’s cool. Let him name every Waffle House waitress that ignores his texts and make it seem like he’s the victim. I feel like i’m watching the pre-credits to a teen comedy that gives updates on all the characters when he goes into full simp mode. It’s moment like that when you almost agree with DMX, except he was hating just a little too much for my taste.
Drake never fully has a black out moment on Views where he truly takes over song and makes you want to scroll back and listen to a section or line again. It all just rolls around, lush and inoffensive. On the 20-track album, most seem to run together, making cohesion seem like a bad word. The stand outs only being that because they borrow heavily from West Indian and Afro Beat styles enough to border appropriation. People were already crediting Drake and Toronto for the term “ting” by Friday morning. A trend setter he may be, but we may need to pump the brakes a bit.
I don’t know how much i’ll revisit Views after this initial run. Drake albums tend to have a pretty good shelf life, but everything about this album feels like Take Care 2.0, and I didn’t care much for that version of R&Beef Drake either. A good amount of hype got people on board early, and the overnight sales being any indication, people are going to be spending the first part of the summer convincing themselves this album is better than it is. Again, not bad, but safely coasting 55 mph in that Buggati on its way to CVS.
Highlights: Feel No Ways, Weston Road Flows, Controlla, Views, Hotline Bling, Too Good