Drake’s Views Is Not A Classic Album But That’s Ok…
I write this piece with my favorite new album playing in the background, which by happenstance is Drake’s new project; the album formerly known as Views from the 6.
Leading up to the most anticipated album release of the year (sorry, Ye) was this big picture talk. You heard it, I heard it; we all did.
“If Views isn’t a classic Drake becomes Carmelo instead of Lebron, Allen Iverson instead of Kobe”
(Insert mashup of AI’s “Practice” rant with Drake’s “Practice” here)
Well, skeptics, here it is. The album is here and no, it’s not a classic album. It does its best to reprise the opus that was Take Care; the timeless hip-hop track is interpolated on “U With Me?”; a “Take Care” Rihanna collab is here; what we now know as the “Drake” sound is as present as ever on every song. Even the best parts of what I think is Drake’s second best project (IYRTITL) resurface on Views that would seem to send this album well on its way to the Cooperstown of rap but at least a few days in, the album seems to miss the mark.
The album has the pop hits to keep it in the conversation for a while. It shows the vulnerable Drake that most rap fans once loved to hate on but now crave on every project. Even his promulgation of the island sound that starts getting bit off in 3..2.. Now will later take us back to this time and recapitulate on the warm months of 2016. Still, Views lacks the deep vulnerability of “Marvin’s Room”, the tear-jerking “Look What You’ve Done”, the “fuck you, look at me now” of “Shot for Me” and so much more. This cohort of music made for an epic; something like the “Odyssey”, whereas Views is doing its best to tell the story of the Iliad.
Views, while solid on every single track, lacks the bigness, the grandiosity, the vigor that makes you want to sing along with conviction. It seems to be “Charged Up” when we all wanted “Back 2 Back”. “Hype” and “Still Here” is as close as we get to the former but still nothing we’re willing to lose our voice reciting. The prolix rattling-off of words that send crowds into frenzy is best represented about 3.5 minutes into “U With Me?”. Simply, it lacks the snap and spaz effect that resonate with rap fans.
But check this out… It doesn’t matter. I repeat, Views (while I love every single track on the album) is not a classic. And that’s alright.
It doesn’t hamper Drake’s legacy in the slightest. The amazing album is just another attribution to what will end up as one of the most impressive, illustrious catalogs in music ever. As far as the “classic” talk, no one likely thought about the notion more than the man himself who broaches the subject on the album and frames it oh so beautifully.
“Look what I done in life… They love to talk.. Me I’m just done in the hype” he says on the hook. Seconds later in the second verse he lets us know “Views already a classic”. He knew what it was. That insight is what makes him the creme de la creme. And he couldn’t have been more correct in his positing. Allow me to put Views in perspective, once again (I did it for the first time when I begged Drake to postpone in the album back in January when it seemed a release was imminent). Though Drake has never stopped dropping the hottest verses rap has ever heard, things seemed to reset after NWTS dropped. Almost immediately it was the BBW line in “Only” and then “Truffle Butter”, with “0 to 100” kicking that off. Then the surprise classic-in-question If You’re Reading This dropped a little over a year ago. Since then we’ve witnessed arguably the best run in rap which was all but capped-off by the release of the magnificent Views.
From the aforementioned tracks to the singles that will run the radio waves (“Work” and “One Dance”) to his bedroom booms (“Controlla”), to the “I want you back hits”, the anthems (“Jumpman”, “Still Here”) and one of the best diss tracks in rap history, Drake has put together the most diverse discography ever in a little over a year! At no other time in music has an artist occupied so many lanes at once and so well, at that. It’s similar to what Snoop has done over the span of 25 years and Drake’s been around for just seven. His dogg-like similarities crossover into this area that broadcasts Snoop on ESPN several times a year or links him up with Martha Stewart from time-to-time. When we see Drake on the sidelines giving the Raptors pounds or when he’s out there with Kentucky (unphased by the Bomani Jones hate), Drake’s real position emerges. Him being a cultural icon who can still give us quotables and fashion references and so much more turns Views from being this impending move that can make or break Drake’s legacy to a very solid body of work that reaffirms his place in not only the history of music but pop culture, as well. This album is not an end, it’s another Tetris block built up to make his megalith indomitable. Drake = Mt. Everest; once just the world’s highest mountain, now a wonder of the world, a metaphor, a monument some will spend their lives trying to overcome. He’s just… enigmatic… Guess i’m still just… searching for these words to say about him.