Last week Grammy award winning rap artist, Drake dropped his long anticipated album VIEWS.
VIEWS has been discussed by Drizzy and his fans for over a year now and has even been subtly referenced to in some of his songs. With his staggering resume of hit albums with off the charts record sales, the constructed hype behind VIEWS by hip-hop fans everywhere is, understandable.
His debut mixtape So Far Gone and his debut studio album Thank Me Later both included top 100 billboard records.
After his first two albums were successes he dropped Take Care, which gave him his first Grammy for an album. He then came out with Nothing Was the Same and “If you’re reading this it’s too late,” which were critically acclaimed.
Coming off his joint album with hip hop artist Future, entitled What a Time to Be Alive, Drake’s VIEWS finally hit the digital shelves where I was able to give it a listen.
Via itunes, I came to the conclusion on whether or not October’s Very Own’s new record was worth owning. As expected the album brought two things to the table that have become Drake trademarks.
First an in depth self-reflexive album cover art, and second club jams that you will undoubtedly hear on an endless loop in the near future.
Songs such as One Dance featuring Wizkid and Kyla is the epitome of this as it provides a catchy medium paced beat with Drake’s R&B style to make an all-around great track.
Hotline Bling is in fact on this album and is a far bigger hit than One Dance, but since it’s been beaten into the ground from constant radio play and social media attention, it doesn’t need to be mentioned further.
These jams in addition to Controlla, which was Drake’s stab at a reggae style song that wasn’t half bad, and With You featuring (to no surprise as they have collaborated often in the past) PARTYNEXTDOOR, also scored as positives for me.
With this album being one of the longer albums for Drake (20 songs), I was curious to hear how he was going to fill it out and that ended up being the root of my disappointment.
With the exception of the hand full of songs named, a lot of the tracks on VIEWS were lackluster and repetitive, leaving me asking for more.
Keep the Family Close, 9 and U With Me? all were weak lyrically and didn’t really offer anything new as far as beat quality and flow goes.
Some songs even sounded overly similar to songs of old from previous albums. For example, the song Feel No Ways, sounded almost identical to the Nothing Was the Same track Hold on, We’re Going Home, in terms of beat and general vibe.
Although some songs like Hype will most likely have a place on my workout mix, to give the album a letter grade i feel it is deserving of a C-.
The harsh grade is warranted when factoring the amount of hype and build up behind the album, comparison to Drake’s competitors and their latest albums and overall quality. As a pure hip hop album, VIEWS does not belong in the same breath as Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly or J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive 2014.
Lyrically both albums are on a superior level, but the argument opens up a philosophical can of worms that is usually not addressed by critics.
Drake’s album will undoubtedly have legendary sales with billboard 100 hits based on its immediate popularity.
Just the day after its release, VIEWS became the number one worldwide trend on twitter and Yik Yak as he is the master of the catchy and smooth sounding song, more so than the lyrical, poetic songs with groundbreaking and complex subject matter.
The album’s success keeps VIEWS from being bad album and does deserve a listen in some regards, but to give the album the true hip hop based critique it deserves, Drake’s latest album is just mediocre.
Nick Tocco can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org