Drake drops eclectic and electric album “VIEWS”


Photo Courtesy of Young Money

Drake sits atop Toronto’s CN Tower in his hometown most likely brainstorming genius lyrics along the lines of “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum” or “Ye’s pool is nice, mine’s just big is what I’m saying.”

“VIEWS,” Drake’s fourth, and possibly best, studio album is a fusion of styles that hiphop hasn’t seen since Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly.” Drake has been getting a lot of hate for the new direction his recent music has been taking, and “VIEWS” succeeds in putting those allegation to rest, with great lyrics, beats, an artistic cover to boot, and features from Future, Party Next Door, and Rihanna.

After a summer of anticipation and mentions of the album, April 29 is the day Drake finally delivered his surprising masterpiece of rap, R&B, and pop. While some could have easily forgotten about the album that has been over a year in the making, Drake made sure that we were looking forward to one of his most anticipated albums yet. Due to many releases such as “Hotline Bling” and “Back to Back,” and the thriving feud with fellow rapper Meek Mill, Drake sought to crush the competition and renew his spot atop hip-hop royalty all in one fell swoop; and the Canadian-born rapper did just that.

“Turn the 6 upside down, it’s a 9 now.” At that point, listeners knew Drake meant business.

— Cyril Blake-Tene

From the beginning, with the beloved track “Keep the Family Close,” it was clear that Drake had made a shift from the mixtape he dropped last year, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” and moving back to his roots. “Keep the Family Close” is one of my favorite tracks on the entire album because it throws listeners back to the release of his second studio album “Take Care.” Drake has hinted since the release of album “Nothing Was The Same” in 2014 that he would return to the Drake we saw in “Take Care” soon enough.

He delivered. The 20-track album continues on with the cool, yet raw beat of “9” that really puts the listener in the zone. Toronto, also known as the “6,” has seen a skyrocket in talent and exposure since Drake has come out and Drake acknowledges this with the line, “Turn the 6 upside down, it’s a 9 now.” At that point, listeners knew Drake meant business.

Throughout the album, plenty of names are dropped (a specialty of Drake’s), such as Channing Tatum and Justin Timberlake in “Pop Style,” and Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Kevin Durant in “Weston Road Flows,” pointing to just how popular Drake is with commoners and celebrities alike. Drake is one of the most public hip-hop superstars around who attends almost every Toronto Raptors basketball game and throws lavish parties in  LA, Toronto, and Vegas.

Finally, the crux lies here: this is not the Drake of old, yet it still is. If you’re a Drake fan, then you will fully comprehend that statement, and if you’re not, I would suggest listening to Drake’s first three albums. What makes this one different is the blending of different styles into one album, like the reggae feel in tracks like “Controlla” and “One Dance” and even use of a Carribbean accent without coming off as the “culture vulture” he has been accused to be. What makes this classic is the “Take Care” vibe he sends off, by asserting himself as a “Godfather” type figure in the hip-hop circle, and usually expressing his inner feelings to a female. In the end, “VIEWS not only pushes the envelope more than Drake ever has before, it gives us a view of what is on the horizon for Drake, and what Drake is planning for the rest of hip-hop.