I’ve Listened to Views Several Times and I Still Don’t Know…

12 May

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…if Drake has lost his damn mind.  Drake, the Six God, as he calls himself, is having a moment. Views, the highly anticipated studio album from the hip-hop/R&B artist is long, with twenty tracks completing the work.  Usually, when I see an album with twenty tracks, I think that the artist had a crisis of conscience.  However, I am unsure as to what Drake tried to accomplish with this album.  The fact that it was released less than a week after Beyonce’s obvious masterpiece Lemonade makes it even more difficult to appreciate.

One of the problems I think Drake has with this album is the release of “Hotline Bling” as the lead single ultimately molded its expectations. “Hotline Bling,” obviously one of the biggest songs of 2015 and its accompanying video making Drake a sweater-wearing, goofy-dancing icon, set Drake’s fans up for disappointment.

One of my favorite tracks on Views include “Child’s Play,” which narrates a lopsided relationship in which a woman continues sleeping with Drake in order to get him to continue buying her clothes.  Drake, of course, is using her for sex.  He references a fight taking place at Cheesecake Factory (a place that I could never imagine someone like Drake eating) and making up with luxury gifts: “I give out Chanel like a hug”.  Drake also expresses fear that his apparently high sex number will be exposed: “How many girls have slept in this bed – say a different number than the one in my head.” Drake also samples the New Orleans bounce hit “She Rode Dat Dick Like a Soldier”.  Drake sings, “She rode it like a soldier, She rode it like a jungle soldier” in the refrain, in an effort to bring some edge to the album.

Another great song is “Controlla,” a song with an island vibe and that sees Drake adopting Jamaican slang: “My last girl would tear me apart, but she’d never wanna split a ting with me”.  In the hook to the song, Drake decries the power this woman has over him: “I think I’d lie for you / I think I’d die for you / Jodeci “Cry For You” / Do things when you want me to /  Like controlla, controlla”.

“Controlla” is immediately followed by one of the album’s singles, “OneDance,” which maintains a fast-paced Afrobeat.   In the hook, Drake paints a scene of his infamous dancing, but in this case, he has a glass of Hennessy in his hand: “That’s why I need a one dance / Got a Hennessy in my hand / One more time ‘fore I go / Higher powers taking a hold on me”.  Another single from the album, “Pop Style,” contains more humblebrags: “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum”.

In the next track, “Grammys,” featuring everyone’s favorite mumbling rapper Future, Drake sends a clear message to his haters, who he reminds have not won Grammys like he has: “Tell me how you really feel, tell me how you really feel / I would ask you what’s the deal but y’all don’t even got a deal / Most niggas with a deal couldn’t make a greatest hits / Y’all a whole lot of things but you still ain’t this”.

There’s also a collaboration with Rihanna, Drake’s rumored girlfriend, called “Too Good,” which also has some Caribbean influence.  This song pales in comparison to Rihanna’s “Work,” on which Drake also appears.  To be honest, “Too Good” is pretty boring.  “Last night, I lost my patience,” sings Drake. “I’m too good to you,” he continues, perhaps singing to Rihanna, who chimes in with “I don’t know how to talk to you.”  These people seem really confused for more than one reason.

Throughout the album, Drake certainly seems pleased with himself.  Overall, the album is growing on me, but I truly think that twenty tracks is simply out of hand, and that perhaps some of the songs that appeared on Drake’s 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late should have been on Views to make a more sensible album. But is this as good as it will get for Drake creatively? He’s only 29 so I think there’s still some room for him to grow. I’m still waiting for Drake’s equivalent of Lemonade. 

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