Views on Views: The “6 God” Largely Disappoints
by Soleil Devonish on Friday, May 13th, 2016
We all remember when singer/rapper Drake famously rapped “Started from the bottom now I’m here” in his 2013 song of the same name. Well it’s 2016 and it seems like the self proclaimed “6 God” is still on top of the rap game. However, on April 28th Drake released his highly anticipated album Views. And, shockingly, the album did not exactly live up to fans’ expectations.
Coming off the heels of a busy 2015 that included collaborative mixtapes and infamous feuds, Drake began 2016 with the promotional single “Summer Sixteen.” He later released “One Dance” featuring Wizkid and Kyla and then “Pop Style” featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z. The album, originally titled Views from the 6, was set to be released on the April 29th, but Drake dropped the renamed Views a day early on Apple Music. Perhaps because of Drake’s extremely successful 2015, fans had higher hopes for the album.
With interludes of strings and core drum breaks, the first song on the track, “Keep the Family Close,” has obvious tones of moodiness and inner conflict. From beginning to end, Drake maintains themes of paranoia, loneliness, and nostalgia as he mixes rapping with singing. Written and produced out of the love for his home city Toronto, Views reminisces about memories with family and old flames. Yet, Drake also conveys bitterness about his past in lines like, “Not havin’ closure it take a lot out of me/ This year for Christmas I just want apologies” from the song “Redemption.”
Only songs like “Hype,” “Still Here,” “Child’s Play,” and “Grammys” disrupt the chill, moody sounds of the album. Drake’s other sixteen songs are slow, dreary, and largely similar to each other. With very few upbeat songs, Views quickly became a snoozefest for me. Shamelessly, I’ll admit that, by the fifth record on the track, I had tuned out — only to tune back in when I heard Mary J. Blige’s vocals in “Weston Road Flows.” But I sadly lost focus again until “Grammys.”
Drake and producer Noah “40” Shebib are known for their classic, chill vibe that is unique to their record label, OVO Sound. So Drake, ever since his earliest works, has been true to this sound. Nevertheless, a slow paced moodiness drags on in Views for twenty one songs. With repetitive musings about exes and woes, the album is filled with nostalgia for his youth and complaints about the cost of his current success.
Yes, Drake typically plays the sad boy of hip hop, but a whole album of this dreariness? Call me nostalgic, but I miss the 2015 Drake – the one who spit two diss tracks against Meek Mill “Back to Back,” the one who pulled a Beyonce and dropped an unannounced mixtape, the one who confidently declares himself “6 God” in his song of the same name. Don’t get me wrong, of course I appreciate the sensitivity Drake often brings to the table. However, in Views, lines like “Dry cry cause I’m hopeless/ Choose your lover for the moment” saturate the entire album with a sadness that becomes tiresome.
While I personally did not think this was Drake’s best album, there are many fans who disagree. “I’m a pretty big fan of Views,” says Liz Foster (III). “I think after the If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape, he needed to refresh and go back to that sound.” Conflicting opinions from Drizzy’s fan base are, of course, fairly common. The album garnered mostly mixed reviews from loyal listeners with extreme opinions.
Although I’m not a huge fan of Drake’s latest work, I highly suggest the songs “Grammys” and“Pop Style.” At the end of the day, everything boils down to personal preference: sensitive Drake or hype Drake. As you can probably tell, I prefer hype Drake. Regardless, keeping both aesthetics in mind, I think it’s best to listen to the album to decide which Drake you like more.
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