I listened to Drake. Finally. The predominant reason is because it’s now available on Spotify. But yes, the most anticipated album of the year finally hit my ear buds in TLOP, Lemonade, Views. I heard a lot of chatter about Wheelchair Jimmy doing Wheelchair Jimmy things. Let’s see for myself…
Drake moves the needle in the rap game. I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan. My “hate” originates from the fact that I think he’s OK and not THE man in the rap game. Thank Me Later was solid. Take Care was good. Nothing Was the Same was ok. And now Views is… more of the same. For a man that people are touting as the top dog, he has a gear that he never seems to kick up to. But I don’t like blind ignorance. I rather see/listen for myself. So with this album, rap’s most meme-able figure drops the equivalent of a baseball player who hits .280. You can keep him in your lineup, but hesitate putting him toward the top of your lineup.
I half jokingly tweeted that “Keep the Family Close” got me in touch with my inner self. And it’s not far off as the beginning of the album sounds like Larry Graham’s nephew took a fire R&B instrumental mixtape and blessed the tracks with his rap. Which is arguably the best thing about this album: the production team is on point. Drake isn’t Canadian Jay or Wayne. He’s Canadian Diddy. A figure in hip hop by his version of the Hitmen. Noah “40” will have you thinking he’s the Pete Rock to the artist’s CL Smooth. And with Boi-1nda and Metro Boomin helping out.
Drake caused some minor snide comments with his Wu Tang song from Nothing Was the Samr… that really didn’t have any of the Clan. Now he has “U With Me” sampling 2 DMX tracks. This is where I went sour on the album. Not because of the sample but because the song is very meh. Hype and With You then have him comeback with some solid tracks (primarily because of the beats).
“One Dance” has us back to Dominican Drake mode where he breaks out some Caribbean rhythms that I’m sure you’ll dance to on your next all-inclusive vacation with the pretty girl from a completely random country looking to get her groove back like Stella. Unfortunately, “Grammys” plays soon after and the force is disturbed, making WATTBA feel way too long ago too soon. If they were smart, they would’ve put this back to back with “Too Good.” I’ll say this: Drake and Rihanna need to tour or make an album together. The 2 of them together are amazing. I wasn’t the biggest Take Care fan but this and Work alone could cause enough of a momentum to shut down the charts if they choose. I’ll even forgive him for his “cock up your bumper” island voice. This track is naturally great, especially if you combine the dude who did the beat for Truffle Butter with a member of Black Chiney.
(Sidenote: the world needs to learn more about Black Chiney. Amazing sound system and they’re more than just that 1 guy who collaborated with Diplo to make up the current form of Major Lazer).
This album ends with “Hotline Bling.” There’s nothing more to say that everyone else hasn’t mocked, ridiculed, touted, or “lick 2 shot in a da air!” And my assessment is simply. Congrats Drake. You have created the equivalent of Rush Hour 3. You made us overjoyed for the same damn album you’ve done over and over again. When Kanye dropped TLOP and even Yeezus, he essentially promised and delivered weird, unique and entertaining. When Beyonce gave us Beyoncé and Lemonade (waiting for you to release to the wild, Destiny’s Only Child), even as a superfluous hater, I admit to her talent and her willingness to be daring. Drake gives us the musical rendition of the scene in Hitch where Will Smith teaches Kevin James to dance. He stays in his lane.
On a scale of OT Genesis to Swishahouse, Views gets a 6.5 out of me. However, I’ve heard this from the last 2 albums and So Far Gone, so this gets a 3.5. I’m gonna sit back and wait for the Bey-hive and the Drake STANs to unite as 1 with the All Spark to take my life now. Thanks to all 4 of you for reading.