Canadian-bred recording artist Drake has hit many milestones over his decade-spanning career. From multiple hit records to the occasional rap beef, the self-proclaimed “6 God” has maintained superiority over most of his peers. The speculation has always been that while he has been dominant, he doesn’t have multiple classic albums. Outside of the obvious ones that come to mind (‘Take Care’ and ‘Nothing Was The Same’) there’s an assumption that the former Degrassi actor became discerned with chasing critical acclaim through complete bodies of work instead opting to go the single route with tracks like “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” etc.
When looking at Drake’s career, it’s hard to say he doesn’t have at least one classic album, if not multiple. However, in a lot of ways his 2016 project, ‘Views,’ is a statement that only fueled his proclamation of being the “Greatest Rapper” of his generation, even extending him into a popstar stratosphere that had only been occupied by few artists before him.
Coming off of a turbulent stretch that saw him in beefs with everyone from Chris Brown and Diddy to fellow collaborator, Meek Mill. ‘Views’ was arguably Drake’s most anticipated album and after releasing singles like “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance,” and “Pop Style ft. The Throne” it was almost guaranteed that we were receiving another hit album from “The Boy” himself.
Releasing on April 21, 2016, ‘Views’ was met with generally positive reviews. Debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, it sold over 852,000 copies in its first week and brought in over 245 million streams, outselling albums like Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ (although it was only available to stream on Tidal) With nearly every song charted on the Billboard Hot 100 during the album’s first week, Drake managed to achieve a new record of songs charted simultaneously with 20. While many took to the album in a positive way, there were still those that had their reservations about how the project would age.
You have moments throughout the album where Drake doubles down on his belief that he is the best rapper alive along with the shots thrown at some of his counterparts.
“Boss up, I’m the bigger homie, / But I’m one year older than my lil homie / ’09 they was biddin’ on me, / But I’m Young Money, got it written on me,” he raps on “Hype.”
It’s on songs like “Hype” where he really addresses the taking of the mantle that at this point, ironically, is too far gone to be deterred. Reflecting on times where he wasn’t favored by past flames or even industry executives is a common theme that has come up often on his projects and ‘Views’ isn’t any different. To say that an underdog mentality benefits Drake is an understatement as he’s seemingly devoted his life to proving any naysayers wrong.
There are also introspective moments like on “Weston Road Flows,” where he speaks on his upbringing on the streets and local spots that helped make him. This soon turns into him speaking on his numbers in comparison to his peers, prompting listeners to ponder on who else could claim the title.
“I’m lookin at they first week numbers like, “What are those?” / I mean, you boys not even coming close, / I gave niggas like you a reason for celebration, / You number one and I’m Eddie Murphy, we tradin’ places, / Look in the mirror, I’m closer than I really appear, / Creepin’ like Chilli without the tender, love, and care, / No tender love and care, no love and affection, / I got a price on my head but there’s a risk to collect it,”Drake addresses his enemies over a sample of Mary J Blige’s “Mary’s Joint” on “Weston Road Flows.”
Personally, I believe that ‘Views’ is where Drake was finally able to combine all of his favorite sounds seamlessly onto a solo album. Up to that point we had hear him on records with Wizkid but he had yet to incorporate that into his own albums. The result is what I believe to be a certified classic album by Canada’s own. Perfectly guiding listeners through slow melodic hymns where he woefully expresses his discernments with past lovers all the way around to afrobeat-inspired records that dominated the summer charts like “Hotline Bling,” “Controlla,” or “One Dance” and even the braggadocious rap that he’s known for on records like “Hype,” or “Views.” I would argue that on ‘Views’ we’re witnessing not just Drake but the entire OVOSOUND team at their best, perfectly combining a plethora of sounds over top tier production by 40 & co. Where do you think ‘Views’ ranks among Drake’s discography? Is it a classic or not even close?
Be sure to stream Drake’s ‘Views’ album on all available streaming services.