Drake's Views: What You Need To Know
Having firmly established himself as the darling of the rap world by the time of his third studio album Nothing Was the Same in 2013, Drake was already talking up its follow-up just a year later, even revealing the title Views from the 6, but two years on it's been shortened to Views and it's out now (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page). Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
Despite the Canadian rapper's suggestions in 2014 that the album would soon be ready to go, things didn't quite work out that way and the project was moved back. Instead, Drake surprise-released a mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, in February 2015, but the months that followed its release were largely dominated by a high-profile feud with Meek Mill. In an entertaining series of exchanges, the Philadelphia-based rapper made claims that Drake didn't write his own songs, releasing a diss track 'I Wanna Know' on the subject. Drake responded with two diss tracks of his own, 'Charged Up' and 'Back to Back', refuting the claims and poking fun at Meek Mill's support slot on girlfriend Nikki Minaj's world tour.
That didn't keep Drake busy for long though and couple of months later he also found time to release What a Time to be Alive, a collaborative mixtape with Atlanta rapper Future. It was January this year before Drake finally released the first promo single from the newly-retitled Views, which finally lands in stores in its entirety today.
Who's producing it?
The usual collection of Drake's crew are handling the production duties between them, so you can expect plenty of contributions from Noah '40' Shebib, Nineteen85 and Boi-1da, while Kanye West continues his habit of popping up absolutely everywhere and puts in a shift behind the controls on 'U With Me?'
Elsewhere there are production credits for a raft of others across the album's 20 tracks, including the likes of Murda Beatz, Supa Dups, Southside, Yung Exclusive and DJ Dahl.
Any special guests?
Not as many as there are producers, but the handful of guests includes Rihanna on 'Too Good', WizKid and Kyla on 'One Dance' and PartyNextDoor on 'With You'. Future rekindles the pair's creative bromance with an appearance on 'Grammys' and the guest roster is completed by Pimp C and dvsn, who feature on 'Faithful'.
What does it sound like?
The lead-off single 'Summer Sixteen' picks up where the aggressive feel of 'Charged Up' and 'Back to Back' left off, but there's a range of styles on offer here from the haunting vibe of 'Pop Style' to the shuffling, latin-tinged 'One Dance'. In fact, there's a much more global feel to the whole thing, with African rhythms and Caribbean flavours popping up everywhere, but Future makes a standout contribution on 'Grammys' and 'Weston Road Flows' is another gem with its hazy 90s vibe.
Lyrically, Drake is still obsessively bigging up his home town of Toronto, but in terms of themes they're hard to spot on first listen. Instead the more scattergun approach here feels like a wander through Drake's thoughts on, well, pretty much everything and anything.
Does it deliver?
This isn't quite as impactful as some of his earlier records, but that's not because it isn't as good as its predecessors; maybe it's a result of the delayed release and everything that happened in between, but it's just that Views has the same stylistic vibe as most of the material he's released over the last couple of years - which he's done steadily - so it doesn't really feel like a totally new thing, more a colouring in of a picture you've already glimpsed.
That said, there are still plenty of great tunes on Views and it's unlikely to disappoint fans, or do any damage to his reputation as a surefire thing where hits are concerned. Drake has been in his creative stride for some time now and on that front, Views is business as usual.