Drake‘s fourth studio album Views is a lengthy and witty 20-song rant with only a few great moments and a lot of unnecessary filler. He communicates what we already know to be true in relentless rap spurts that allow us into the inner workings of his ego-obsessed mind, but Views fails to offer much in terms of innovation, relying on a tried-and-tested formula of high-art beats and seemingly spontaneous verses.

‘Views’ by Drake Album Review

Drake’s rap game is as witty as ever, but what seems to be missing from this record in comparison to his former ones is the musical explosiveness. The melodic lines and beats feel deliberately toned down, generic and unexciting. At times Drake successfully matches that with a few good lines and impeccable delivery, but for the most part, Views feels like an outlier in the rapper’s career. An experiment in a new direction? Perhaps, but the rapper switches up his intentions on Views both in his delivery and in his themes that it is hard to follow what his project is in the end.

Opener “Keep The Family Close” explores how fame stands in the way of meaningful relationships. The rapper is preoccupied with loyalty and betrayal as the drama builds up slowly to an explosive sequence of beats. “9” is a brisk elaboration of Drake’s connection to Toronto. Produced by his long-time collaborator Noah “40” Shebib, who shares production credits on 12 of the 20 tracks on Views, “9” resembles some of Drake’s earlier work. “U With Me?” is one of the instant Drake classics, with a neatly integrated DMX sample opening the track and slow R&B beats ushering in another tale about romantic strife.

After a protracted exposure of the self, midway through the album Drake goes into a series of collaborations, which provide a refreshing interlude from the rapper’s pervasively egotistical domain. “With You,” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR, can be read as a faint echo “U With Me?” The Caribbean beats on this track are only a brief positive turn in the grand scheme of the album. It is not until “One Dance” featuring Wizkid and Kyla that Drake plunges into a more upbeat stream, which may just be the new summer hit. There is also another Rihanna collaboration, which takes us out of the general gloom of Views. “Too Good” offers an alternative to the constant dissatisfaction with interactions with the opposite sex.

Drake saves his biggest hit so far “Hotline Bling” until the very end, inviting the listeners to pay attention to the other 19 songs that come beforehand. Perhaps because of its sheer length the production begins to feel repetitive quite early on. The formula of stripped-down melodies and soft beats providing the background for Drake’s self-absorbed rants that has so far proved to be successful is beginning to crack on Views. It is when the rapper drops his pervasive melancholy and opts for a more surprising sound that he is most intriguing and innovative.

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