Drake will go platinum, again. Drake put out a great album. Views will be heard through several streaming services, lonely nostalgic nights, summer kickbacks, and several radio stations throughout the world. Many music critics and praises will follow the album, but something from this album is missing. In a world where a die hard social media fan base acts more like an army defending its leader than an actual fan base, it is tough to oust such opinions without an incredible backlash. But I’m here to say it. Something is missing from the album.
In the past year and a half or so since he announced that he was working on Views, Drake has kept very busy. He seemed to cover all bounds of rap stardom; from being involved with his home basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, to his recent rap beef with Philadelphia heavy-hitter Meek Mill. He went on a tangent with the Sprite commercials as well as releasing the club anthem diss record “Back to Back.” As a long time Drake fanatic, Drake of YE old seemed to be on the rise. No one complains about Drake, but one thing people have picked at him for in the past has been that, at times, he abandons his roots as a rapper for his soft melodic tones. This is not to say that the softer tunes and love ballads aren’t equally amazing (see Jungle). This isn’t saying that he hasn’t blended both to perfection (see cameras/good ones go). But, to know that Drake has superb lyrical capability and seamless flows, and to watch him choose a different path, sometimes can baffle true rap listeners.
With Drake’s recent antics and obvious consistent ascension to rap immortality, I expected more rap cuts on this album. Or maybe pushing his blend to the next level of some sort. It wasn’t the production, It wasn’t the song (ghost) writing. OVO has always boasted the most exclusive in-house crew, headed by 40. PND stepped in to do a bit of writing as well, of course. The record does ridiculous first week numbers, per usual. The regulars were all there. But I expected more rap. I don’t want old Drake. I don’t think you can grow as much as he has in past 8 years and produce the same exact art. But I do want him to prove himself as the best rapper in the game, if he plans to compare with the likes of Jay Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye, and other rap legends to emerge in the past decade or so. Though these rappers made great music, they also were able to prove themselves as great rappers throughout the years.
As tough as this is to type, it scares me that Drake may have hit his rap roof. His subject matter hasn’t changed much in his last 3 projects. He hasn’t necessarily gotten much better lyrically either in the last 3 projects. With his first 3, he showed tremendous growth nearly track by track. This set the rap industry on fire because both his singing and rap skills continuously grew, without sight of a roof. But in his last 3 albums, Drake has seemingly used his singing as more of crutch than a 1-2 punch. Drake came up on the Young Money roster that set the tone and trend for where rap was going . His class of rappers included the likes of J.Cole, Big Sean, Nicki Minaj, Wale, Meek Mill, and so forth. Though these artist have seen much success, Drake has always set himself apart from them by giving us that Drake element of not knowing what was coming, but being excited to hear what he was cooking. Nowadays Drake grows very predictable. The track listing for this album is nearly to that of “Take Care,” regarding themes and subject matter.
The rap tracks from both albums are hardly memorable in comparison to the reception of his love songs. Take Care was also more acceptable, as Drake had proven to be able to develop as a singer. Though “If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late” saw more rap tracks, the development still wasn’t there. Drake can make bangers in his sleep at this point, and most of the album seemed to be just that, quick bangers to hold us over. But until when?
Again, this is not to say that Views is a bad album in the slightest. But as a hip hop community I believe listeners expected more. More rap, more development, more… innovation that OVO has provided for the youth in the industry. Going along with the sentiments of Joe Budden, it seems that Drake has grown stagnant with becoming the king of making what’s hot right now. Drake used to guide and create the waves, but now it seems that he’s satisfied being the best surfer. Or maybe he’s hit his rap capacity, which would explain why it’s such a big fuss that he uses ghostwriters.
For now, let’s enjoy the Drake we do have.