A Week with “Views”
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Views is Drake’s fourth studio album and we decided to have a few of our writers come together to share their thoughts on the project. We lead off with our resident Drake specialist Stephen J Frias to start us off.
Views, like everything else Drake does, has been met with a gamut of opinion & criticisms. So I figured I thrown my hat in the ring, too because, “why not?” There’s a lot at stake with this record. There’s been this question of legacy with Drake recently, the chase for a “classic” album, like LeBron James & the chase for a ring. Even further, Drake set this record as a reclaiming of Toronto, of his culture, of his identity. Views is a heroes journey, like The Odyssey, King Arthur, & The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. (Take that Townsend Harris Humanities!) All right, maybe not so much. But I’ma stan as much as I can anyway. I’ve been having fun with this record, so legacy credentials or not, that’s all I’m really caring about right now. Too be completely honest, I’d go as far as even call this my favorite Drake record.
Let’s go track by track because paragraph transitions are for suckas. Go! (SF – Stephen Frias/MS – Mensa Smith/HN – Howard Nedrick)
Keep the Family Close
SF | So besides the blatant Take Care vibes, this song is the set-up for the whole rest of the album. I don’t know what made Drake shift his focus back to Toronto & rep his city so hard, but I imagine this song is meant to encapsulate that feeling of longing & nostalgia for home. On a basic level, the song is literally just Drake complaining that no one in LA likes him & everyone is fake. (Spoiler alert: everyone IS fake). That’s fine though, you know why? Because it led to this super contagious hook he sings, “All of my let’s-just-be-friends are friends I don’t have anymore.” Looking at you, you know who I’m talk about & I know you reading this, Amanda from middle school.
MS | This track is one of my favorites because it’s easily Drake’s most emotionally charged song on the album. The lyrics show us an abandoned Drake, the melodies let us hear the distant-yet-regretful Drake’s perspective, and the production sets it all for me on a cold winter night. An excellent job done here, and even though it isn’t Fireworks, Over My Dead Body, or Tuscan Leather, it’s a beautiful track (and besides, how was Drake going to outdo Tuscan Leather anyway?).
HN | I like to start off and say this is one my least favorite intro songs on a Drake project. Now that we got that out of the way, this song in my opinion is a subtle depiction of Drake’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Nicki Minaj. In his hour long interview with Zane Lowe, we discover they are no longer friends. Once I learned of this fact and played this record again, it clicks to me. It has always been rumored behind the scenes they had an on-and-off-and-on relationship. Now that she has chosen Meek’s side, he is without one of his strongest female supporters. This leaves him vulnerable and broken. I feel without the Zane interview, this song will go over people’s heads. Decent track but still not one of the best intro songs we have heard from Drizzy (Tuscan Leather was Drake’s GOAT Intro).
SF | “Keychain go jangalang i want to do major thangs, MJ in every way, i just don’t fade away.” Fam, can this be any more peak Drake? I know it’s corny, but guess what? I still sing it out loud every time it comes up. Every. Time. When I decide to take the pilgrimage to Toronto, I imagine I’ll have to be able to recite this line. I’ll be ready.
MS | 9 is one of those songs that fit the “this album will grow on you” theme people are discussing when it comes to Views. Drake’s appreciation for Toronto is on full display on this track with lyrics like “I made a decision last night I would die for it” and “they give me loyalty and I don’t have to pay for it.” After a good dozen listens, I can say with confidence that 9’s 11:30PM-on-a-highway sounds are esoteric but not so much that we as outsiders cannot appreciate it. A solid track for sure, but definitely disappointing considering how basic Drake’s lyrics were for the song.
HN | This is a song about Toronto and the production from 40 makes you feel like you are cruising through the city. If you haven’t been to the 6ix, I suggest you go during Caribana to get a jovial feel for the area. To get back on topic, 9 is a dedication to Toronto. You can feel the deep relationship Drake has with his city, even going as far as to say he would die for it. I like the transition from the slow pace of the first track to this track which picks the tempo a tad. The 9 is one of my favorite songs and definitely a track I play outside of the entire compilation.
U With Me?
SF | Every song should start with DMX. These are just facts. I imagine that he needed to invoke DMX”s name & just let him enter Drake’s spirit so he could just go off at the end of that song, “Understand I got responsibilities to people that I need/And on my way to make this dough/A lot of niggas cut the check so they can take this flow.” Sidebar, RIP to Marques Houston & Imx.
MS | A great track for Drake here. He gives us the lyrical performance that puts Drake at the top of everybody’s top 5 listings for today’s state of hip hop along with his butter vocals that made him a bunch of money earlier this decade. Interestingly enough, the climax of the track is when he’s screaming “A LOT OF NIGGAS CUT THE CHECK SO THEY CAN TAKE THIS FLOW!” I think that shows how little he appreciated the Quentin Miller fiasco, and I can see his point. It reminds me of Kanye’s line in Barry Bonds where he states “I don’t need writers, I might bounce ideas, but only I can come up with some shit like this.” Tracks like U With Me should show us that Drake doesn’t need writers. He’s a great writer.
HN | When I hear this song, it feels like a typical are you really feeling the kid type of Drake record. He has made numerous songs similar to this and I have to say it is skip worthy. Only time I play it is when I want to vibe with the entire project. Not a strong track at all.
Feel No Ways
SF | Maybe it’s because I’m light-skinned. Maybe it’s because I’m Dominican, but this song is my heart, I think. I hope this song blows up this summer & gets super popping. “I try with you,/there’s more to life than sleeping and getting high with you./I had to let go of us/ to show myself what i could do…” I’m certain one of Drake’s exes said this to him. Shit, I think one of my exes may have told me this.
HN | I can feel this song because it has occurred a few times in my life. It has hard to keep up with an individual who is career driven and Drake is detailing how he lost out to a girl being away for a few months. Now he has come back and the girl is making him “feel a way” about the situation. 40 + Kanye West + Jordan Ullman = an amazing melody. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks.
SF | This might actually be the first “banger” of the record. It’s got everything we need, a wild bass & snare drum, with hard hitting lines, & high-key flexing, “They wanna be on TV right next to me/You cannot be right here next to me/Don’t you see Riri right next to me?” I guess what I’m really saying is I just want Riri next me.
HN | Taking shots at Meek Mill and Tory Lanez in a subpar version of Summer Sixteen makes me feel a way. I rather have Summer Sixteen instead of this track even though it had some bright spots. Few but worthy enough to mention. The flow from this song (which is reminiscent of Back to Back and SS 16) is something I could have had more of in this album. This feels like another filler track though.
Weston Road Flows
SF | Of course with this being a Drake record, Drake had to remind us with this next track. I read a tweet somewhere basically said that Views is just further proof that Drake is his own genre. This is so blatantly Drake, from So Far Gone to Nothing was the Same. I mean, the soul-90s sample on a bare beat with super super personal lyrics about money, sports, girls, & his moms.
MS | Now this track was Drake at his best. He took an emotional track, wrote reminiscent lyrics, and flat out proved once again that his pen is elite. He takes some time to bully his peers (“I’m looking at they first week numbers like ‘WHAT ARE THOSE?!’”), and it’s all appreciated over that beautifully flanged and filtered Mary J Blige sample. This track shows Drake’s growth as a human as it comes to standing in society; so much happens in his life but so little of it actually bothers him and that’s clear with his KD reference. Like KD, Drake remains stoic through the pressure and he has his mother’s 72 hour rule to thank for that.
HN | The Mary J. Blige sample already let me know this song was going to be amazing. This song is about Drake’s childhood in Toronto living on Weston Road and detailing life before the money came in abundance. You can even say it is a soulful version of “Started from the Bottom”. These are the type of tracks I enjoy the most out of Drake. The introspection levels are on a higher plane in comparison to earlier tracks. I could go far to say this would have been a better track 1 than Keep the Family Close. I am pretty certain on that one.
SF | “Why do I want an independent woman to feel like she needs me?” Fuhhh Drake is just gonna drop that random line there having me question every past relationship I’ve had.
MS | The seventh track really had to grow on me, and then I heard him say “Erica sued me and opened a business.” Wow. This track picks up where Keep The Family Close left off in the disarmament of Drake’s impenetrable defenses and he shows us that he does bleed. Drake steps away from his status as an urban legend for a track to show us that women are his biggest weakness and that they attack his pockets in place of accepting his sincere apology. Despite how many women he has bedded, there are a few who have left an impact on Drake and he sings/raps about them here over a Ray J sample.
HN | This ballad is a trip down memory lane on some girls that have left him behind. Do they regret their decisions? Do they still listen to his music? A lot of wandering mentally Drake seems to be doing on this track. Late night cruising music.
SF | Getting crazy “Preach” vibes. The Drake & PND duo seriously never fails. Never. I can listen to this on repeat for hours. Drake’s referenced in his songs that everything he touches turns to gold; I’m starting to think PND might low key have that same talent.
MS | As an unapologetic PND stan, there was no way I would ever dislike this track. PND and Drake tag team for what serves as a great bridge between Redemption and Faithful.
HN | We are getting closer to the summer time vibe of the album. The team up of Drake x PartyNextDoor x Jeremih is definitely a worthy of a listen in the whip this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if it catches fire at some point.
SF | I never really cared for “Houston” Drake. dvsn does his thing though, as per usual. Go listen to Sept. 5
MS | First things first, rest in peace Pimp C. His presence on the track gives it a great dimension, and Drake did a great job of putting this track together. That being said, Drake was my least favorite part of the track between dvsn’s butter vocals, Pimp C’s bars, and the sample going in behind dvsn’s butter vocals. There is no way you can skip this track on Views; it’s essential that you sit through dvsn’s performance here.
HN | This Pimp C verse fits the direction of Drake at this point in his life. He has evolved over the years and he isn’t trying to be fake anymore. It leads into Drake crooning about a girl who is working to get herself together so he waits to be faithful when the time is right. dvsn is a nice complement to this track. Definitely in my rotation of songs to bump off this album.
SF | The hardest track on the entire record I think. What I’m saying is that I had this on repeat all Saturday night & it stayed bumping.
HN | Honestly feels like a Big Rings Part 2 after the WATTBA album. Sadly, the weaker version to that track.
SF | I made another graph. thanks.
MS | Even though the entire city of Brooklyn was disappointed when Popcaan was taken off this track, it’s still a good if not great song. Popcaan made it a chune but I’m not sure the mainstream was ready for Popcaan. The production is excellent, and shout out to Beanie Man for the way the track ends. Overall, Drake’s butter vocals and the production quality do it for me here.
HN | We have finally reached summertime Drizzy mode. This is one half of the dynamic duo tracks on this album (the other being One Dance). Across the country, this track will be playing in basement bashment with waist whining and everyone having a good time. But on the real Drake, WHERE IS POPCAAN?!?
SF | No shade at Adele, but—we see you Billboard!
MS | This is the lead single for Views and it’s a great pop song. I can see already how many spins Top 40 DJs are going to get from this one, and I’m not mad at all. It’s a great song for the vibes, and Wizkid and Kyla throw it over the top. It’s not even close to rap music, but Drake didn’t make this for rap fans. It’s a song for Toronto’s cultural history, and I appreciate that as a Brooklyn native.
HN | The second half of the team I mentioned is right here. Having them Back to Back on this album is great placement skills. Summertime Drizzy continues.
SF | Should have been on WATTBA—meh.
MS | Now this song is the club banger. I love this track, and I think it’s Drake’s best performance on any song he’s ever done with Future. Of course Future comes in and murders the song, but Future is a machine. What I like most about this song is how anti-pop it is with Drake’s addressing of musicians and how Future references his refusal to appear at the Met Gala. Part of me wishes we got more tracks with the hip hop/trap influence, but Drake is more than a rapper. Still though, I appreciate moments like this one the most on Views.
HN | This feels like a throwaway track from WATTBA. It still bumps but it feels blah. (clearly Steph and I are on the same wavelength)
SF | Sorry, I’ve got three more graphs.
MS | I like how anti-slut-shaming this track is with the lyric “heard all of the stories bout ya I already know.” I also like how he depicts the relationship he has with the ratchet women in his life who say he’s acting lightskin and take his Bugatti to go buy pads. It’s a fun song because Drake admits that he likes promiscuous women and what they’re willing to do for him, but there’s always that “don’t make me put you back in the hood where I found you” overtone that ironically brings power to both sides of the relationship. Nothing really amazing with this song, but it’s definitely interesting.
HN | I feel this song is a signal that summertime Drizzy is soon coming to an end and the brutal winter vibe is coming back. I enjoyed it and the skit in the beginning is quite humorous with the logic behind it. Definitely a solid track
SF | POP STYLE W/ THRONES >>> pop style w/o thrones.
MS | This version of Pop Style is better than the one with Jigga and Yeezy. It’s a better song with Drake doing all of the work, and that production is crazy. Drake’s performance here is right there with his “I work harder than you boys and that’s why I got the juice” narrative he’s been pushing for years. And he’s right. He’s mastered the art of going hard while relaxing on tracks. Another hit for Drake here.
HN | I am glad The Throne was removed from the song. It vibes better with Drake taking over the entire track.
HN | Drizzy x Rih Rih equals the end of Summertime Drizzy on the album. Their chemistry on tracks typically denotes a successful song. I know this is a song the ladies will love due to the back and forth between the two artists.
Summer’s Over Interlude
SF | I don’t know, man.
MS | This track feels like Barry White was supposed to speak to a lady for 2 minutes and seduce your grandmother. It’s an excellent interlude and it will probably be skipped over too many times. As an appreciator of music, I must insist you listen to it once a day. It also leads into Fire and Desire very well.
HN | It is important to note that the singer who is singing this interlude is one half of Majid Jordan. I didn’t even know that was a duo! Drizzy is smart for featuring his artists on several tracks and showcasing their talents. Great transition track
Fire & Desire
SF | Nah, really, I don’t know. Let’s just get to Views.
MS | The producer deserves a grammy for the sample. I really don’t have much to say about this track. I really appreciate it for the sample and it definitely belonged on the album. Drake’s dirty macking ballad is pretty well done. No analysis from me here.
HN | I felt the first song was about Nicki and this seems to fit the Nicki Minaj storyline as well. I think losing Nicki (or whomever) has left an impact on him. We are back to Wintertime in Toronto will the long drives and dark skies. Leaves you thinking often of old situations.
SF | This reminds me of an old Kanye-produced, Jay track. I really dig this as the last (spiritually anyway) track of the record. Other than that it’s just a solid Drake track. I ain’t mad at em.
MS | The sample stole my heart from the first listen, and then Drake absolutely hits a home run with his bars. Nobody in Drake’s class can match Drake bar for bar with his slick talk and honesty. That said, I see why he doesn’t have more tracks like these; this track is not a hit. The small, non album buying community in hip hop loves it but white folk could care less about it. Bar for bar, though? You can’t do much better than Drake’s closing track to Views.
HN | This is the real closing track of Views (Hotling Bling is a bonus) and it comes full circle for our protagonist Drizzy. The opponents, the exes, the money, and the challenges externally and internally have prepared him for this moment. He is ready for whatever as he has mentioned in past tracks.