A softer side of Toronto

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Drake’s “Views” climbed billboard charts rapidly, reaching the number two spot on the Hot 100 last week.

“Certain people need to tell me they proud of me/ That mean a lot to me/ Not having closure takes a lot out of me.” It’s vulnerability of this stature that is rarely seen in hip-hop. It’s what makes “Views” so special. 

“Views” is a journey, it’s a tale that takes course over the seasons. As the seasons change, so do relationships, love, friends, success and failures. It’s an album unlike any other released this year. “Views” decides to focus on soul, on love, on hardships over machismo and bravado. It’s a return to form for Drake. While 2015 saw the release of “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” and his collaboration with Future, “What A Time To Be Alive,” fans were left wondering if they would ever see the Drizzy from his “Take Care” and “Nothing Was The Same” days. Well, that wait is finally over. 

What makes “Views” so distinct from Drake’s prior work is its sound. Drake has always been known for delivering bleak stories over moody and dark atmospheric beats. While the content in “Views” is as deep, meaningful and heartfelt as ever, its sound is more lighthearted. It leans more toward the R&B side of hip-hop. “Views” is an album that sounds laidback, something you play on a ride home. It’s much different from his previous work, where it felt secluded from the world at four in the morning.

The production is some of the best Drake and his team have ever created. “Views” takes a lot of inspiration from hip-hop and R&B legends of the past. Many tracks sample songs from the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s, and re-imagine them for the new era. DMX, Mary J. Blige, Ideal and more are paid tribute to as Drake adds his own twist on the classics. “Views” finds Drake trying out more upbeat odes that still have his signature “longing for love” style. Tracks like “One Dance,” “Controlla,” and “Too Good” are all dance songs have that have been heavily influenced by Reggae and Caribbean music, showingDrake as nothing less than versatile. While the production is a force to be reckoned with, it’s Drake’s lyricism that steals the show.

There’s complexity in simplicity, and no one knows that better than Drizzy. He knows that one doesn’t need to overcompensate with wordplay in order to deliver a memorable track. Drake’s lyrics are at their finest when hepaints images of hardships and strife. “U Got Me?” finds him arguing with his lover about where their relationship stands. “Redemption” finds himself struck by grief by the wronghe’s done to women, by what they’ve done to him. Album highlight, “Weston Road Flows,” sees Drake telling his underdog story and the hard work he put in to achieve his accomplishments.

“Views” finds Drake romancing women as well. On the steamy bedroom jam “Faithful,” he tries to pursue a woman too busy working to settle down with him.  He raps, “You don’t have no time to lay up/ You just trying to be somebody/ Fore you say you need somebody.” On “Fire & Desire,” see’s him falling in love with a woman in a committed relationship.

This album finds Drake going back to the roots that made him great. It ventures into some new territory, while not straying too far way from his winning formula. “Views” shows that Drake remembers who got him here.