‘Views’ is Drake’s inevitable bow from hip-hop music

Published 12:00 pm Friday, May 27, 2016

By Taylor Shelley


With “Views,” we’re introduced to a 29-year-old Drake, who is cleverly conscious of his dominance over the current hierarchy of hip-hop.

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The album artwork carefully illustrates an older Drake, who drinks wine in silky pajamas before he strolls through Toronto in his fur coat and Rolls Royce.

Last summer, Drake found himself against the ropes of interrogation after Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill raised suspicions about the validity of Drake’s rap verses for the first time in his career. The Philly rapper Tweeted that he was aware of reference tracks related to Drake’s 2015 surprise release, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”

Drake’s calculated, overnight responses brought us two viral “diss” tracks, “Charged Up” and the Grammy-nominated “Back to Back” that premiered live on his “OVO Sound Radio” broadcast on Apple Music’s “Beats 1 Radio” show.

Through Twitter memes and unruly Meek Mill slander, fans of hip-hop culture appeared to be unbothered by the proof and accusations that Drake possibly enlisted help to write his raps. Through this exchange, Drake emerged as the current most influential rap artist.

Drake, who sculpted his soundscape around themes of suburban nostalgia and lost relationships, is starting to distance himself from his fan base. “Views“ finds Drake surgically creating a space that separates his lyrical and artistic abilities. It seems as if the common theme of self-doubt is becoming unbelievable for Drake.

His common style of brokenhearted inspiration becomes hard to accept as Drake laments over materials that aren’t as familiar as they used to be. He opens his album as the star of the show on “Keep the Family Close,” lamenting about an old friend as he realizes, with age, your family becomes most important. The cinematic intro lets Drake meditate carefully as musical tension rises and drops the listener into the album.

Though Drake can still successfully leave an opening impression, which anticipates the following message, it feels like his issues are rhetorical. The hollow notes on “Views” occur when Drake attempts to relate his dominant position to the unrelatable.

The sudden disconnect relies on Drake’s age. In his late 20s, the rapper finds himself farther away as a voice of youth. His experiences no longer fit the teenage mold that has kept many school-age listeners close.

It feels as if Drake is taking his time going through his current trials, and they don’t appear to have him clearing his throat in drunken contemplation like his lonely 2011 release “Marvin’s Room.”

The unresolved tribulations that previously interrupted Drake’s love life don’t seem to wound him as much as the person he’s in love with. On his song “Redemption,” Drake admits his success makes him the ultimate caretaker of every relationship he’s involved with. “Who’s gonna save me when I need saving? Since ‘Take Care’ I’ve been caretaking.”

On “Views,” Drake is too comfortable speaking of the void that traditionally created his distinct confessional tone known throughout his previous releases.

Taylor Shelley is a student at the University of Mississippi. Contact her at tcshelle@go.olemiss.edu.