We were talking with a friend after writing the Skepta – Konnichiwa review and he asked me why I didn’t write one about Drake’s April release, VIEWS. A good question but I hadn’t because it came out almost two weeks ago and its 20 tracks long. Then I thought that’s 20 tracks of an album we haven’t stopped playing almost two weeks after its release. Then it hit me, Drake released an album of 20 songs! All unheard music (except bonus track Hotline Bling and excluding the leaks which changed on the final version) which in my opinion and the rest of The Mandem will vouch for me on this, is full of quality music.
Can Drake be stopped?!
Now don’t get it twisted, since his So Far Gone and Comeback Season days, to me he hasn’t always produced the best music. Songs like Over, Headlines and Find Your Love were a time and sound my eardrums didn’t take to. A time when he was catering more to a ‘Pop’ audience. A time he released Make Me Proud with Nicki Minaj. A time… you get the picture. However, despite my personal dislike for these releases he was still the guy of the moment. His first album in 2010, Thank Me Later reached both platinum and gold with his follow ups, Take Care in 2011 and Nothing Was The Same in 2013 both going gold and multi-platinum. Shows I know nothing about music.
His successes with studios albums are proof that Aubrey Drake Graham is an artist who knows the game and knows how to win and win big! The man coined the phrase Y.O.L.O and has everyone, even those not from Toronto referring to the city as ‘The Six’.
If not his music, which we’ll get back to in a minute, then his business ventures with OVO Sound record label, which houses artists such as PARTYNEXTDOOR, Majid Jordan and producer Boi-1-da, is definitely worth a mention. The team up with OVO and Jordan brand on The Air Jordan 10, the collaboration with Canada Goose on a range of OVO apparel and of course his exclusive deal with Beats and Apple music. If music doesn’t work out for him, he’ll still be doing quite well.
Diving back in to the music, we look to his not-for-profit-but-still-make-money mixtapes. Comeback Season, So Far Gone, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and What A Time To Be Alive. Hardly a long list of releases but when your mixtapes go both gold and platinum you’re laughing to the bank. I remember waking up in the morning and seeing a message for a link to a 17 track mixtape Drake threw at us whilst we were tucked up in bed (I.Y.R.T.I.T.L.). A mixtape that broke the internet with no warning.
Fast forward to 2016 and on April 29th VIEWS was released. 20 tracks for us to get stuck into as he attempts to firmly place that golden crown on his head. Some of my favourites like Weston Road Flowz, Hype and Controlla have been on constant repeat wherever I have access to an aux cable or headphones so I can comfortably say this album is very very good. So good I referred to it as being his version of J.Cole’s Forest Hill Drive. An album where he has reverted back to his original style but at the same time found his new sound. If my word is no good though then the just shy of a million units sold in its first week may convince you otherwise. Feats only achieved by the likes of Eminem, The Beatles, David Bowie and Adele.
I could go on but words may not do justice to the actor turned rapper/singer who has been the talking point of Hip-hop for the last 10 years. The Mandem and I are looking forward to Drizzy’s next move and will undoubtedly keep spinning VIEWS till the next release.