So how’s about that – it seems like it’s Drake’s turn again. Yes, the time is here to once again appreciate the life and times Aubrey Drake Graham through the vehicle of his fourth studio album, ‘VIEWS’ which dropped on April 29th.
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‘VIEWS’ seems to have been on the cards for what feels like forever, so it’s a relief to hear that the end is in sight. Named after his home city of Toronto (the number is intrinsic to the make-up of the Canadian city: the two telephone area codes for the city are 416 and 647, while the Toronto metropolitan area is made up of six districts), the rapper returned to home comforts to write and record ‘VIEWS’ with longtime engineer and producer, Noah “40” Shebib.
But with less than a week to go until ‘VIEWS’ is finally unleashed upon the world, what do we already know about an album that its creator claims will be around for “the summer, the year and forever”? Here are the most important developments to have surfaced so far.
When is ‘VIEWS’ going to be released?
Drake ended all speculation on this matter a few weeks ago with a simple announcement on his label’s Beats 1 show OVORadio:
“I get to answer the question that people have been asking me for a very long time. I’m happy to let you know that ‘VIEWS’ is dropping 29th April.”
So, there you have it: ‘VIEWS’ will be released on 29th April 2016.
Just in case you didn’t quite get the memo, a quickly-spoken album trailer dropped on Drake’s Twitter that very same day:
There’s a slight catch, however: ‘VIEWS’ will be released first on Apple Music, where it’ll be housed as an exclusive for one whole week.
But don’t fret – Drake has since revealed that ‘VIEWS’ will get its worldwide premiere during his label’s OVOSOUND Show on Beats 1 Radio on Thursday 28th April, which airs at 10pm ET (3am in the UK – set your alarms).
What can we expect?
‘VIEWS’ is going to present a charged-up Drake. His 2013 album, ‘Nothing Was The Same’, may have established the 29-year-old as one of hip-hop’s leading mainstream figures – someone who could sing songs for your mother to hum along to on daytime radio but rap the kind of absolute filth that’s suited only for the darkest corners of nightclubs – but it was the tandem of 2015 releases, surprise mixtape ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late’ and the sublime Future collaboration ‘What A Time To Be Alive’, that saw Drake make a true stake for the genre’s crown. Both of these releases positioned Drake as a rapper first and foremost, giving credence to his claim for rap’s top spot and strengthening the universal interest in his every subsequent move. Whether we should expect the continuation of the trap brilliance of Future and Metro Boomin collaboration ‘Jumpman’ is another matter, but the fact that he’s managed to unite Kanye and Jay-Z (under the moniker ‘The Throne’, referencing the duo’s all-conquering 2011 partnership) on record suggests that, no matter who you are, when Drake calls, you answer.
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Elsewhere, Drake’s growing obsession with dancehall will be represented – check teaser single ‘Pop Style’ for all the confirmation you need on that – and, rather fascinatingly, new BFF Skepta has hinted that he might pop up on a ‘VIEWS’ track. “We’re trying to do something for his record,” the Tottenham MC told Zane Lowe. “It makes more sense to be on his record rather than mine.”
Put that one down as a maybe, then – but Drake’s seemingly-honorary signing to Skepta’s Boy Better Know label (and his general fascination with the UK underground) may see grime carving out an influence on the finished product.
In April 2015, he told Four Pins, a now-defunct fashion blog, that he had “a collaboration with Beyonce that he recorded a while ago”. The sultry Bey-featuring ‘Can I’ later appeared online. Could it make an appearance on VIEWS from the 6? In December, Drake also posted an Instagram snap of himself in the studio with up=and-coming Canadian singer PARTYNEXTDOOR. Not too shabby, eh?
Despite the eclectic range of influences and collabs, ‘VIEWS’ will likely be consistent with Drake’s past work. He’s been working with Noah ‘40’ Shebib, his long-time producer who was integral to previous albums such as ‘So Far Gone’ and the already classic ‘Take Care’. In his September 2015 Fader cover story, Drake explained: “If I want to make the make the album I want to make, I have to go find him.” For his part, Shebib told the New York Times in February: “It’s going to be what everybody expects and wants from Drake and from us. A lot of introspection, very vivid. He’s discovering new flows, news cadences, new patterns.” Expect that bromance to produce some more classic results.
There’s also likely to be a bit of a West-coast vibe to the record. Everyone knows Drake’s quite keen on Toronto but the city wasn’t the only geographical influence on ‘VIEWS’, according to Shebib. In February he appeared on The Smokebox, the YouTube show hosted by B-Real from Cypress Hill, and revealed that Los Angeles was also important to the record: “The thing is, with us, is a balance of finding that space to make such a project that’s based around our city and also coming out to the west coast to sort of escape some of the harsh winter and find a good creative space. It has to be a balance of both those locations for what it’s supposed to be, for the type of album we’re making.”
Have we heard any songs from it yet?
Yup – two singles that’ll definitely feature on ‘VIEWS’ have *officially* dropped so far:
‘Pop Style’ – a deep and powerful cut that sees three of hip-hop’s kingpins go in on the same track (albeit, in Jay-Z’s case, for a measly two bars)
‘One Dance’ – Drake’s first attempt to snatch the ‘Song of the Summer’ title before any other R&B one-hit pretender even considers taking it
A flurry of other Drake-attached tracks have leaked over the past year, the most recent being the Pimp C-featuring ‘Faithful’ that pays homage to the late hip-hop producer.
Tonight (April 27th) Drake revealed the tracklist on his Twitter – but, rather annoyingly, he withheld information on who might be featuring on ‘VIEWS’:
Note how recent single ‘Sixteen Single’ doesn’t make the cut, but ‘Hotline Bling’ does (albeit as a bonus track).
What has Drake said about the album?
Drizzy has dropped a good number of updates, hints and teases about the album for over a year now, but the most recent declaration from the man himself was made on that aforementioned OVOSound show where he announced ‘VIEWS’’s release date:
“It’s something that I’ve been working really hard on, just trying to craft a life soundtrack for our city [Toronto]. It’s not a short ting, there’s a lot of music on there, so as long as you can bear with me for the next couple of weeks, I promise you that you’ll have your full share of music for the summer, for the year, and forever.”
Drake seems quite taken with the idea of providing the soundtrack to peoples’ lives – check what he told The Fader last September about his music-making process:
“I mean, I’m really trying. It’s not like I’m just sitting here, just fuckin’ shooting with my eyes closed. Like, I’m trying. I’m really trying to make music for your life.”
If ‘The Life of Pablo’ was “the album of the life”, then what does that make ‘VIEWS’? Your move, Drizzy.
Have we seen the album artwork yet?
We have now – the official artwork dropped with less than a week to go. Try and spot Drake on the CN Tower:
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Eyes dotted across black lettering seems to be the major visual motif of this project – Drake’s got his eye on you, see.
Is Drake touring this year?
He is – but, at the moment, only in the US and his native Canada. Along with the big reveal of ‘VIEWS”s artwork came the news that Drake would be setting out on a North American tour with his ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ cohort Future that’ll span a number of dates in July, August and September.
No word on any UK dates yet, however.
Additional words by Jordan Bassett