Aubrey Drake Graham, known as Drake, has become one of the most musically influential individuals of this generation. Born and raised in Toronto, Drake first rose to fame as an actor on the teen drama show “Degrassi.” He later aspired to be a rapper, releasing several mix tapes before signing with Young Money in June 2009. The rest is history.
Drake has proven time and time again that he made the right decision in pursuing music. His albums, “Thank Me Later,” “Take Care,” and “Nothing Was the Same,” are filled with hits. “Take Care” is his most successful, topping charts in the United States and Canada and earning a Grammy for Best Rap Album.
Fans like me love the soulful sound and the heartfelt lyrics in every song. So when Drake announced that “Views” would come out in 2016, I was eager for another album like “Take Care.”
Then summer 2015 happened. Drake released the mix tape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” and his music took a whole new direction. The soulful beats were replaced with a lively Caribbean style. Many fans were furious and disheartened, believing Drake was changing into something they didn’t like. Then when his mix tape “What a Time to Be Alive,” with fellow rapper Future, came out late last year, the vibe was so different that some fans decided Drake was just another rapper selling out.
Still, loyal fans like me waited hopefully for “Views.” Finally, in April 2016, it was released. As soon as I heard the first song, I knew this album was what I had been waiting for.
The 20 songs are a mix inspired by all of his previous work. “Weston Road Flows,” “Views,” and “9” remind me of his album “Nothing Was the Same.” “Keep the Family Close,” “Redemption,” and “U With Me?” have a soulful vibe like the songs on “Take Care.” The album also contains tracks with a Caribbean vibe, like “One Dance,” “Too Good,” and “Controlla.” These sound like beaches and piña coladas. Songs like “Hype,” “Still Here,” and “Grammys” contain the same flow and high energy as songs on “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” and “What a Time to Be Alive.” “Feel No Ways” and “With You” have a funky beat I don’t hear often but like.
The song with the most emotional impact is probably the first, “Keep the Family Close.” Drake says, “All of my ‘let’s just be friends’ are friends I don’t have anymore/How do you not check on me when things go wrong?” We all know what it’s like when someone we were once close to suddenly acts like they don’t care. He also says, “If I ever loved you once, I’ll always love you/That’s how I was raised.”
My favorite song has to be “U With Me?” The way Drake samples DMX gives me goosebumps. His transitions are flawless and almost make me cry. The way Drake switches from rapping to singing is poetic. There isn’t one song on this album I dislike; “Views” was well worth the wait. I would have waited a million years for it.
A lot of things are said about Drake – about how he’s changed and just wants to make money – but the one thing that’s for sure is that Drake has this generation by the throat. I’m excited to see what he does next and have never regretted being a fan for seven years.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.