Everyone knows that we hate Drake. Drake knows that we hate Drake. Drake is reading this in his monogrammed mohair slippers, quaffing a chai latte in Scarborough, alternately sticking his (plastic) knife in his scrumptious Cheesecake Factory Meatloaf and a limited edition Jeff Weiss-as-Jesus voodoo doll. In the next room over, seven women try to hawk their new Chanel bags on EBay. Drake intermittently sexts them on Slack. The “Damn Daniel” vine plays on a loop in the movie theater upstairs.
He’s watching a documentary about the making of Entourage on Netflix—an OB O’Brien recommendation from way back—wondering if Turtle ever gets lonely. Majid Jordan are in the basement toiling on an algorithm that optimizes Instagram captions. Drake’s been DMing Kodak Black, who isn’t replying but said his phone was acting weird so it’s all good. He has two tabs open on his computer: the Wikipedia page for The Rules of Basketball and Metacritic, which he keeps refreshing. The whole time, he’s staring in the floor-to-ceiling mirror, screaming, “Top five, top five, top five.”
Top five of what, exactly? In his Bachelor pool? In his last curling bonspiel? At throwing American Beauty-themed pool parties in Hidden Hills? At getting green like Earth Day? At Skepta karaoke? (“Bumbaclot!” Drake mutters as he reads this.)
How are we supposed to write about an album this boring? These are actual lyrics from Views:
“Cuts too deep for a band-aid solution
“You treat me like I’m born yesterday, you forgot my birthday”
“This year for Christmas I just want apologies”
“I give Chanel out like a hug”
“My wifey is a spice like I’m David Beckham”
“The 6 colder than the freezer with a piece of frozen pizza”
“Been flexing since I got a pager/ Girl don’t touch me when I’m watching Frasier”
“My house is the definition of alcohol and weed addiction”
“Your eyes are bluer than the ocean/ Skin flawless like DeMar DeRozan”
“You toying with it like Happy Meal”
“I wish you still said yes, like when you let me touch the breast/ I’m the owner of a lonely heart like that band called Yes”
As you might have read on Media Takeout, Drake, whose Instagram name is Champagne Papi,, was rumored to enjoy ghostwriters. Drake triumphed over the allegations with a barrage of memes, but the whole imbroglio must have gotten under his skin, because there’s no way a team of writers got paid $250 a day to come up with “I could GPS you if you need addressing.” None of that is to say thatViews is particularly personal; it gestures at the “intimate” in the broadest, Snapchat-me-those-feelings-if-
In Drake’s world, things like basic melody in rap music didn’t exist until a carafe of poutine gravy fell from the CN Tower and smacked an erstwhile teen soap star on his impressionable head. The internet would tell you that Drake’s ingeniousness comes from his ability to turn weaknesses into strengths. You might have had this exact conversation with a skinny dude in a Bryson Tiller Nike cap and a limited edition Supreme fur and rolled your eyes.
All the flows are borrowed, all the seductions come straight from the Eddie Winslow “Baby Baby Ba-bay” school of sensualism, the beats sound like producers had been sipping Robitussin out of cherubs frolicking in the grotto at the Yolo Mansion. The best rap verses come from Future, Pimp C, and a Mary J Blige sample. He took off the two best spots from the singles because this is Drake’s party and he’ll cry if he wants to.
He substitutes well-executed marketing schtick for depth. Drake didn’t really ether Meek Mill, he let Whataburger run the fade. He embodied a rap genus that tape records their girlfriend’s phone calls, checks her phone when she goes to the bathroom, and sends her photos from the gym, pretending to lift up their shirts to wipe the “sweat” off their collective faces.
Drake catches trends and pisses LaBatt Blue on them. There’s nothing artful about how he integrates Kodak Black’s flow on “Pop Style” or the bounce sample on “Child’s Play”—it’s like watching undigested popcorn shrimp come up in your vomit, but not so much that he has iodine poisoning. He kept Quentin tied up in a closet full of silken cravats and kept Kanye and Popcaan off of the album. He wants to take from everyone but he’s scared to give the credit to anyone but J Prince Jr.
Aubrey is one of the few who could make your Twitter timeline agree on one topic for the night, and that’s the environment the music is actually tailored to. You can’t play 85% of the album in a club, because you’d fall asleep. If you’re driving, you’re in danger of swerving into oncoming traffic, as though you were up late in the snow begrudgingly visiting your girlfriend after she took the Bar exam.
Drake didn’t need to say “VIEWS already a classic” on “Hype” because that was the default opinion for most of his listeners going in. He’s too big to fail. He dances in turtlenecks to hawk T-Mobile. He sits courtside at a Raptors game in a Steph Curry jersey.
VIEWS is his most punishing and tedious album yet, droning on for 82 endless minutes only for the payoff to be that “Cha Cha” remix. But from the opening line, the self-parodic cynicism of the album is there: “All of my “let’s just be friends” are friends I don’t have anymore.” It’s a line so needy yet self-consciously on brand that you begin to wonder how much of his millennial ennui was dreamed up by KanyeToThe.
Chief Drake consigliere Noah “40” Shebib returns to once again handle the bulk of production work, but the results are mostly boilerplate and lack innovation. The slick ballads have never felt more antiseptic, the writing never so bald-faced and manipulative. The aspirational raps feels like being trapped in a crowded King Street club while someone DJs off of Spotify and tries to synchronize brands with you.The most interesting songs here are the suite of mid-album jams that are generously influenced by Toronto’s prominent Caribbean enclaves. “Controlla,” “One Dance,” and “Too Good” would probably make for a strong EP—pending he toned down the faux-patois—but they’re swallowed by monotonous filler like “Redemption,” “Child’s Play,” or “Fire & Desire.” That’s a real song title, not an episode of Game of Thrones.
VIEWS is a botched Event in the vein of Kingdom Come, Carter IV, or Careless World: Rise of the Last King. It’s bad because Drake’s interests extend only to himself, and “Look what I’ve done in my life/ I had to count it and count it again to make sure the money was right” is not exactly “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me.” Drake’s a great capitalist, but if all you care about is money and the city that you’re from, you better be able to talk about about money and Toronto in ways that go beyond 69 jokes He writes his own propaganda — you either buy it or you don’t.