Drake is one of the handful of artists (think: Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, et. al) whose release of an album is a seismic event in the Hip-Hop community. The hyperbolic praise and acidic critiques of the long-delayed, and highly anticipated album started flowing basically moments after its release.
While the Internets let off their opinions instantly, critics took a bit more time to formulate their theories about the merits of Drizzy’s latest project. In 2016, that means about 24 hours.
It seems that the reviews from the pros are just as divided as those of the Internets.
But first, Big Ghost hooked up another hilariously classic Drake review: ReVIEWS: Big Ghost Digs Into Drake – #VIEWS
Over at Rolling Stone, the album gets flagged for just delivering more of the same. Drake and Noah “40” Shebib sounds has been hacked by many, which ends up hurting the originators.
Theirs is a sound that is often imitated nowadays: Thanks to Drake, rappers have increasingly become indistinguishable from singers and vice versa. This sound has taken Drake to the top of the charts and the center of fans’ consciousnesses, but on Views, that formula fails to decisively take listeners anywhere we’ve never been before.
At the New York Times, Jon Caramanica notes that the 6 God has become his own genre and is more generous with praise for his use of flow.
Drake is more preoccupied with cadence than most rappers, and of course, more able to make unexpected juxtapositions between rapping and singing than anyone else. And thanks to his flirtations with dancehall, Afrobeats and grime, he is as flexible as ever.
The “old formula” theme continues at VIBE with their generally positive review. But in VIBE‘s case it’s about many not giving the album a proper chance because it doesn’t fit their own maybe unreasonable expectations.
While we’ll never fully see into Drake’s world other than what he presents, many have been quick to digest VIEWS as an album that doesn’t provide the right carbon footprint into the rapper’s legacy. As he bluntly spits “Views already a classic” on “Hype,” web tears flowed in a matter of keyboard commenters who argued the rapper peaked at his Grammy-winning sophomore album Take Care.
As for the almighty Pitchfork, Drake stans will surely react to its rather “meh” rating of 6.8 out of 10 for the Boy’s new record. One particular issue the outlet had was the album’s length.
VIEWS is what happens when venting turns into whining. Spanning an obnoxious 82 minutes, the record goes through several musical and thematic phases, but the overall atmosphere is bitter, petty, worn-down. It confuses loyalty and stagnation, wallowing in a sound that is starting to show its limits.
But what of the many contradictions of Drizzy? The Los Angeles Times took particular note of Drake’s pettiness sometimes being mistaken for being deep in its review.
For a pop star, though, Drake’s level of success also buys something else: the privilege of contradiction. What plays like inconsistency in the minor leagues often resembles complexity once you’re at the top. And that’s a generous understanding that Drake takes full advantage of with “Views,” his fourth studio album (not counting various mixtapes), which sets his harshest thoughts about women against the prettiest, most sensual music he’s ever made.
One issue few have a problem with on the album it its production. The Boombox made sure to mention how essential Noah “40” Shebib is to the 6 God’s equation.
If Drake’s the screenwriter for Views, 40’s the sound and feeling. Drake’s character, the king of Toronto for better or worse, is able to successfully exists in the world’s created by his most frequent collaborator. As 40’s production prowess grows, Drake’s artistry follows suit.
The lack of universal praise isn’t slowing down VIEWS’ sales. Last time we checked, it was on course to sell 800,ooo copies its first week.
Let us know what you think of VIEWS in the comments or online.
Photo: Young Money