Bubble-bath rapper/ Degrassi alum Aubrey Graham is back with his latest foray into the world of music. Views from the 6, now known as simply VIEWS was announced all the way back in July 2014, dedicated to his home city of Toronto. The album has been described by the man himself as a movement through the seasons in the 6, and the songs are a reflection of that.
The album kicks off with a few slow paced winter warmers like ‘U with Me?’, ‘Redemption’ and ‘Keep the Family Close’, in which Drake shows his aptitude to create the kind of music that’ll make you text some old flames at 3AM. It’s a pastiche of ‘Take Care’ in many ways, and it works well, but you’d be hard pressed to find anything new or exciting in these songs besides the production. The sonic ability of Oliver and 40 from OVO Sound is simply unparalleled, and even though you might find some weak bars from Drake on this album, the instrumentals are consistently powerful all the way through, utilizing orchestral instruments and borrowing from reggae influences that have been blowing up the charts recently.
Hype is a double-edged sword.
Speaking of which, Drake’s use of Jamaican Patois (similar to Rhianna in ‘Work’) really takes this album to another level in the later tracks. ‘One Dance’, ‘Controlla’ and ‘Too Good’ are all absolute dancehall behemoths, and will be stuck in your head for weeks, if not months to come. ‘Too Good’ is the shining jewel of this album, another Drake/Rhianna ballad utilizing the chemistry between the two to create a bigger-than-radio hit. However, the features on this album beyond Rhianna are pretty hit and miss. After a strong collaboration with Future on ‘What a Time to Be Alive’, ‘Grammys’ really does not deliver the same level of quality as ‘Jumpman’ or ‘Big Rings’, and seems like an out-take from that mixtape which really doesn’t flow well here. ‘Faithful’, which features Pimp C & dvsn, also felt like it was just there to push more acts from the OVO Sound roster.
Drake shows his aptitude to create the kind of music that’ll make you text some old flames at 3AM
The only track which really works in this regard is ‘With You’, featuring OVO up-and-comer PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jeremih, who provide the backbone to a quality song, with Drake taking a backseat. Drake has already worked with PND on ‘Recognize’, ‘Come and See Me’, and ‘Preach’, and it seems to me that he really needs to build rapport with other artists before he can churn out quality songs with them. This would explain why he took both Kanye West and Jay-Z off of Pop Style for the album release, replacing their verses with his own. Both brilliant rappers, but their feature comes across as an afterthought rather than a realized tune.
All of this makes for a successful yet safe album from Drake, which seems almost alien standing next to IYRTITL, a mixtape that came out of nowhere, and was arguably littered with better tracks. Hype is a double-edged sword.