After months of anticipation, Canadian rapper Drake has returned with the follow up to Nothing Was The Same. Before the album’s official release he was featured on Rihanna’s #1 single Work and also released a joint mixtape/album with Atlanta rapper Future. While the album was still in the recording stages Drake gave away six singles; “Hotline Bling,” “Right Hand,” the Meek Mill diss track “Back To Back,” “Pop Style,” “One Dance,” and the boastful buzz single “Summer Sixteen.” Judging by all of those songs, this album was shaping up to be mediocre at best, content wise.
From The 6 kicks off with Keep The Family Close, its production is reminiscent of something that would be included in a blockbuster film, most notably a James Bond picture. With its big orchestra production it’s an instant attention grabber. Drake opens up about realizing that family is more important than temporary companionship and seems to update the world of the status of his relationship with fellow Young Money rapper Nicki Minaj; hinting that she chose the side of her current love interest who caught the short end of the stick when it came to his fall out with Mr. Graham.
U With Me? Sees Drake sampling one of the fallen greats, DMX, and his debut album cut “How’s It Goin’ Down.” This records theme is pretty much put into repetition throughout the rest of the project. Trust issues seems to play a major part in Drake’s life and comes through in his music. But we’ve been listening to this same narrative since he walked off the Degrassi set and landed in a world where promethazine is passed around like a party favor. When is enough enough?
Content wise there’s no progression in what he attempts to address. He’s also regressed lyrically since his So Far Gone/Thank Me Later/Take Care days. While I’ve never relied on Drake to deliver hard hitting, mind boggling bars; lines like “Got so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum” are unacceptable of someone at his level. “Keychain go jang-a-lang, I wanna do major things” is, in the words of Khaled, another one.
Pop Style falls extremely short of being a club banger. Regardless of if his bars were up to par or not, the generic production leaves a lot to be desired. Hype and Still Here both do a better job in those regards. Grammys gives off the impression of being a throwaway track from the What A Time To Be Alive sessions. There’s also a very, almost cringeworthy, placement of a posthumous Pimp C verse on the song Faithful; Mr “Like it in the sheets never on top of the covers” didn’t deserve such disrespect. One highlight of that record however, is it also features one of OVO Sound’s newest artists dvsn (pronounced “Division”).
During the second half of Views there’s three dancehall influenced tracks, Controlla, the Rihanna assisted Too Good and One Dance. The production of One Dance, which samples Kyla‘s Do You Mind and has guest vocals from Wizkid, appears to not be synced properly which can cause a bit of a distraction.
There are a lot of fillers and forgettable songs on VIEWS, but Weston Road Flows, the title track, Fire & Desire and Feel No Ways could all pass the replay value test. But the negatives outweigh the very few positives.
While listening to the album there’s apparently a theme, but it’s still irrelevant for how the record comes off. The album is supposed to represent how the mood of Toronto shifts when Winter is upon them and how things switch up when Summer hits. Regardless of said theme, the record is exactly what was assumed earlier.
With so much talk of being the biggest commercially successful rapper right now, which is undoubtedly the truth, Drake is still struggling to deliver a “stand the test of time” album. While the hype continues to put him at the center of attention, he needs the push that will put him on top of the pedestal, he claims to be the “TBE, the best ever” but has yet to prove it.
If you’re a Drake fan you’ve probably already listened/bought the album (he is expected to sell close to a million copies the first week). If you haven’t, I advise you to at least give it a few listens because there are some good moments, they may be few and far between but they’re there. If you’re not a Drake fan, I would say the same unless you completely despise the guy and in that case you wouldn’t be reading this review.
From The 6 is an okay rap album. It’s always hard to keep anyone’s attention for 20 straight songs, especially if you’re a rapper, and that’s the albums biggest downfall. The lengthiness could be too much for even the most dedicated fan. You add that in with less than sub par bars and you have a real problem ahead of you. But knowing that Drake has proven to have a good ear when it comes to music there’s is still some hope left that those talents will carry into his own projects.