“Hip Hop” (Used 60246 times)
TyG22 on 05/01/2016 at 01:11AM
Great artists, not regular artists, not average artists, but GREAT artists are able to put together an album with a purpose. They create a project where all the songs play off one another, and form a cohesive unit that is, in this writer’s opinion, one of the most unique and impressive things an artist can ever achieve in our society. Kendrick Lamar made good kid m.A.A.d city a movie. Each song working with the other and connected through the story of a young man from Compton battling with a girl, peer pressure, gang violence, and his own faith. Eminem took his flow on the Marshall Mathers LP to a darker and more sinister tone, and with every track you can feel his rage, hate, and disgust with the world around him, but he still doesn’t give a fuck what you think. Similar performances have been given on Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle and Nas’ Illmatic.
Sometimes the themes of albums are lost and people just see the collection as a bunch of good-to-decent songs jumble together in an album. In many cases this is true and the art of crafting an album seems to have been lost. But at the end of the day it is their music, if they understand the purpose and theme, that is all that matters. It shouldn’t be up to them to spoon-feed us the message they are trying to relay through the album. But if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? and if an artist only knows the theme is there a theme? These are questions we can debate, and we can analyze albums until we create crazy theories, but that is not what a music listening experience should be about.
All that being said, Views, the latest album by the global superstar that is Drake, is without a doubt his greatest crafted album to date. Some would still argue the Take Care takes home that crown, but Views has a central plot and accomplishes the exact theme Drake wanted for the album, a soundtrack for the city he loves. The sound effects of the cold wind blowing on a winter’s night and the lonely Drake strolling through the 6 with his woes establish a blissful yet intense tone for this ode to Toronto. Views has been one of the most anticipated albums in recent history, and the hype for it might have created an expectation for the album that could never have been met. While there are some who criticize it for not having enough bangers or club hits, and that it is too soft or sounds more like a Bryson Tiller-The Weeknd hybrid album, this album is delivered perfectly by Drake, and while even I thought this album was going to be tougher and more ruthless, it was a pleasant surprise to see Drake take his sensitivity to another level.
This where we get to the underlying theme of the album that the public seems to not have recognized yet. Drake has always been known for being a weeping kid sobbing over past flames. Countless memes and jokes have been made on this, but Drake is a much harder rapper than that, and his sensitivity is a sign of his strength. In Views, his sensitivity is not towards ex-girlfriends and strippers he couldn’t save, the women discussed in the album all represent the city of Toronto. It only makes sense, as the album is supposed to be an ode to the city, and that is exactly what it is. He personifies the city as a woman he has had both good and bad experiences with, in a page out of Kanye’s book. The album is essentially “Homecoming” extrapolated into a twenty track masterpiece. It took me up to track 18, “Fire and Desire” to realize that the women of the album are the 6, but when I played the album back with that mentality, it resulted in a totally different listening experience. I recommend this is how everyone should listen to Views, as I believe that is how Drake intended for the album to be heard.
So now I would suggest you go listen to Views with this in mind, then you can come back and read the rest of this as I go through each song, or you can stick around and see my explanations first as I will explain how the songs reveal Drake’s love for the city of Toronto, how he views the city and how the city views him, and how he makes the city and how the city makes him.
Track 1: Keep the Family Close
The opening. It already brings in the sound effects of the city bringing you the chills that are undoubtedly coursing through your body as all your excitement and anticipation for this album has finally been met. Then the orchestral opening that brings a throwback tone to the track. Sounds like the opening credits to a film noir, so prepare yourself for drama, passion, and mystery. To kick us off, a very memorable and equally relatable line, “All of my lets just be friends are friends I don’t have anymore”. This song is classic trust issues Drake, but it is also a shot at the city of Toronto. Toronto is the “you” who Drake cannot depend on and who doesn’t check on him. This is just the beginning track to the incredibly turbulent yet deep and passionate relationship between Drake and his city. The first verse shows perfect examples of the woman being Toronto. “Ever since you met me, like when Chrysler made that one car that look just like a bentley”. While I felt this line was out of place for the rhythm and subject, it plays perfectly into Drake’s metaphor. In 1986, the year Drake was born, which would be the year Toronto would’ve met him, Chrysler put out the Chrysler TSI, a car that has very comparable attributes to a Bentley in terms of outer appearance. “I knew you before you made ends meet now we’re meeting our ends”. Drake knew Toronto before it flourished into the wealthier and more prominent city he has worked to make it today. The rest of the track goes on to Drake saying how the city he loved had betrayed him, and shows us how their relationship might not have always been so positive. The city was going through tough times and wasn’t giving Drake the respect he felt it should’ve been giving him. This relationship can be comparable to how Kendrick hated Compton for breaking him down and bringing him violence, but at the same time loved the city for making him stronger. Drake hated the city for not showing him the love when he gave it everything, but he will always love it for making him who he is. That is why as we get to the end of the third verse, we find Drake giving Toronto his forgiveness.
Track 2: 9
Ahh there you are 40. This is the type of song most expected to see throughout Views. Even though it is not 40, it gives us a bumping track with awesome synths that make you feel like you’re traveling a comet through space just to run right into the sun in a fiery passion when the bass hits. This song does not talk about Toronto as a woman, this is an obvious ode to Toronto that anyone who knows Drake could’ve picked up on. So I will not go into deeper analysis, but this is an solid track on the album that represents the theme to a tee. Some of my favorite lyrics, “I made a decision last night that I would die for it/ Just to show the city what it takes to be alive for it”, “If they don’t have a story these days, they’ll make one”, “MJ in every way, I just don’t fade away”, “Tried to kill me but they still want the Views”.
Track 3: U With Me?
DMX hates Drake, but that’s ok, Drake killed this DMX joint and DMX hates everyone. This song is Drake simply asking the 6 is it with him. “I think we get closer when we’re not together”, a great line that has Drake saying that he and the 6’s bond only grows stronger when he is out touring the world and he realizes how much he truly misses the city and vice versa. The next bars go into Drake discussing how the city is VIEWING him. The city sees him doing bigger and better things in other cities and they start getting jealous. They hear about his extravagant pool parties, famous ex’s, and lots of drugs and alcohol. The hook is Drake’s demand that the city stick with him through the games being played (Meek Mill beef reference). He’s got to know that the city will have his back and stay by his side as the game tries to take him down. Verse two keeps up this theme at the beginning, talking about the turbulent relationship him and the city have had. They both have made mistakes, but they both have grown. Verse 3, oh man, oh man, Verse 3. Screw Pop Style, screw 9, screw Grammys. This verse alone has the most hype, and most bang out of anything on the album. This is the frustrations of Drake boiling over as he says he been fucking with the city from day one, and that the city could never say he forgot about them. He goes from 0 to 100 real quick as he switches up the tempo and goes full accusatory and says I’ve had enough, let me speak my mind. Goosebumps is all I can say about the switch-up. While this is not my favorite song on the album, it is my favorite part of the album. This part gives a man the confidence to say to their ex’s screw you. I was trying to give you everything, I was trying to be the best for you, and you left me, it’s my turn to be emotional. But don’t think this crazy love-hate thing between the two is over. The next track, with great production from 40, dives even deeper into the fray between the two. One more note, finally a time where world isn’t rhymed with girl, thank you 6 God.
Track 4: Feel No Ways
The scratchy beat, and crazy smooth synths are controlled masterfully by 40 on this track. Being honest, when I first heard this track, this one hit deep with me. Who hasn’t had an ex they heard talking shit about them. First time listening I obviously heard this as trash talking on a girl, but now I know that this is the 6 doing the shit talking, shame on you Toronto. The times Drake describes in the first verse are when he was just coming up in the game. His “Best I Ever Had” and Thank Me Later days. Drake was not always so boastful about his city in his earlier raps as he has been of recent. And thus the city seemed to have rejected him in his eyes. While Drake was off being a superstar alongside Wayne in the south, he seemed to have forgotten his roots, and the 6 lashed out at him for this. But as Drake says on the hook “Cause you don’t mean it anyway”. He places those subtle lines in a lot where he is battling against this “woman”, but at the end of the day he knows that that is not what she is truly like. He knows that it is just an in the moment type thing. The views coming from the 6 towards Drake obviously were not favorable in the beginning of his career. The 6 was jealous and angry at the rapper for not repping the hometown, and Drake did not appreciate these attacks because when he was younger he tried to give the city everything he had, and the city gave him nothing in return. To go in on some lyrics, “More to life that sleeping in, and getting high with you”. Drake knows there’s more to his life than smoking weed in the city, and sleeping in on those cold Canadian mornings. Then, Drake’s counter to the 6’s jealousy, “I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do”. Classic relationship break-up line. “I need to find out who I am outside of us”. Well, Drake needed to leave the city to become the superstar he is today. If Drake never left the nest, he would never have learned how to fly.
Track 5: Hype
Great transition, I love that with tracks on an album where one just flows into the other, this is something I think is way more dope than it probably is. This track was on some If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late wave, and very appropriate considering Boi1da produced the joint. And if you didn’t think that a Drake song called “Hype” was going to be, well, hyped, you are not a true Drake fan, so please go back to listening to Florida Georgia Line. Especially when that mechanical melody starts rolling in, I just knew this was going to be some straight Drake flames. This a classic Drake braggadocio rap, and it is one of the tracks where we see Drake being the Drake that Toronto has made him. A boy who knows he’s got the stuff and he’s not afraid to let the world know what he is, what he’s been, and what he plans to be. So of my favorite lines, “Last year I know you learned your lesson/ I could GPS you if you need some addressin”, get schooled Meek, just go back to producing diss tracks a middle schooler could have made. “Views already a classic”, is there any bigger brag than that? Is there?
Track 6: Weston Road Flows
Another direct ode to Toronto like “9”, with the exception of the exact lyrics being about the city. The nod to Weston Road is just Drake continuing to show that his flows and his raps styles all are rooted in what the city has implanted in him. We do get some acknowledgment of Drake’s past in these bars, and his youth growing up in the 6, but there is continued bragging like on “Hype”, and who can complain about the bars. And I’m going to stop right there for a second, maybe the low-key greatest line of the album, “I’m looking at there first week numbers like what are those/ I mean you boys not even coming close”. Drake used a “what are those” reference, he is a god for that y’all, no question, he just too real, and I love that line more and more every time I hear it. To go over some more bars that kill it, “I might be here as a vessel to teach people a lesson/ feel like they wanted me dead but couldn’t pull it together”, “Your best day is my worst day, I get green like Earth day/ you treat me like I was born yesterday, you forgot my birthday”.
Track 7: Redemption
Back to sad Drake. This is right after the dust has settled from the fight that was tracks 1, 3, and 4. Drake starts off asking hypotheticals saying how could the 6 think he was saying things to make them mad, how could they think he was settling for other cities that needed to pick up the pieces, and then, the confession, he’s lost his way. He’s looking for the words he needs to apologize and he knows that the city will redeem him, because he is their very own. He’s their son and how could they ever not give the 6 God his redemption when he has been willing to give them theirs. “I gave your nickname to someone else”, ouch, this line probably referring to Drake giving another city the title as his home town, which could be Houston. He then raps about how he doesn’t want the 6 to be with anyone else, he doesn’t want to see them loving any other artist more than they love him. “I used to know you back when you was young”, you guys see where I’m going with this by now (think Chrysler), get it, got it, good. Then, yet another relatable lyric “I miss the feeling of you missing me”. More apologizes from Drake has he admits to his wrongs and misses the support and admiration of his hometown and he desperately wants it back. We go to Verse 4 and it starts “I’m not unrealistic with none of my women/I tell them if they ain’t with it then let’s just forget it”. These other women are the other cities and places Drake has made a nest in over the years, but none of them compare to Toronto. If they aren’t about the same shit Toronto’s about, then they can find another rapper. When he starts referring to “they”, he is without a doubt referring to the people of Toronto, he wants to make sure they’re hearing what he’s saying. And he closes it thinking he’ll never be forgiven by the city, and you can feel the pain fall off of his tongue when he delivers this line.
Track 8: With You
“With You” is a rather uplifting track that is a sign of Drake and the city finally reconciling and getting ready for Views to drop. It’s all about them, Drake and his city, the ultimate power couple. PartyNextDoor as per usual delivers alongside Drake, and the listener is finally hearing a love song from Drake that makes them feel happy for him. It’s go time now, the fight is over, differences have been put aside, grudges dropped, the past left behind, it is right now, and it is Toronto’s time, it’s all about the 6.
Track 9: Faithful
A very underrated leak, and a low-key banger that has a tough-as-hell bass. Great collab production from 40 and Boi1da. Here Drake is bragging about his girl, not himself for a change. Hyping up this girl who been working hard and trying to be somebody. The girl is, if you’ve been reading, Toronto, surprise. Look over the lyrics and this becomes consistently obvious. This is like the post make-up sex song where Drake has a new appreciation for the the woman/city he loves. PSA: Please don’t picture Drake having make-up sex with Toronto.
Track 10: Still Here
Another very slick transition, and a beat that is simultaneously poppy and dark. This song goes hard, and it is Drake saying he ain’t going anywhere despite all the efforts to end his run. This is him backing up his city saying that the 6 doing fine through the hate and that haters can go fuck themselves. Some favorite lyrics, “Nothing mutual about my funds”, “I see your girl like all the time, all the time tho/ I can’t tell you if she’s yours or mine, but I do know”, “Whole lot of 6s but I’m still like Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah”.
Track 11: Controlla
Drake really into the 6 now, that mentality from track 9 carrying over here, except it isn’t made as obvious cause the general public just sees him talking to a woman. Drake rapping on how other cities want him for his money, and they are trying to steal him from the 6. But Drake has all eyes on the 6. Drake is in a sea of hoes all vying for his attention, but all he can see is the 6. And the best line “I need all the energy you bring to me”. Girls, tell me you wouldn’t love your man for saying that to you. The relationship between the two is now very steady. No one is becoming between them, and they are ready to be the couple everyone wants to be.
Track 12: One Dance
See description of “Controlla”.
Track 13: Grammys
Probably a “What a Time to Be Alive” throwaway. But still fire, and you know because does Future ever perform on songs that don’t have a beat that makes dudes kings of the AUX cord. But I have a love-hate relationship with Future, so this will stay on Drake. This song a nice interlude and a break away from all the city-sex we were exposed to on “Controlla” and “One Dance”. Drake dives into his history as a rapper, and appropriately so given the title. He has been a constant Grammy presence from day one. I love that he says he’s top 5. While I believe he is in the current top 5, but by no means is he there in terms of all-time, that is yet to be determined. And top 5 just leads you into conversations that never end, so maybe another time.
Track 14: Childs Play
Either more city-sex or this could be a song about an actual girl from Toronto, could be the exception to the rule as there are lyrics that my theory can fail to explain for, but there are some that work. I will let the people be the judge of this one.
Track 15: Pop Style
You’ve probably started noticing that my analysis is getting less and less, and it is because of repetition. I’m not going as in-depth into lyrics because I’ve given you the tools you need to do it on your own. You guys by now know what I’m getting at, and I bet most of y’all stopped reading after I told you to not picture Drake having sex with Toronto, and went to go test my theory out and listen to Views again. If that is the case, I’m glad; that was my intention, but if you want to stick around we still haven’t gotten to my favorite song, and the track that spurred the theory. But to get to Pop Style: banger. Love this track, love the deep and moody melody, and the base that hits you like the cold Toronto air on New Years Eve. Favorite lyrics, NO to“got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum”, we all get the joke, it wasn’t good, but quit persecuting him for it. YES to “Cannot beat me I’m a one-of-one”, “Everybody looking out for themselves/ But they still got eyes on me”, “Problems hit the gym they all work out”. Also Drake, it sounds like some forty-three-o-one shit, because it is, and thank the 6 God it is. Also, Drake’s new verse better than Kanye’s, fuck you motorcycle Kanye.
Track 16: Too Good
Guess what song you’re going to be hearing on the radio for the next 6 months alongside “Work”, yeah, this joint. Good song, Drake-Rihanna collabs always solid and their styles play well with one another, except I’m getting nervous because Drake getting very close to RiRi and she got to be saving herself for me. But this song is Drake acknowledging the argument from the night before, “last night I think I lost my patience, last night I think I got as high as your expectations”. Drake however thinks that he is way to good to the 6 and they don’t realize what they have with him. Enter Rihanna, the lust-inducing Caribbean goddess who gives a voice to the 6. Not looking good for me, Drake loves the 6 with all his heart and he chose Rihanna to personify it, it’s slow for your boy, but I digress. The six has the same thoughts that Drake has about it. Toronto and its people feel they have been to good to Drake and that he doesn’t know what he has with them. The contrast creates a singularity in the idea that the two are dependent on one another. Drake needs the 6 and the 6 needs Drake. While both have been stuck in their ways and are high on themselves, they both are nothing without the other.
Track 17: Summers Over Interlude
Tad weird, but a decent interlude, good transition from the high of summer sex back to the serious aspects of the relationships.
Track 18: Fire & Desire
It was listening to this track for the first time that I realized that it wasn’t a woman he was talking about, it was the city. That’s when I listened to track 19 with my theory in mind, and then went in for round two. It only made sense, an album that is about Toronto being all about the relationship between Drake and the city. I thought why would there be track after track of just sad, depressed, heartbroken Drake sulking over girls on an album about the city he loves. So therefore I thought the heartbreak is all from the city. The city is the woman. To me that is the only thing that makes sense, in which case Drake is a metaphor master. Lines from Fire & Desire that lead to the making of my theory. “I dedicate to you”, “Keep you in front, never in back”, “I need you inspired, I need you excited”, that was the one really, soon as I heard it I thought, that sounds exactly like what Drake would be saying to the 6 in the anticipation of Views.
Track 19: Views
Here it is, my favorite track on the album, the title track and final track, “Hotline Bling” a bonus, as far as I’m concerned this is were the album truly ends. It is the culmination of everything, the ultimate nod to the city, like, it’s lit fam. This is it, this is the end of what we’ve been waiting for, dying for, screaming for, for a year. The song is lit, when that beat drop, oh god. Drake talks about how he is never going to leave the city, the have him for life, (listen to the intro by the Winans). He raps on the power, resilience, and strength of the 6. The song is a summary of everything the 6 is today. It is also Drake being more personal and less bragging, and straight-up addressing everyone who has a problem with him, and his own insecurities too. The last line is the dagger, and it is exactly why I believe it to be the true ending, “If I was you I’d probably hate me too”. What a way to end it! That is lights, curtains, cameras up, it’s been lit, thank you Drake, just walk-off stage, you on top dog, good looks.
But all jokes aside. That is the end of the album that we all been waiting for like Christmas. The album takes us through the story of the relationship between Drake and the 6, with interludes between the main story that are about the 6, Drake, and Life (to be really broad). The main story starts with “Keep the Family Close” showing the listener what the fight is about, “9” is an interlude, then “U With Me?” and “Feel No Ways” are more fighting and arguing between the two and we almost see Drake walk out on the 6 to take his woes somewhere else. “Hype” and “Weston Road Flow” are interludes, then “Redemption” starts a change in the story where Drake comes back to the 6 to apologize for being a dick. “With You” is the two reconciling, and “Faithful” is the make-up sex. “Still Here” is an interlude, followed by the sex and visual pleasure that lies in “Controlla” and “One Dance”. “Grammys”, “Child’s Play”, and “Pop Style” are interludes, then back to the story with “Too Good”, where Drake and the 6 finally come to the realization of their importance to each other. “Fire & Desire” is Drake’s affirmation that he will always be faithful to the 6, and “Views” is a closing track to the story, it’s like the end credits.
That is Views, a constructed album with a central theme that is kept up throughout. It is a true work of art, and will be without a doubt the best album of 2016, unless Eminem drops something (fingers crossed). In terms of Hotline Bling, I know it’s on the album and there are some parts of it that can keep up with my theory, but it falls into a similar category as “Child’s Play”.
Views was not at all what I thought it was going to be, and that’s what makes it that much better. Drake took it somewhere I didn’t think he was going to go, and the outcome was awe-inspiring. The album may disappoint those moderate Drake fans that were expecting more bangers and hits like “Big Rings”, “Energy”, “Know Yourself”, or “Summer Sixteen”. But the album was a smooth, deep, crafty, smart, elegant, tough, and sentimental work of art that is Drake’s best work to date. Views is not a banger album, Views is not a radio hits album, Views is not going to be your favorite album, Views isn’t even a rap album, but what Views is, is a beautiful album.
TAGGED AS:hip hop
BeastRobot on 10/22/2015 at 06:20PM
♫ Artist: staRpauSe
♫ Track: Hooky Hicky
♫ Album: staRpauSe singLes
♫ Genre: Electronic, Soundtrack, Funk, Hip-Hop Beats, Instrumental
Killa_Conscious on 09/27/2015 at 01:34PM
Peace love and all of the above!
Support the artists with a listen and some kind words or not so kind words, thank you!
BeastRobot on 08/31/2015 at 06:22PM
Fan Video https://youtu.be/swDaC3pnieQ
♫ Artist: SK
♫ Track: Pennies For My Thoughts
♫ Album: Pennies For My Thoughts
♫ Genre: Hip-Hop