Looking back at Drake's fourth studio album 'Views' which released 8 years ago on April 29, 2016

The official album cover art for Drake
The official album cover art for Drake's fourth studio album 'Views' which released to all DSPs on April 29, 2016 (Image via X/@Drake)

April 29 was the day Drake released his chart-topping album, Views, back in 2016 which had a huge run commercially and critically, garnering several accolades - be it winning the Billboard Music Award for "Top Billboard 200 Album" or the highly streamed hit single, Hotline Bling, which currently has over 1.3 billion streams on Spotify.

Marking this album's eighth year, we'll be looking back on how well this album has performed over the years, diving into how this project ranks in Drake's discography.

Views was distributed to all DSPs via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. The album cover for this project was shared on Drake's official Twitter account on April 25, 2016, which found the rapper seated on top of the famous CN Tower in Toronto Canada. The caption on this post read:

"To the city I love and the people in it...Thank you for everything"

Breaking Down Drake's fourth studio album, Views

Back in 2016, a day before Views dropped, Drizzy tweeted out a 30-second video compilation of him, his city, and his studio. The tweet appeared to be insinuating that he would be releasing his album soon, with a caption that read:

"#VIEWS Eve."

Upon its initial release, Views was met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, but as years have passed, it appears this project has aged well with time, with many songs still appearing in Hip/Hop rotations on several Spotify playlists.

The album was a love letter to Drizzy's hometown of Toronto with the project diving into themes of:

  1. Relationships
  2. Success
  3. Fame
  4. Money
  5. Family
  6. Excess
  7. Life
  8. Love
  9. Rivalry
  10. Reminiscence
  11. Growth and change

Views opens with the emotional track, Keep The Family Close, setting the tone for the album with reflective lyricism on the failed relationships Drizzy has had over the years.

We then move on to the tracks 9, You With Me?, and Feel No Ways, all of which are heavily infused with emotional performances going from aggressively citing his intentions to flexing his success. These tracks, especially the instant beat switch into a funk-pop production on Feel No Ways, leave a profound impression on its listeners.

Some of the most notable lines from Feel No Ways appear in its chorus, where Drizzy sings:

"I tried with you / There's more to life than sleeping in and getting high with you / I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do / And that just didn't sit right with you, yeah."

In the following tracks like Hype, Western Road Flows, and Redemption, we find Drake getting more retrospective of his journey through love, rivalries, and relationships. The rapper takes listeners through intricate but intentionally vague instances that have resulted in him having a certain distant outlook, or "view," of life.

We then witness the first few features of the album on the eighth and ninth tracks. With You (Feat. PartyNextDoor) is a fun R&B track with Party's vocals perfectly blending into the beat and Drake cadence. Faithful (Feat. dvsn x Pimp C), however, isn't a fan-favorite track, but from a less critical standpoint, Drizzy's melodic verses about faithfulness make this song quite catchy.

The next two tracks on Views are some of the most popular tracks on Drake's discography, with Controlla and One Dance (Feat. Wizkid x Kyla), both of which are in constant rotation on Dancehall music playlists. The most notable line appears on One Dance's chorus, where Drake sings:

"That's why I need a one dance / Got a Hennessy in my hand / One more time 'fore I go / Higher powers taking a hold on me."

We then get the song Grammys (Feat. Future), which despite having great trap elements included in its production, feels oddly similar to the duo's collaboration album, What A Time To Be Alive, which was released a year prior.

Drake in the music video for 'Hotline Bling' uploaded to YouTube on Oct 27, 2015 (Image via YouTube/@DrakeOfficial)
Drake in the music video for 'Hotline Bling' uploaded to YouTube on Oct 27, 2015 (Image via YouTube/@DrakeOfficial)

The best production, vocal performances, and overall 10/10 tracks show up on the tail end of this project with Childs Play, Pop Style, Too Good (Feat. Rihanna), and Fire & Desire. Each of these tracks contributes an energetic vibe to the album with hard-hitting bars and exceptional flow switches, that Drizzy appears to have perfected in his 2016 run.

The final two tracks include the titular song Views and the smash hit Hotline Bling. Both songs build an emotionally deep atmosphere to the album acting as perfect closers to one of Drake's biggest projects of his career.

Views is a retrospective project with Drake looking back on his life in an attempt to connect with the way his fans, his ex relationships, his family, his friends, and the music industry "view" him as an individual and as an artist.

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