Kennedy Road taught me not to trust people like you.”

Drake’s not wrong when he claims that Toronto has turned him someone who looks over their shoulders. Scarborough, a district of the city, has been one of the landmarks that the rapper touts, portraying it to be more troubled than the city’s media makes it out to be. He might have filmed episodes of “Degrassi” there—as stated by “Worst Behavior”—but he knows that it’s a region where a shotgun-toting gangster caused a ruckus at a hair salon; he knows that it’s a place where neighborhood BBQs end up with stray bullets hitting children. He has extended Toronto as a bigger thing than Torontonians might think of it as. With Views, the artist wants to balance length and character, while still being true to the city he imagines.

The title of Drake’s fourth LP has so much potential. It can hint at something panoramic, like how a night drive through a city—in his eyes, Toronto—can highlight the best and the worst of him. He would reflect on these emotions and create 20 tracks to build something vicarious. Drake could also have gone the root of exploring the differing perspectives of citizens. But Drake is a simple man who contends that Views looks at winter and summer, making the altered states within a relationship look genuine along a timeline. They are not that. The seasons are a lie, and the long length of this record is unnecessary to get one point across: the woman in the picture is complex—more so than Drake, the unreliable narrator in this mess of an album.

When the musician raps, he attempts to make phrases stick. When that fails, he sings. Noah “40” Shebib’s beats lay mostly static, and the idea of having few features to support Drake, besides OVO fare like dvsn and PartyNextDoor, seems hastily decided. But that has been so Drake-like post-Thank Me Later. That said, the musician has his eyes on a woman in Views. She might not be ready for the life, but she’s confident enough to know that Drake can be a pest, too. Sure, the rapper still boasts of his crew and keeps his eyes on his enemies, but Kennedy Road has allowed the man to think that this woman will stab him in the back.

But the contemplative nature of relationships does not a good album make. The characters can shift and show their personalities, but the amalgamation of production and lyrical content indicate that Drake loves safe flows but also isn’t very creative. At times the production equivalent of a vaporwave track might come to the foray (“9,” “Feel No Ways”), allowing listeners to wonder whether the rapper learned from the off-putting experimentation on Nothing Was the Same. That said, the dancehall beats and afrobeat flavors of tracks like “Controlla” and “One Dance” make Drake more comfortable than he is on songs where he feels like his enemies don’t get to him (“Hype”). The near amelodic twinkling of “Hype” makes the rapper out to be a rambler amidst the noise of a city, a kind of propaganda-spewer.

Sometimes the things that he says will cause you to do a double-take—for a 20 track record, sometimes even that isn’t enough. Initially, the odd DMX sample on “U With Me?” might captivate, but the line “You toyin’ with it like Happy Meal,” complete with its icy production, makes Drake out to be the cold man he failed to be on “Childs Play.” “Weston Road Flows,” aside from being a brief shout-out to Toronto, allows Drake to channel the power of the internet meme with the line “I’m lookin’ at they first week numbers like what are those/ I mean you boys not even coming close.” “Pop Style” comes up with “Chaining Tatum.” Future even manages to add variety to lyrical flow by actually being—fast. Rihanna talks of the other side of the relationship by not innocently mimicking Drake’s words, but legitimately feeling the same way: lost, irritated and better than the other. It becomes truly charming to hear Drake say “My exes made some of my favorite music” a couple tracks later (“Views”).

Drake is more admirable if he scraps the idea of winter as R&B and summer as trap. In creating this vision, he makes Views much more complex than it actually is, probably explaining its length. Thank Me Later was a nice blend of not too pretentious hype antics and smooth, sensual loving. Take Care felt comfortable with the feature because it amped Drake into a figure of Hollywood stature. Nothing Was the Same wanted to drift away without losing the artist’s magic touch. The beautiful James Bond-esque instrumentation of “Keep the Family Close” lets something so loose and appealing through to entice its audience. It readies listeners for what this Drake will be. Because there’s a different sound to each LP, and, unfortunately, the sound of Views is burdened by a flimsy vision.

Yet with each listen of “Hotline Bling,” something clicks. Drake leaves the city and highlights the autonomy of his lover, making him out to be somewhat of an unreliable narrator. He’ll talk about her flaws and how she might not run with the life in his head, but she’s doing her own things. Maybe in his ambition, Drake made a record that made him lose his sense of control. Though there were seldom moments that fully captivate, Views ultimately leaves Drake speechless. His enemies didn’t do this. He can mope atop the C.N. Tower all he wants, thinking that his lover is backstabbing him, but Kennedy Road might not have taught him all there is about life.

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