Micah: I used to hate Drake. A lot. I’m a total bandwagon Drake fan. I used to hate Drake in the same way I hated Lil’ Wayne when he was in everyone’s face ten years ago. At the time Wayne was dropping endless mixtapes and features and it was way too much for me. Later when I heard he had signed a Canadian singer who was writing for him and making songs like “The Motto” I was not stoked.
I eventually gave in and gave Nothing Was the Same a serious listen. I few songs made it into rotation and they still have a lot of replay value. I think Drake’s accessibility and popularity comes from the fact that he has two vocal styles that are instantly recognizable but also completely distinct. Drake can switch from singing to rapping on a dime, immediately changing his delivery, timbre, and the energy of the entire son. A lot of his music feels like it should be labeled Drake (feat. Drake). This is enhanced by his ear for melody and ability to find his unique pocket to create a signature sound that, love it or hate it, is unmistakeable.
Henry: I can’t really justify hating on anybody for making music, and in fact, I like Drake, but I like him way more as a celebrity than as a musician, much in the same way that I like the cover of this album way more than I like the album itself. Drake is awkwardly and obviously photoshopped on top of the CN Tower, probably smiling his goofy, lovable smile. He’s on top because he really, truly believes that he’s on top. He has mentally photoshopped himself there, and because he truly believes it, and because we love him, we put him there. I hope the view is nice.
1. Keep the Family Close
Produced by Maneesh Bidaye
Micah: Drake sounds like he wants to be a broadway singer on this song. It sounds like he’s singing the right notes, but I don’t feel his vocal delivery. I could hear The Weeknd killing this kind of song, it reminds me of the opening to his last album. I like the idea of how it never works being “just friends” after a romantic relationship, but that isn’t enough to save the song. This kind of production isn’t working for Drake. I will not be revisiting this song.
Henry: Yeah, the way the autotune is used here is pretty distracting to me. Drake should be perfectly capable of hitting that line, not sure why he feels like it’s stylistically necessary to have that really audible manipulation on his voice.
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Boi-1da & Alexander Morgan
Henry: “I made a decision last night that I would die for it,” says Drake. I’m not quite sure what “it” is. Toronto? I don’t think anybody is asking him to die for Toronto, or for anything, really.
Micah: At first I thought I could get into this song. It feels like familiar Drake, but the more I listened to it the less I liked the instrumentation and the more hollow the song felt to me. The drum work, especially the hi-hats, is unbearably generic and the rapping is mediocre, but what I’d really like to know is what is the significance of turning the 6 into a 9? The title of the track leads me to believe this is significant, but I’m at a loss. I don’t get it and I don’t think it’s clever. Pass.
3. U with Me?
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Kanye West, DJ Dahi, Ricci Riera, Vinylz, OZ & Exfolie
Henry: This is the first track I could say I like on the album. The vocals really seem to match the beat, and Drake seems genuine, though as usual, the relationship he describes sounds really shallow and unhealthy.
Micah: This is a bit more like it. A DMX sample and Kanye and Dahi on production? Sounds promising. Drake is apparently too busy making music and getting drunk and stoned with his friends to have a real relationship, while his love interest thinks a real relationship is cooking naked and surprise “are you here?” booty calls.
I can respect the hustle to make great music instead of settling down and building a relationship, but how hard is Drake really trying with his music when he’s got lines like “LOLOL, I’m glad you find this shit amusing” and “You toyin’ with it like Happy Meal”. I mean, I love when he says “A lot of niggas cut the check so they can take this flow”. It’s the best part of the song and it reminds me of the drop on “Know Yourself”, but overall this song falls short for me. It had potential and had a couple moments but it’s not his best work. Unfortunately, this seems to be the theme of the album.
4. Feel No Ways
Produced by Jordan Ullman
Henry: Another one where the autotune seems obvious and unnecessary. I like this beat though.
Micah: This beat is banging. I’ll bet Frank Ocean would kill this. The drums are strangely compressed and it makes it feel really claustrophobic, which I think makes a great canvas for Drake to work with, and I think he does a good job putting the song together. The chorus reads like another verse, but Drake’s melodic structure and vocal inflections go really well with the music behind him. This is the first track on the album I can really get down with.
Produced by Boi-1da, Nineteen85, The Beat Bully & Cubeatz
Henry: Double time triplets run the trap game these days. Drake fills up the bars, but he should drink six more bottles of lean before going in on this, he sounds too coherent for this kinda beat.
Micah: Oh boy here comes a banger. The beat is fantastic, but the song doesn’t work for me. Structurally it reminds me of “Back to Back”. Drake dropping bars over a menacing beat with trap drums, but I’m not getting nearly as many quotables. Aside from the Michael Jackson line, the braggadocio in the verses falls short making this song very forgettable for me.
6. Weston Road Flows
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib
Henry: My favorite track on the album. Love the beat and Drake delivers with a classic reminiscent verse. Not the first time he’s made this song, but I’ll take anything I can get at this point.
Micah: I love the soulful production coming from 40 on this song. The bass end is washed out, while Drake’s voice has room to flex in the treble. I love the soul sample and I can get into the stream-of-consciousness structure of the song. No hook, no chorus, just Drake sing-rapping about his come up. The lines aren’t particularly strong on their own, but the song has a great vibe that makes me feel a strange combination of relaxed and inspired. This song is a keeper.
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Di Genius & Jordan McClure
Micah: This song is whiny. I don’t like it. Might be my least favorite on the album.
Henry: How many songs can Drake make about how alternately needy and controlling he is, to the point that it ruins his relationships? It seems like every other song on this album is a different iteration of this same thing.
8. With You (featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR)
Produced by Murda
Micah: I don’t know why, but I really like this song. It’s probably my favorite on the album after listening to it for a few days. It’s just so catchy and the tropical vibe really works for me. I just get really excited when it comes on. PARTYNEXTDOOR is proving to be my favorite songwriter on OVO. Hearing reference tracks for “Legend” and “Work” makes me more excited for his next project than Drake’s.
The hook on this song is incredibly catchy and goes really well with the hazy banger from Murda. Drake even has a nice moment when he brings up the energy when he switches his delivery on the “Mixing vodka and emotions, tapping into your emotions”. This would be a great late night beach party song.
Henry: This sounds like it should be in a commercial for Sandals resorts or some shit. Can’t really say I’ll come back to this one on my own, though I’m sure I’ll hear it playing this summer.
9. Faithful (featuring Pimp C & dvsn)
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Boi-1da & Nineteen85
Henry: Does this count as a feature? I don’t think so. Also, in his verse, Pimp C says “I don’t fuck with nobody in this shit but Bun.” Who OK’ed Drake to use this verse? I imagine he put this here to get some recognition from the heads, to show he’s down with UGK, but the use of this verse feels downright disrespectful, like he’s violating Pimp C’s last will and testament. I’m actually mad about this. I’m just going to try and forget it ever happened.
Micah: This song would be better for me if Pimp C had rapped the whole song, or was removed from the song completely. After his truncated verse can’t help to wonder why Drake would include Pimp C when his own performance isn’t nearly as good. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with the song, but it seems very safe and unremarkable. To justify a twenty song tracklist, every track needs to add to the project as a whole, or stand on its own and this song does neither.
10. Still Here
Produced by Daxz & Noah “40” Shebib
Henry: Not a big fan of the canned-electronic feel this beat has, the hi-hats and synths seem like they were made with some stock Garage band samples, and Drake’s singing doesn’t help.
Micah: Yeah what’s up with that corny bass in the intro? The production is some of the worst on the album and Drake’s melodies are some of his worst yet. His rapping isn’t anything new or interesting. He’s made a lot of songs like this before and usually comes up with something much better.
Produced by Boi-1da, Supa Dups & Allen Ritter
Henry: Rhythmically, this song is a nice change of pace. Drizzy shoulda got the Sean Paul feature on this. I like the little reggae breakdown around 2:02.
Micah: I do like me some of the new tropical flavored Drake. This song is a breath of fresh air after a couple rough tracks, but still feels like filler on the album. It seems Drake is trying to make as many of these island-influenced songs to dominate the new sound that helped Justin Bieber and Rihanna reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The new sound works well for Drake, but I don’t think this is his best effort at it.
12. One Dance (featuring Wizkid & Kyla)
Produced by Nineteen85, Noah “40” Shebib, Wizkid & Logan Sama
Henry: An interesting continuation of the reggaeton feel, this is almost a continuation of Controlla, another track that’s ripe for a host of dirty dance club remixes.
Micah: Look, more tropical Drake! This one I don’t think is quite as good as Controlla, but I’m sure I’ll be hearing this everywhere this summer.
13. Grammys (featuring Future)
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Southside, Cardo & Yung Exclusive
Henry: Drake really made us wait for the Future feature, but I’m glad it came around. “They gon’ think I won a grammy!” This song is an exercise in positive visualization and self-actualization through lyrical assertions in pop music. I could write a thesis on it, but I won’t.
Micah: This seems like a spiritual relative to Jumpman, but not done as well. I don’t think the flow works for Drake in the first verse, but I enjoy when Future does it. Future has a lot more subtlety in this voice that sometimes sounds like mumbling and sometimes sounds smooth as hell. It works here. If this was just a Future song I think it would have made rotation for me
14. Child’s Play
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib, Nineteen85, Jordan Ullman & Metro Boomin
Henry: “Why you gotta fight with me at cheesecake?” This song is just sad and fucked up to me, listening to Drake rap once more about how awful his relationships tend to be and how he treats the girls he’s with like they’re children because of the financial power dynamic where he’s Drake and they’re just lowly Drake groupies. This is one of those songs that makes Drake hard to like for me. I don’t mind him approaching the admittedly very real topic of his celebrity affecting his relationships, but he does it here in a really one-dimensional way that makes him look like a whiny, manipulative skeezeball.
Micah: I would not be surprised if someone told me that Kanye wrote that opening line. After that, this song really does nothing for me. It’s just kind of basic and I’m not really trying to hear “She rode that dick like a soldier” over and over.
15. Pop Style
Produced by Sevn Thomas, Frank Dukes, Noah “40” Shebib, Allen Ritter & Boi-1da
Henry: Drake’s brand of braggadocio is kinda bizarre. He rides a strange line between unconvincing tough guy and self-conscious pop culture comedian. I much prefer him as the latter, since he seems much more earnest and ultimately likable under that guise. This song is a perfect case study of him vacillating between the two personas, without ever quite settling on one.
Micah: I don’t know why but the beat on this song bothers me. The drums are distorted, but I don’t think it adds to the music at all. It’s like a bad outtake from Life of Pablo, maybe an early version of “Freestyle 4” or “Fade.” Either way I can’t get into this song at all.
16. Too Good (featuring Rihanna)
Produced by Nineteen85 & Supa Dups
Micah: I hate to admit, but this song is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. The chorus is catchy and the back and forth between Drake and Rihanna is great. Even though I can tell this song is Work part two, I plan on enjoying it as much as I can before it’s all over top 40.
Henry: This is the best iteration of Drake’s relationship song. Still not my favorite, but Rihanna adds an extra dimension to make this one a bit more interesting.
17. Summers Over Interlude
Produced by Maneesh Bidaye
Micah: This interlude is dreamy, guitar-driven, and inoffensive. The singing is nice. It’s a nice break from the excessively long album.
Henry: Agreed, although the fact that we need a break is not promising.
18. Fire & Desire
Produced by Noah “40” Shebib
Micah: I liked this song the first time I heard it, but after a few listens it’s lost its appeal.. The chipmunk vocals are cool, but as a whole the song seems hollow. I need Drake to be inspired and excited, and I’m not getting either from him. Maybe I’ll learn to like this song again, but for now I’m not feeling it.
Henry: Yeah, I don’t find Drake’s singing compelling enough to do a whole song like this. He can do hooks, but his slow jams like this always fall flat for me.
Produced by Maneesh Bidaye
Henry: One of my favorite beats on the album, and I don’t dislike the raps, but it seems re-hashed. Drake has two basic song templates, the broken relationship one, and this one about how he dropped out of school and came up and now he’s on top. I might be more stoked on this one if the album was twelve tracks long, but at this point I’m over it.
Micah: I could take or leave this song, which doesn’t bode well for a song that is both the closing and title track. Instead of reflecting on his city and how it shaped him, which is what I expected Views (once titled Views from the Six) to be about, instead it’s an incoherent sequence of unrelated snippets of Drake’s life. Maybe he’s trying to paint a scene with no narrative, but I’m not seeing the significance of the connections between his bars, and that’s kind of the problem I have with this album as a whole. Sure, individually the lines and songs are generally good enough and it certainly gives a vibe, but at the end I’m asking myself, “So what?”
20. Hotline Bling
Produced by Nineteen85
Micah: This song should have not made the album, even as a bonus track. I get that it’s a huge hit and twenty is a nice even number for a tracklist, but this song had its moment and now it’s over. Should have left it as a single. Pass.
Henry: I agree. This song is case in point that Drake makes better memes than he does music, and putting it at the end here is a straight up slap in the face. This album should have been half as long, and the last thing I want to hear after an hour and twenty minutes of aggressively mediocre Drake is an old Drake song that’s already been played to death. Still, this song produced some great vines, so I can’t be that mad. I’m sorry Drake. We still love you.