Why Is Drake’s ‘Views’ Nominated for an Album Of The Year Grammy?
Despite the fact that he spent 2015 dropping back-to-back mixtapes -- If You're Reading This It's Too Late and What a Time to Be Alive -- Drake only kept his momentum going in 2016 by dropping his fourth full-length album, Views, last April.
Between "Hotline Bling," which took over just about over media form, to his collaboration with Rihanna ("Too Good"), the Canadian rapper proved exactly what will get you noticed by The Recording Academy, which honored him with eight Grammy nominations this year, including Best Rap Album and Album of the Year.
Though he might not make an appearance at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night (Feb. 12), we wanted to find out how Views was a cut above the rest. We took a look at this record, and the other four nominees — Adele, Sturgill Simpson, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé — to break down all the reasons why they got the nod.
ABOUT THE ALBUM: Drake never seems to stop workingL he already dropped two mixtapes in 2015, one of which was a collaboration with Future. Back in 2014, he already revealed he had a name for the album, calling it Views From the 6. (It was later shortened to Views.) To promote the LP, he released "Summer Sixteen" on his Apple Music show OVO Sound Radio in January of 2016, which ended up not being part of the final album. Drake, along with longtime collaborator 40, served as executive producers on Views. He also worked with Nineteen85, Maneesh Bidaye, Kanye West and Jordan Ullman. On the vocal end, there were a number of artists including PARTYNEXTDOOR, Future and Rihanna. Views was eventually released on April 29, 2016.
SINGLES: Views released five singles -- "Hotline Bling," "One Dance," "Pop Style," "Controlla" and "Too Good." Although "Hotline Bling" was included on the record as a bonus track, it had its own laurels. The song peaked at the number two spot on the Billboard 100 chart, and also garnered two 2017 Grammy nods -- Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance. It also took over the various facets of pop culture in a big way— more on that below.
"One Dance," which dropped shortly before Views, was an instant hit. Not only did it become Drake's most successful single on the Billboard 100 chart, but it also became the most streamed song ever, and the first song to reach a billion streams on Spotify.
"Pop Style" and "Controlla" were the two more hip-hop sounding singles he dropped from Views."Controlla" brought in the production styles of Supa Dups and Allen Ritter. It also included a sample of Beenie Man's "Tear Off Mii Garment." Finally, there's "Too Good." After people went crazy over his work with RiRi on "Work," it only seemed right for Drake to drop "Too Good," Rihanna's collaboration with him. What made the track more interesting was the fact that the lyrics seemed to fuel their dating rumor fire.
CRITICAL PRAISE: Jon Caramanica of The New York Times referred to Drake as "hip-hop’s great syncretic hope." Views shows how Drake’s original sound has become a genre unto itself — not just as a template for others but also for Drake himself," Caramancia wrote.
The Guardian's Alexis Petridis wrote, "Views isn’t a perfect album--some judicious pruning of the less impactful tracks would make it more easily digestible, and there are certainly moments when you start to wish Drake would cast his gaze a little further afield than his own navel--but nothing about it suggests that position is anything other than unassailable for the foreseeable future."
The A.V. Club's Evan Rytlewski pointed out that Drake improved on what he's done in the past. "...Views arrives with real expectations," Rytlewski wrote. "Taken on its own, it’s another sumptuously produced, artfully crafted statement from one of the few rap stars with a truly individualistic aesthetic. It’s also too long and stubbornly low energy, nowhere near the knockout Drake’s been building it up to be since practically before he began recording it. Even more so than 2013’s Nothing Was The Same, an otherwise fantastic effort that hugged its predecessors’ template a little too tightly, Views can’t escape the sense that Drake’s done this before and done it better."
Scott Glaysher puts what we always enjoyed about Drake on this record. "The album highlights everything we have come to love about Drake but in too much excess," the XXL writer said. "Clocking in at just under an hour-and-a-half and spread across 20 different songs, Views renders itself too long."
CULTURAL IMPACT: While "Hotline Bling" became a bonus track, it's impact on pop culture was enormous. From the disco box he danced in for the video to the T-Mobile TV spot, the track put Champagne Papi on another cultural level including a invite to perform at a bat mitzvah and a hilarious parody on Saturday Night Live, poking fun at Drake's choreography.
THE ARTIST SAYS: Drake sat down with Zane Lowe during his show Beats 1 to talk about the record. He explained that he needed to be able to listen to his music to feel good about putting it out. "Do I want to listen to myself or other songs that I’m into?," he said during the interview. "If I didn’t wanna listen to myself, that’s a problem there.”
He also pointed out the record was a bit of an homage to his Toronto hometown: "We really love our summers but we really make our winters work," he also said. "I thought it was very important to do the album here."
He also told Jimmy Fallon in his best dad voice that while his mom loves the record, his father has yet to hear it. "He goes, 'Yeah, yeah man," Drake said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. "'I love it, man. I love it.' I was like, 'What's your favorite song?' He was like, 'Drake, I'm going to be honest with you man. My service is not too good out here.'"
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