As much as it signals the next era in the musical life of Drake, Views is undoubtedly a love letter to Toronto and all of its people. Drake has never shied away from repping his hometown – he shouts it out in songs, holds his annual OVO Fest in the city, and recently invested in the Toronto Raptors basketball team. Toronto has taken notice of his civicism (to borrow the term from HuffPost) and gave Drake a key to the city in early February. I guess we can say that Toronto served as the muse for Drake’s latest effort, with Drake’s cover art featuring him sitting atop the city’s iconic CN Tower and all of the press being focused on spreading the Toronto love.
If there’s anything to know about the city, its to know just how crazy diverse its population is. Known as one of the most diverse cities in the world, Toronto has people coming from all over the globe participating in and molding the culture. Views reflects this – Drake infuses sounds from different countries and different cultures showing off not only his musical fluency but also his hometown’s multiculturalism. With just one listen under my belt, I'm positive I haven't touched on every different sound on Views but... here are some of the international sounds I heard on Drake’s latest release.
Views from West Africa
Though it uses a sample of Kyla’s funky house track “Do You Mind,” “One Dance” has an undeniable Afrobeats sound. From Drake’s accented words to the wine inducing, clipped keys and syncopated rhythms -- the main thread of “One Dance” pulls straight from Nigeria and Ghana. To make this inspiration even more obvious we have Afrobeats star Wizkid credited on the track placing us right in the middle of West Africa.
Views from the Caribbean
It’s no secret that Toronto’s West Indian population is huge and incredibly influential on the city and its inhabitants. Toronto’s Caribana is a massive event that brings together the multiple islands in the form of parades, amazing costumes, bright colors, and endless music. His recent feature on Rihanna’s “Work” gave us a peek into what Drake had in store with his own dancehall-inflected “Controlla” that benefits from the legendary presence of the King of the Dancehall, Beenie Man, in the song's outro. Like “Work,” “Controlla” is sparse relying mostly on a quiet drum beat to move the song along. Another wine-ready track, Drake borrows heavily from the African diaspora, placing himself as one of the leaders of the international scene.
Views from the South
Drake lands in the good ole USA with songs like “Popstyle” and Future-assisted "Grammys". The slow and syrupy instrumental of "Popstyle" reminds me of Houston, while "Grammys" 808 kicks feels like it was created with Atlanta in mind.
We're really feeling this album Mr. Graham! We're going to keep listening to see what other views arise. In the meantime, let us know what regions you were represented on Views!