Drake announced his fourth solo album (originally titled Views from the 6, but shortened simply to Views this past week). Not that it’s been radio silence ever since: The Toronto rapper had his biggest year yet in 2015, thanks in part to a surprise mixtape (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late), joint Future album (What a Time to Be Alive) and meme-able megahit (Hotline Bling).
Coming off last year’s victory lap, you’re probably wondering how Views stacks up to Drake’s recent output. For one, it’s a much more chilled-out effort than expected, hewing closer to 2011’s sensitive Take Care than the chest-thumping bombast of buzz singleSummer Sixteen (surprisingly not included here, despite naming his tour for it). Clocking in at 20 songs and nearly an hour and a half, Views is equal parts intriguing and lethargic — overstuffed and at times repetitive, but elevated by mesmerizing production and some ofDrizzy’s strongest vocals to date.
Here are six must-hear tracks that caught our attention:
U With Me?
Sure, we’re disappointed that Kanye West’s bars were cut from Pop Style, but he still shares producing credits with 40 on this twitchy DMX-sampling ballad. Grilling his lover about their relationship status, Drake effortlessly soars into his upper register on the lurid third verse, in which he ruefully recounts their assignations.
With You (feat. PartyNextDoor)
The first (and arguably best) guest spot on Views belongs to Drake’s OVO signee PartyNextDoor, whose smooth vocals meld perfectly with the rapper’s husky croon here. But it’s the understated and entirely hypnotic production by Murda Beatz that makes the song, which is unfortunately one of the shortest on the album.
Faithful (feat. Pimp C & dvsn)
Up until this point, Drake has spent most of Views writing off fake friends and twisting the knife further into his broken heart. Which is precisely what makes this pulsing bedroom jam such a refreshing change of pace, made that much better by some of his cleverest double entendres yet.
Pop music has been struck with a case of island fever, as evidenced by the dancehall influences washing over recent songs from Justin Bieber, Beyoncé and now Drake. Although Popcaan’s verses have been scrapped for the album, this laidback love declaration still sizzles with a sample of Beenie Man’s Tear Off Mi Garment.
This is Drake storytelling of the highest caliber, as he winningly details a couple’s argument going down at the mall. Guaranteed, this breezy number contains the best Cheesecake Factory reference you’ll hear in a rap song all year. (We love to go there, too, Drizzy.)
Too Good (feat. Rihanna)
Song-of-summer prognosticators, take note. The superstar duo delivers yet another stellar collaboration on this tropical-flavored duet: a low-key but just-as-steamy sequel to springtime smash Work, and the pair’s fourth musical outing. Seriously, you two, just give us a joint album already.