drake's 'views' is finally here featuring rihanna, future, and dvsn

"I was listening to Stevie Wonder and Alabama Shakes," Drizzy said about the inspiration for his most vocal album yet.

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Apr 29 2016, 6:15am

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"Family ting," Drake captioned an Instagram tonight of the producers who'd contributed beats to his highly anticipated new album Views. The photo was of the Views tracklist (posted earlier this week sans-production credits), which revealed an ever-expanding team of Drake collaborators including 40, Maneesh, nineteen85, and Wiz Kid. Alongside the producers, he gave Instagram shout-outs to Views guests Popcaan, Rihanna, PartyNextDoor, Future, and the late Pimp C. In an interview with Zane Lowe that started streaming as fans were around three tracks deep into the new album, Drake's mom was cited as one of his greatest influences. Even Twitter gave off a familial (if not slightly irritated) vibe as it awaited Views, which finally dropped slightly just over an hour after its due time. 

The perfectly titled intro track "Keep the Family Close" will put listeners in their feelings before the album even hits the one minute mark. It also sets the tone for a project that Drake claims is his most vocal-focused yet. "I was listening to Stevie Wonder and Alabama Shakes," he told Lowe when revealing the influences behind the album's vocal lean. The framework, however, is straight-up Toronto. Views takes listeners on a sonic journey that matches the cycle of the city's seasons, segueing from the sparse intro into "9" (warmed up with a sample of Mavado's reggae classic "Dying"), to the Kanye-produced "U With Me?", to the classic Drake slow jam "Feel No Ways." Drizzy said on Beats 1, "I think this album is the most blatant display of me being proud of where I'm from." 

Drake's casual brilliance when it comes to radio-ready hits comes through on tracks like "Hype" and "Weston Road Flows." There's some low-key magic in the form of "Faithful," which features both the mysterious dvsn and the late Pimp C. But it's not all smooth sailing — more than a little heat has escaped from the album's belly with the unexplained absence of Popcaan's verse on the previously released single "Controlla." Weirdly, the Jamaican dancehall artist was the first collaborator Drake had given an Instagram hat-tip to earlier in the evening. A sample of his "Luv Ya Bad" does appear on Drake's "Too Good," though the main star on that one is obviously Rihanna. "It wouldn't be a record without Rihanna," Drake said of the woman he's gone multi-platinum with three times in the past. "Child's Play" also sees the rapper give shout-outs to both New Orleans bounce music and The Cheesecake Factory. Cue the memes. 

Some of the most exciting revelations that came via Views weren't even part of the album. In his Beats 1 interview, Drake claimed he'll have more music out before the summer, including a possible mixtape with Kanye West. "We were supposed to do a mixtape or an album together. So maybe we'll get that done," he said of his rap game BFF. He also said he's looking forward to get back into acting, telling Lowe, "I got something nice coming up in May." 

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Text Hannah Ongley