Today (April 29th) we finally get our hands on one of the most highly anticipated hip-hop albums this year.
It truly feels like we have been waiting forever for Drake’s fourth studio album, 'Views...'. Drake has not tucked himself away to a solitary studio to solely concentrate on this album since he announced his release plans.
The rapper has been involved in a multitude of projects whilst touring, releasing merchandise and short films. Since the album announcement, the demand for the album has been met alongside the mounds of music Drizzy has drip-fed us. Strategic it may be, the Toronto native has steadily kept the hype alive for 'Views...' since July 2014.
To fully appreciate the new album, we journey through the musical timeline showing how Drake has kept us guessing and well fed in the run up.
July 2014 – The announcement
On July 15th, 2014, Drake tweeted 'Views From the 6' leaving his fans in hysteria of a new album being on its way. According to Billboard, though, Drizzy had not even begun recording the LP at this point. His track, '0 to 100/The Catch-Up' also referenced a 2015 release:
“Listen up, boy, you're better off eavesdroppin'/We already got spring 2015 poppin'/PND droppin'/Reps-up P droppin'/Majid Jordan droppin', OB droppin'/ not to mention me droppin'”
The countdown had officially begun.
October 2014 – Drake’s birthday gift
After spending the summer on the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour, the rapper dropped a few new tracks with a cryptic tweet the day after his birthday. He tweeted, “You should probably keep an eye on that http://ovosound.com in the next hour...just saying...” Within the hour, he has posted three brand new songs, '6 God', 'Heat Of The Moment' and 'How Bout Now'.
February 2015 – I'f You’re Reading This It’s Too Late'
As the spring of 2015 approached, Drake’s fans were no doubt in full anticipation of 'Views...'. So when Drizzy dropped 'If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late', the release was unexpected but received well. Priced similarly to an LP, the rapper then clarified on Twitter that this wasn’t an album when he asked, “How’s my mixtape?” Waiting on 'Views...', ' If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late' dropped smacking us all in the face with a surprise.
July 2015 – Speculation prevails
By the summer of 2015, a release date for 'Views...' was nowhere to be seen. Spring passed and the lack of any indication of the album dropping simply just kept the hip-hop scene wondering. Speculation surrounding dates would increase when “September 24” mysteriously appeared and disappeared from Drake’s OVOSOUND website.
According to the Latin Post, details about the album had surfaced in April from writer Ernest Baker’s Four Pins profile who stated that only two songs had been recorded. However the rapper appeared to be far from lacking new tracks releasing 'Hotline Bling', 'Charged Up', 'Back To Back' and 'Right Hand' in late July. 'Hotline Bling' would go onto dominate playlists and the radio.
September 2015 – 'What A Time To Be Alive'
On September 19th, 2015 Drake announced on Instagram that 'What A Time To Be Alive', the new mixtape from the rapper and Future, would be available on iTunes the next day. With the amount of music Drizzy was delivering, the rapper maintained his place at the forefront of hip-hop. His beef with Meek Mill also aided this, coming out on top.
October 2015 – 'Hotline Bling'
You can only wonder whether Drake ever dreamed 'Hotline Bling' would be as huge as it became. With its mass popularity, the rapper decided to make one of the most memed music videos in history that had us talking for months. 'Views...' on the horizon, Drizzy fans rode the wave with visuals that broke the internet and a track that is still on repeat.
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January 2016 - 'Summer Sixteen'
The mystery surrounding 'Views...' started to become clearer coming into 2016. The promotional track for the album, 'Summer Sixteen' showed Drizzy’s intent to dominate our summer (much like his tracks had done in 2015). Drake announced the album would be released in April on Episode 14 of the OVO Sound Radio, but with no specific date.
February 2016 – Billboards
The creative marketing wheel came into full motion for 'Views...' as billboards popped up in none other than Drake’s hometown of Toronto.
April 2016 – 'Views...' on deck
Drake’s team inevitably turned the ante up for 'Views...' in April. The past few months have been dominated by some big releases, but the anticipation for this release has been astounding.
On April 5th, the rapper released two new tracks to whet our appetites for the album with 'One Dance' and 'Pop Song' featuring Jay Z and Kanye West. A day later, what was mistakenly thought to be the artwork for 'Views...' was seen projected onto the Royal Opera House in London.
Finally, on April 10th the official release date for 'Views...' was set as April 29th, and would be limited to Apple Music in it’s first week. With 'Views...' finally here, the question is, was it worth the wait? Drake’s album has had us holding our breaths with every move he has made. In an age where we are so used to rapid turnarounds with albums, the marketing for this record has been planned well to keep us waiting for this album, planted with surprises in between.
The run up to 'Views...' has been hectic but it just proves that Drake is no doubt one of the hardest working rappers of our time.
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Words: Nikita Rathod