The Latest (4/28): Drake's Views album is now available to stream on Apple Music and purchase on iTunes. Check out our track-by-track Views review, the 36 best lyrics, and the internet's first impressions/jokes/memes. Update (5/13): Views is now on Spotify:
July 2014: Ten months after the release of Drake's third album, Nothing Was the Same, the title Views From the 6 is revealed without any additional information. Speculation has "the 6" representing Toronto, Drake's hometown.
My album title is VIEWS FROM THE 6. The 6 is Toronto. Rih is a great girl who I know is about to kill this tour with Eminem. It's all love!!— Drizzy (@Drake) August 6, 2014
February 2015: In the wee hours of Feb. 13, Drake surprise-drops the 17-track mixtape-as-commercial-album If You're Reading This It's Too Late. It's the six-year anniversary of his breakout mixtape, So Far Gone, and the nine-year anniversary of his debut tape, Room for Improvement.
April 2015: The same month Drake headlines Coachella, an all-access profile on the site Four Pins sees writer Ernest Baker asking The Boy if he thinks his fourth album needs to advance the hip-hop game as hard as Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak did in '08; Drake concedes that it's a yes. Also:
"He only has two songs finished that he likes. One is a collaboration with Beyoncé that he recorded a while ago. The other is a song that he expects to inspire a paradigm shift. His days of releasing lay-up bangers that everyone loves right away are over. For now."
May 2015: An unfinished version of the Beyoncé collabo, "Can I," leaks. (It will reappear—and re-disappear—in October.) So do two other context-less songs, "Go Out Tonight" and the Tinashe-featuring "On a Wave." (Listen to each in the MUSIC section below.)
July 2015: Responding to ghostwriting allegations, Drake releases two Meek Mill diss tracks, "Charged Up" and "Back to Back." In the same breath, he drops "Hotline Bling" and "Right Hand." (Listen to them all in the MUSIC section below.)
September 2015: Drake and Future—tied for the Biggest Rapper of 2015 spot spot with Drizzy and Kendrick—surprise-release an 11-song collaborative mixtape, What a Time to Be Alive. It features "Jumpman" and a solo closer from Aub, "30 for 30 Freestyle."
A Fader cover story has lots to offer about Views, which Drake reps say is due "imminently" and which the author says has absorbed the rapper's attention for "most of the year." “If I want to make the album I want to make, I have to go find [longtime in-house producer Noah '40' Shebib]," Drake says. "I have to go sit with him, and we have to really put in effort.” He says they're working together more closely than they have since November 2011's masterful Take Care.
He also downplays If You're Reading This as a semi-tossed-off affair, not album-quality:
“By the standard I hold myself and 40 to, it’s a bit broken. There’s corners cut, in the sense of fluidity and song transition, and just things that we spend weeks and months on that make our albums what they are. ... It was the set up to be able to return to working solely with 40, which is where I’m at now. I just wanted to be able to come back to that and have it be important.”
As for Views' Toronto focus, Drake says in the same Fader story, “I’ve just become really adamant about leaving fragments in everything I do that belong strictly to my city. The world will pick up on it.” He also says he's spent much of the writing process judging whether listeners would play it in the car.
Watch an episode of Fuse.tv's The Drake Effect miniseries, this one detailing how Drizzy changed hip-hop and R&B radio culture:
As for the project's Toronto focus, Drake says in the same Fader story, “I’ve just become really adamant about leaving fragments in everything I do that belong strictly to my city. The world will pick up on it.” He also says he's spent much of the writing process judging whether listeners would play it in the car.
October 2015: After its dance-y video drops, "Hotline Bling" hits No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, tying Drake's previous record, set by "Best I Ever Had" in 2009. As it looks locked in to hit No. 1 (Adele will end up throwing up a roadblock with "Hello"), Drake writes on Instagram:
"I spend my life trying to make waves for the city I am from. No accolades really matter to me other than the fact that I have never had a billboard number one. If I get my first number one during the month of October it will be the biggest moment of my career to date (in my mind) and if you are looking for me on that particular evening I will be passed out in the water slide that connects to our pool. I love you and thank you for these memories. I always love the moment right before it happens more than when it actually happens. So thank you...even if it doesn't."
An interview with W magazine also reveals some of Drizzy's approach to Views—and to the pressure of such a long-awaited new album:
"Actually, I love pressure! I’m always thinking, How do I top what I’ve done? How do I make this thing stronger? I ask myself, 'Why does Adele’s album go diamond, and how do I do that? How do I create art that makes minds stretch further?' I want to give many, many people many, many moments before I’m gone. That’s truly the art of what I do. It’s the only goal."
November 2015: Drake shares a Vine, captioned "Views," showing his studio's plush rug set to the sound of a smooth new jam:
Adele tells Canada's etalk, "I really want us to do an official remix [of 'Hotline Bling']." Also, this billboard appears in Toronto:
December 2015: Drake shares another Vine, this time apparently filmed from his bed, captioned "Views" again. Like the last one, it's silky. Come January 2015, the bars will appear on Rihanna's lead ANTI single, "Work."
January 2016: On New Year's Day, Drake posts a clip of himself playing a show and telling the crowd, "Views from the 6 coming very soon." On Jan. 30 he drops "Summer Sixteen" on his OVO Sound Radio show on Beats 1, declaring he'll be "looking for revenge all summer '16." He also says Views from the 6 is coming in April.
"We're getting very, very close. The time will come, I think, when Drake's ready to pull the trigger. For us it's just a balance of finding that space to make such a project that's based around our city and then also coming out here to the West Coast to escape some of the harsh winter and find a good creative space. It has to be a balance of like both those locations, for what it's supposed to be, for the type of album we're making."
March 4, 2016: Four straight posts on Drake's Instagram get captioned "Home Stretch," leading us to believe we're getting close. One pic, below, shows producer Noah "40" Shebib all stocked up on sleeping supplies. Are they locking themselves in the studio till it's done?
So yeah, Views from the 6 is less than six weeks away—and possibly as close as two weeks. Reminders; Drake's got 'em if you need 'em.
March 19: In a 6ix-song surprise set at SXSW, Drizzy performs "Summer Sixteen," indicating he's still into the single, despite it having fizzled out quickly after its Jan. 20 release, and that it may appear on Views.
March 21: Drizzy appears on PartyNextDoor's new single "Come and See Me," produced by 40.
March 30: Two new Drake tracks leak. "Controlla" features popular Jamaican artist Popcaan, while "These Days"—which reworks Nico's song of the same name—is quickly revealed to be a Babeo Baggins tune with some heavy lifting from Drizzy.
April 5: Two new official songs drop, with Drake captioning the tweets #VIEWS. "Pop Style" features both Jay Z and Kanye West—billed as The Throne for the first time in a significant period of time—and "One Dance" has Wizkid and Kyla. They premiere on Apple Music and iTunes; "Pop Style" hits Tidal shortly after.
April 9: Drake announces an April 29 release date with the following poetic video:
April 24: Drake reveals the Views from the 6 album cover on Twitter, accompanied with a sweet message:
It's the perfect combo of the Take Care art and the Nothing Was the Same art, right? Photography credit goes to Caitlin Cronenberg, while art direction was provided by Nicky Orenstein (per Billboard).
April 27: Drake shares the tracklist; scroll down for that. "Hotline Bling" made the cut, as did "One Dance" and the Jay Z/Kanye West–featuring "Pop Style." It looks like it might just be called Views now.
April 28: Drake posts one last teaser before the night's Views premiere on Apple Music/Beats 1's OVO Sound Radio (and yes, it's really just called Views now; RIP Views from the 6):
1. “Keep the Family Close”
3. “U With Me?”
4. “Feel No Ways”
6. “Weston Road Flows”
8. “With You” feat. PartyNextDoor
9. “Faithful” feat. Pimp C & dvsn
10. “Still Here”
11. “Controlla” feat. Popcaan
12. “One Dance” feat. Wizkid & Kyla
13. “Grammys” feat. Future
14. “Childs Play”
15. “Pop Style”
16. “Too Good” feat. Rihanna
17. “Summers Over Interlude”
18. “Fire & Desire”
20. “Hotline Bling” (bonus track)
Noah "40" Shebib and Boi-1da: Drake's longtime go-to producers handled a ton of Views. (40 did 10 of the 20 tracks.)
Kanye West: The man got pulled from the final version of "Pop Style," but he did co-produce "U With Me?"
Wizkid: The 25-year-old Nigerian artist released his first project at age 11. He shows up on "One Dance."
Kyla: The singer's 2008 track "Do You Mind" is a big part of "One Dance." "We signed papers and I still didn’t believe it," she told NME. "I had a feeling someone was gonna say to me ‘April Fools’."
(Listen to the entire album at the top of this post!)
"Pop Style" feat. The Throne (Jay Z and Kanye West)
Four and a half years after Watch the Throne, Jay and 'Ye resurrected their super-duo name—despite Jay Z appearing for all of six seconds.
"One Dance" feat. Wizkid and Kyla
The peppy, piano-built jam is produced by 40 and Nineteen85.
The "Hold On, We're Going Home" of Views.
THE MUSIC THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT
The menacing track was released Jan. 30, 2016 on Apple Music as a promo single.
"Back to Back"
Born as a Meek Mill diss, the track became a GRAMMY-nominated 2015 anthem.
"Can I" feat. Beyoncé
The unfinished May 2015 leak is the main surviving streamable version:
The least notable of Drake's summer 2015 tracks, but it's a good one.
"Go Out Tonight"
This one leaked over 2015's extremely hip-hop–busy Memorial Day Weekend. No context, and it sounds a little older, but it's gorgeous.
"On a Wave" feat. Tinashe
Like "Go Out Tonight," this one showed up over Memorial Day Weekend 2015. Unlike "Go Out Tonight," this one got real-world support when Tinashe performed it live on tour with Nicki Minaj.
The first of July 2015's two Meek Mill disses got 18 million Soundcloud streams compared to the 117 million clocked by "Back to Back."
"0-100 / The Catch Up"
The summer 2014 smash existed all on its own, not building up to anything and not pretending to, although it ended up getting nominated for two GRAMMYs. It was good enough to imagine a reprisal on Views.
Views hit Apple Music and iTunes late Thursday, April 28. It'll reportedly exist there as an exclusive for one week.
For more of Fuse's Complete Guides, try:
Watch another episode of The Drake Effect, this one featuring Kendrick Lamar talking about the power of the Drizzy cosign: