Album release dates are outdated. In today’s lightning-paced music industry, you haven’t made it until you drop a project out of the blue and get listens — or, in Beyonce’s case, an HBO special.
Announced nearly two years ago, Drake has positioned Views from the 6 as the climax of his career. Cryptic billboards have been posted around Toronto. Countless social media posts have been given the #Views hashtag. He has even kept the cover art and track list shared separate, squeezing more events into the release timeline. Over a week before release, “Views” pop-up shops are appearing from New York to Miami without warning, drawing massive crowds before rush hour.
Drizzy has released two projects since announcing Views, both of which he has said were not the project everyone has been waiting for. If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was not “by the standard I hold myself and 40 to,” he told Fader.
By comparison, Take Care, considered by many to be Drake’s most complete work, was promoted and released within a seven-month span. Nothing Was the Same was announced just over three months prior to its release, while IYRTITL was released to the e-streets unannounced. His mixtape with Future, What a Time to Be Alive, was announced a day before it was available for download.
Each one of his projects sold well by any standard and found a way to dominate radio as Drake always does. Yet, Views is getting considerably more publicity than any of his previous genre-transcendent records. There’s no doubt that this promotion will show up on the sales charts: in the Internet age where the music megastar is succumbing to the power of endless selection within streaming services, we may never see another hip-hop release as big as Views — including another Drake release.
Perhaps Views does live up to the hype as the unquestionable classic that is missing from Drake’s catalogue — then what? If Views is far and away Drake’s best record, why not let the music speak for itself? Promotion for big release is certainly expected, but the fact that Drake has spent so much more emphasis on this one album and has actually dismissed some of his other projects as lesser work undermines his releases to this point and what he will do in the future.