Is ‘VIEWS’ Drake’s Best Album?

The 6 God has been on a roll since Nothing Was The Same.

In 2014 he made 0 to 100 a summer anthem, and in 2015 he did the same thing with Hotline Bling. He’s permeated the culture so much that you can’t visit the club without hearing Drake. And while many argue about which rapper is at the top of the game right now, I’ll throw in my own two cents:

When Drake drops something, the world seems to come to a standstill, and I haven’t seen any other rapper in the game be able to do that.

While VIEWS is the first solo “album” he’s dropped since NWTS, it certainly hasn’t felt like it.

In early 2015 we got If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which had an icy feel to it that paired well with the harsh Winter he dropped it in. Then, later in 2015, we got What A Time To Be Alive, featuring a collection of bangers just begging to be played in clubs across North America.

Where is Drake right now though? The best way to find that out is to start listening to VIEWS.

First off, is Keep the Family Close about Nicki Minaj? I answer that with a resounding yes. He chose quite the topic to focus on for his intro. Normally he just brags–like–a lot on the opening track but not this time. This time he’s lamenting how Nicki basically forgot about him during the Meek Mill feud.

All of my “let’s just be friends” are friends I don’t have anymore.

-Keep the Family Close

But, on the first banger of the album, Drake gets back to form on “9,” rapping about fake friends, enemies, and how they still want to see his “Views” no matter what. Powerful Drizzy.

“U With Me?” is the first prototypical Drake reminiscing about a girl song. My favorite line is when he says he made a career out of reminiscin’, which is actually pretty accurate. It’s a strong song. I could feel his emotion when he started screaming at the end about a girl that knew him when “he had waves,” which must’ve been during Take Care? He talks about how she “slides on a late night” into his text messages, and how they’re both playing games with each other. Sometimes we just use people to get attention.

“Feel No Ways” is a continuation, albeit a more positive one, of Drake talking about a past love. It’s got a “Hold On We’re Going Home” vibe to it. This time he let go of the relationship early on to (assuming) see what he could do. I mean, all they used to do is stay in and get high together. It makes sense. But because of that his old girl is throwing it in his face, clearly a little pissed. Come on Drake, you did it to yourself.

Okay, now for “Hype,” one of the biggest bangers on the album. Just listen and enjoy it.

You try to give ’em your side of the story
They heard it, but they wasn’t hearin’ it

-Hype

“Weston Road Flows” won’t be played in the clubs anytime soon, but it still gives us a nice look at the old Drake.

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He raps about a fellow ambitious rapper he used to know who he has now surpassed. Weston Road is the road that Drake grew up on–just for background.

Been flowin’ stupid since Vince Carter was on some
through the legs arm in the hoop shit.

-Weston Road Flows

“Weston Road,” “Redemption,” and “With You” slow things down a bit here in the middle of the project. “With You” only has a few verses but it’s deeper than it looks. Drake links up with PARTYNEXTDOOR and Jeremih for this one, crooning about a girl that’s a little more independent than he might hope.

Choose your lover for the moment
Different story when I leave you
Story of just to keep you
I need you around, I need you, oh

-With You

Following this trio is another trio that speeds things back up slowly but surely. “Faithful” is largely a song about having sex, if you want me to be honest about it. It’s playful Drake, much needed after the three heavier songs before it. “Still Here” is our third dose of braggadocio Drake, and it sounds freaking awesome.

Then we have Controlla.

So far the sounds that we’ve come into contact with on VIEWS have been pretty reminiscent of past Drake projects, but Controlla is definitely a deviation. It sounds like “Work,” and has that Dancehall vibe to it. We weren’t expecting this one from The Boy..unless you heard the leak a few weeks ago, but that’s beside the point.

I guess I’ll stop at the midway point to talk about the sound of the album. Take Care, NWTS, and IYRTITL all had their own particular sound. Take Care could be mistaken for an R&B album, and IYRTITL was cold, with minimalistic beats. VIEWS seems to just be a mash-up of past and present Drake. There hasn’t really been much of a step forward so far, but it’s only halfway through.

Good news: “One Dance” continues the Dancehall vibe. But this one came out a few weeks ago, so we knew this was coming.

Strength and guidance
All that I’m wishing for my friends

-One Dance

Okay, so, “Grammys” deserves a Grammy. Somehow Drake and Future have managed to bless us one more time. Can “What A Time To Be Alive 2” come out this summer? Yeah? Much appreciated.

I pull up in yachts so big that they try to hit me with boat fines

-Grammys

“Child’s Play” is quite the song. It’s about Drake’s love with an immature girl from the hood that he just can’t let go, because, and here’s the kicker, the sex is too good. Good job Drake. You’ve let us all know multiple times on VIEWS that if the sex is good then you just can’t let it go. The funniest line is how he talks about how people that go to Cheesecake drive Camry’s and go to Disney. It’s true.

“Pop Style” sounds like it could’ve been on IYRTITL. And, continuing the jamaican themes in this album, Pop Style is a jamaican term meaning ballin’ apparently. But, as a quick aside, it makes sense that Drake would incorporate a lot of Jamaican influences on this album. People talk in Jamaican accents in barbershops and basketball courts all around the city. Just go watch Drake’s shortfilm “Jungle” and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It’s a cool little subliminal thing.

“Too Good” is the first Drake and Rihanna collaboration on a Drake project since “Take Care,” and it was worth the wait. It’s about a couple who thinks their love is taken for granted.

It feels like the only time you see me
Is when you turn your head to the side and look at me differently

-Too Good

It’s a brilliant song.

Drake rounds out the album with three slower tracks. “Summers Over” is pretty self-explanatory. And when pondering it further, this album is very much made for the summer. It’s full of anthems for love and clubs, laced against warmer beats–much warmer than his previous “mixtape” released in January.

I love VIEWS, and I’m sure I’ll love it more and more as I listen to it, but it just didn’t seem as cohesive as a project compared to his past albums. It jumps around with a lot of different sounds and beats, but the subject material is still reminiscent of what’s made Drake popular.

He’s made his millions from nostalgia. That’s why we all feel his music, because we’ve all been in love too. Drake is dynamic, too. His relationships are playful, deep, emotional, and amusing. Sometimes he talks about being “too good” for somebody before talking about how he’s the opposite a few songs later.

How should we enjoy VIEWS? By treating it as a summer album. Listen to it while you’re falling in love with someone. Listen to it while prepping to go to the club. Listen to it when summer is ending and you’re reminiscing.

VIEWS: 8/10

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Confessions Of A Recent College Grad: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

I do email marketing for my company’s clients.

I sent out an email yesterday with a massive typo, and now my boss is reaming me out for it. Oh well.

But here’s the bigger probem: I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.

I honestly don’t. I went to college for marketing and now pay god know what back because of it, but many times I feel I don’t know how to actually market.

My belief has always been that marketing, above all else, needs to be awesome, but that’s for another post.

In a broader sense, I many times don’t know what I’m doing, and often feel insecure because of it.

First off, I stumbled into working in IT marketing despite not knowing a damn thing about it. I thought I knew what “IT” was because I worked with a lot of tech companies/startups to write up their marketing materials (copywriting).

But I made the mistake of thinking “IT” was the same as like, say, coding an application or developing the next cool product. And by the time I realized that, I was already knee deep in this job.

Many times when I’m on the phone with our clients I feel clueless as to what to say. Now, you’d never guess this because I’ve developed some pretty good telephone-talking skills, but half the time I’m panicking in my mind.

That’s my shy side coming out.

And don’t even get me started on the emails. I can only write an email that I think would be fun to read, but getting the client to sign off on it is nearly impossible, because the client is still on the train to boredom town.

I’ve begun to sign up for webinars and emails about how to do email marketing, because, once again, I have no clue.

It’s really started to stress me out lately.

Multiply that by the fact that I’m currently on an all-expense(and I mean EXPENSE as in EXPENSIVE)-paid-trip to learn about the software that I use, and you can see that I’m really starting to freak out.

I feel like I can’t keep the facade up for too much longer. Inevitably, they’re going to see that I can’t handle it, and that I don’t have any idea.

This theme has stuck with me since graduating college. I once ran out of a job on the first day (like, quit, without telling him) because I thought that I would most certainly be a waste of his money.

And then I got into writing. I became a journalist at the Inquisitr, where I got let go a few months later because I just wasn’t grasping SEO (I still don’t, that shit is COMPLEX).

How did I get these jobs you say? I wrote well. I turned some heads because of my writing, but the recurring problem is that I have yet to master some of the aspects that come along with writing.

Failures, failures everywhere.

Which gets me back to my original point: I’m floating around a year after graduation with no clue of what I’m doing.

What’s the message here? What’s the happy ending? I’ve written a pretty depressing story, I know.

Well, here it is.

A few years back I worked for a mowing company. We operated big ass machinery, and during my first year I made every mistake in the book.

I burned lawns, scalped hills, broke blowers, blew grass in the mulch, and basically was a general {insert curse word here} up.

I got yelled at, and many times felt insecure.

I always hated making mistakes. I just wanted to do right for my boss, not be a pain in his ass. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

BUT.

I came back the next summer and improved dramatically. I learned that you need to stay away from hitting small bumps in the lawn. I learned that you can put a flap down on the mower to stop grass from blowing everywhere. I learned that you can’t just turn on a dime because the rotation of the wheel will leave a big burn mark in the lawn.

And you thought mowing lawns was easy. It’s really not.

The conclusion is that through our failures we get better. But what about the part of me that freaking hates failure? That cringes every time my boss finds something wrong in what I’m doing?

Just shake it off, I guess. I’m sure many reading this may have felt the same way at one point. Don’t catastrophize (pretty cool word, huh?) it. If they fire you, they fire you. That’s on them.

All you can do is try to spot the wave and catch it. Learn. Improve. Grow. That’s it. If you didn’t grow fast enough, then get another job, and now you have all these failures and learning experiences to take into the next one. You’re better.

Something remarkable happens when you start thinking this way. It takes your mind off of failure and things oddly start to work out.

You’re going to fail. You’re going to have shitty days. Things are going to backfire. They may backfire every day. Just learn. We’re not a good or bad person because of what happens at work.

Thanks for reading guys, and don’t afraid to be clueless, like me.

5 Not-So-Crazy Things On My Bucket List

Bucket lists are normally chock-full of crazy things, such as:

  • Skydiving
  • Climbing Everest
  • Going on a cross-country road trip

I mean, I want to skydive, but I also don’t want to have the prototypical bullshit bucket list that everyone’s seen a billion times. So here’s a few things from my own bucket list that’s not so crazy yet distinct in it’s own way:

  • Go up to a perfect ten at the bar and talk to her – And I’m talking PERFECT 10. I’m talking like Victoria Secret model worthy. This seems so stupid for a 23 year old guy to say, but I still get shy, what can I say?
  • Rent a Dodge Charger with my Dad – This is moreso something I want to do when I meet my parents out west this summer. It’d be cool to take a day and roam the West with horsepower instead of horses (see what I did there?). It would be a great day I’m sure.
  • Buy a homeless person lunch and talk with them – This one kind of scares me. I can’t even pinpoint why. I’m scared because of how bad I’ll feel for not helping more. I don’t know. I want to get to know them, and hopefully write about it to share what I learned, and maybe even start a paypal donation and hand him/her some money if I raise any!
  • Pick up strangers at a bus stop and take them to where they need to go – I think this would be fun. I kind of want to film this! I want to get to know some people, but I’m also trying not to have the wrong person step into my car. I also feel like people are gonna be super wary to hop into a car with a stranger. Whatever. Just an idea.
  • Surprise my best friends with a cruise – I really want to monetize my blog so I can travel and do my own thing, but I also want to do it to help those around me. It would be so cool to treat my best friends to a cruise one day. I don’t know, it’s just a thought.

Anyway, those are a few of my not-so-crazy bucket list items. What are some things on your bucket list? Comment below!

I’m Going To Phoenix!

I’m going to Phoenix tomorrow! My travelblogger senses are tingling.

I’ll be flying in for a training session happening in town, and I get to stay there until the 30th. I’m freaking stoked.

While I’ll be busy all day from 9-5, I’ll get to explore as much as I can at night. While I’m not sure whether I’ll be getting a rental car, I’ll still be able to stick to the city because of taxi’s and what have you.

Phoenix has great outdoor activities, but I just won’t have enough time to really appreciate them with a few hours of daylight. I’ll stick with the city.

Here’s a few things I want to do in downtown Phoenix.

Chase Field

I love baseball, so it would be nice to see an Arizona Diamondbacks game. I heard the stadium is breathtaking, and the team is actually really good. This tops the list for me.

FilmBar

This looks freaking amazing! It’s a movie theatre showing old cult-classics that doubles as a bar. My gosh, I’ve found something to do for two of my nights already.

Downtown

I wanna get into the city and see what nightlife it has to offer. Perhaps friday night before I fly back? My goodness, it’s going to be tough. My flight back is at 8 in the morning, meaning I need to get to the airport way ahead of time.

What should I do in Phoenix? Does anyone else have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

 

 

A Letter To My Parents

Do you remember our old house like I do? I must say my favorite places were always the upstairs and downstairs–the places that were the most secluded. I guess that’s the introvert in me coming out.

What about the middle, though? That’s where your room was, that’s where the kitchen was, and that’s where Rachel’s old room was.

It’s fitting that you lived right in the middle of our home because you were/are the center of our lives. Why didn’t I spend more time there?

I guess for a while I spent more and more of my time elsewhere. I guess I got a little annoyed with you guys, but who doesn’t at one point? You went from being idolized like superheros to basically being thrown into the scrap heap of my mind. Did you deserve that? Absolutely not.

I got annoyed because I was growing up. And as I grew up I developed a sarcasm that had no rival. I used that to hurt you guys. Boy, was I stupid.

It’s ironic that I miss you now more than ever–now that I’m 900 miles away. I used to live just a few feet away from you.

Being a parent isn’t easy. As Darnell says, “it’s a full time job.” I’ve realized parenting means having some tough love. It means pushing your child to be the best they can be in the classroom, athletics, and in life.

It means going the extra mile. It means putting in overtime, being there for our events, and talking to us. You guys went the extra mile.

But there’s something ironic about being a parent. You spend all that time raising us, helping us, and loving us and then we leave you when we’re grown.

That hurts, I know.

I want to honor you two. I want to use the lessons you taught me to make a positive impact on the world and those around me. I want to show you that your reach is larger than you thought.

You both know I report on baseball games. When I’m sitting there in the stands, watching, I notice so much more than what’s happening on the field. I notice the parents, the children running around, and the coaches.

I notice the mother taking pictures of her son behind the backstop. I notice the father that’s yelling something in spanish to his son while he’s up at bat. I notice the younger siblings sitting in attendance.

At the end of the game I get to interview those who I deem are the standouts. Sometimes the kids could care less about any of the questions I give them. Sometimes they just kind of mumble out a one or two word answer while looking everywhere else but into my eyes.

Sometimes it’s nervousness, which is fine, but all to often it’s arrogance.

Then I get those kids who are absolutely beaming. They call me sir, they go into extreme detail, and they far too often cite the rest of their team and coaches as the reason for their success.

One time I interviewed a kid who laid down a perfect bunt to drive in the winning run. I could tell he wasn’t Johnny big-shot, and that he wasn’t going to make the starting lineup of any major league team anytime soon.

But as I interviewed him it became a pleasure because he gave me so many words to work with and he gave me a lot of respect as well.

I remember these kids the most.

And, almost poetically, the two people I could see standing behind him, beaming just as much as he was, was his mom and his dad.

I make sure to give these kids a few extra sentences in my write-up every single time.

Behind every great, respectful, pleasant kid is a pair of parents who worked hard to make them that way.

In a world where nice guys finish last, I try to make my stories revolve around them as much as I possibly can.

If only they knew how much they’d miss these times with their parents. Unfortunately it’s something they won’t understand until they leave.

Distance breeds nostalgia.

Proximity breeds resentment.

Why is it like that?

Why can’t proximity breed something else? I just want you two to know that proximity doesn’t breed that for me anymore. Now I’m just happy.

It’s a rough world out there, and it takes a special mixture of protection, love, exposure, and vigilance to make sure children don’t see it as a dark place. To get them to see the world with hope is ultimately one of the many end goals.

And honestly that’s the best gift you’ve ever given me.

I know this world sucks. I know there’s more horror going on than I could possibly imagine, but I have hope.

I could list all the traits you’ve passed on to me (the list would start with dashing good-looks), but (just joking) that would be too long and boring.

Instead I’ll leave you with a story I’ll never forget.

I remember playing a baseball game when I was younger and both of you were in attendance. A crazy-good left-handed pitcher came up and he was throwing the high heat.  Seriously, unlike the other subject of my story above, this guy could’ve made the starting rotation of the Yankees right then as far as I was concerned.

I was scared, honestly.

Something in you two must’ve seen that, and I remember Mom coming over to give me  some words of wisdom.

She told me that that was my plate out there, meaning I wasn’t going to back down from this guy. He wasn’t in control of this meeting–I WAS.

She fired me up, and I went out there a lot less scared than I was.

I ended up striking out, but there was a moment when the perfect pitch came down the outside of the plate, and I smacked it deep down the left field line.

I was so ahead of it that it went foul, but as far as I can tell that ball hasn’t hit the ground yet. If it was fair it would’ve been a home run.

I came out of our showdown a little upset, but Dad never focused on me striking out, he focused on that foul ball. He focused on how I almost had him.

Mom taught me one amazing mindset that day. In anything that you do, own it. YOU’RE in control. Don’t back down from anybody. Show up to life with gritted teeth, a scowl, and a big bat on your shoulder not afraid to swing it.

Dad taught me that there’s always a positive in every failure. You could’ve very easily focused on the fact that I struck out, but you never did that.

This is why I see the world with hope.

Thank you for that.

 

How To Deal With A Really Crappy Boss

Quit.

Yep, you heard me.

People always view quitting as such a bad thing, but I beg to differ.

Think about it, why would someone above you pressure you not to quit? Because they don’t want to get screwed, that’s why. It has nothing to do with the “character issues” they tell you about. It’s because they’re looking out for themselves.

I’ve quit many things in my life and most of the time those decisions were great ones! I never looked back. I quit Panera Bread to be a freelancer–now I wake up when I want and work in my pajamas all day.

I quit my wrestling team and after that I had so much more time to spend on homework, with good people, and on myself.

I’ll also be the first one to admit that not quitting has been a good decision at some points.

And I get it, we need to have a little backbone sometimes. We shouldn’t quit at the first sign of disparity. But I also trust that each one of you will know when enough is really enough.

And the crazy thing is, many of us don’t even have an issue with authority–we just have an issue with getting sprayed with saliva when our boss is screaming at us inches away from our face. Get it?

So, I urge you, if you have a shitty boss, to just quit. You’re the master of your own destiny. You don’t deserve that. You can be so much more than somebody elses slave.

And I’m not even talking about bosses who occasionally get on you for doing something wrong. Just as long as they’re not consistently being negative day in and day out, then it’s fine.

Good superiors always look at both the good and the bad. They know that the proper way to motivate somebody is to acknowledge both positives and negatives. That’s good leadership.

And that’s a boss I’d rather work for.

 

 

How To Avoid Burnout As A Freelancer (Or In General)

If you’re like me, your mind never stops working.

My brain bounces from thought to thought like a game of pinball. First it’s about work, then it’s about my dire hunger, then it’s about that time I messed up a handshake with that one guy.

Couple my scattered mind with the fact that I spend copious hours staring at a computer screen all day, and you have a pretty severe case of burnout-opia just waiting to pounce.

There’s just always something waiting in the queue of my mind for my subconscious to mull over next. It’s like a conveyor belt for thoughts.

Luckily I’ve learned a few tricks for stopping burnout in its tracks, and trust me–they’re revo-freaking-lutionary.

Step 1 – Excercise, darn it

Yeah, this is a simple one, but oh boy can it change a bad day to a good one quick. Imagine fifteen minutes of your day where you aren’t staring at a screen. Imagine giving your eyes a break to gaze at trees, nice houses, and smiling neighbors on a quick run? You don’t even need to kill yourself on the run either, just make it enjoyable.

Step 2 – Leave work at work

As a freelancer it’s tough to not check my emails 24/7. This is my biggest flaw, and it’s also the biggest culprit of burnout. Stick to a schedule, and don’t worry about work–even if you feel like the world is going to burn down while you’re off.

Step 3 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Taking on too much work will stress you out. You don’t need to be working 12 hour days. You don’t need to take on so many things. If you need to, just tell a few of your clients that you can’t work with them anymore. They’ll understand, and they’ll appreciate the transparency.

Step 4 – Get around people

Hanging out with friends–even for 30 minutes–is like hitting the reset button on your thoughts. The goal is to get your brain to forget about work, and being around people will accomplish this easily.

Step 5 – Don’t feel guilty for relaxing

I feel guilty when I watch movies sometimes. I feel I could be doing so many other, more productive things. Get in the habit of saying “screw it” when these thoughts come up. Not everyone might have a problem with this, but for those that do, keep this in mind.

I hope these tips can help you whether you’re a freelancer or just someone who feels a little stressed. Thanks for reading guys! If you liked the post, comment below so I can meet you!