This year, because social media has given voice to everybody who wants one, including purveyors of fake news, we’ve had to endure the views of just about everyone in this country—the good, the bad, and the Trumpian. It’s been a year filled with uncertainties and arguments, which is a sign of life if nothing else. But one set of “Views” we can agree on are Drake’s. Even though the Canadian rapper isn’t a politician he has found himself fulfilling a role in public service with his fourth studio album, “Views,” which he released in April.
And the people have spoken. For the second year in a row Drake has been named Spotify’s most popular artist. If you disagree with this title here are some facts for you (even if those don’t apparently mean very much anymore): Drake was the most streamed artist of the year. Drake had the most streamed album of the year, in Views. And Drake also locked down the year’s top song with “One Dance.” In other words, Drake is killing it.
So let’s take a look back at his “Views” to see where he went right, and where the rest of America apparently did too. Because if there’s one thing that apparently unites us, it’s Drake.
One Dance ft. Wizkid, Kyla
This track has been streamed over 978 Million times (and counting) on Spotify. You can almost guarantee that over half of these plays have come from college-aged girls requesting it at a club, and another quarter of them come from these same girls playing it on a loop while they get ready to go out to said club. You can’t blame them though, it’s a catchy number with a sultry Caribbean sound about vibing on the dance floor, or that feeling when “higher powers taking a hold on me” as Drake describes to it.
“Controlla,” although only streamed a mere 279 Million times, is an arguably stronger song than the aforementioned. It’s a song about sex—I realized this when I purchased a baby pink t-shirt from Drake’s revenge pop-up shop for $50, and read the lines, “go faster, go slower,” on my sleeve. And in true Drake fashion it’s where he, like the nice Jewish boy that he is, reveals, I think I’d Iie for you/ I think I’d die for you/ Do things when you want me to/ Like Controlla.
This number is Drake’s best work off of “Views,” with 173 million streams on Spotify alone. Even if you think you’ve never heard it, I promise you that you have because every young person on the planet has at some point probably used the line “turn my birthday into a lifestyle”—a phrase they’ve no less used as a caption on Instagram to accompany images of popping bottles of birthday bubbly that Drake probably wouldn’t sip with a ten foot straw (unless, maybe, it was some purple drank-Manischewitz concoction). But what this track does is remind us that Drake is actually a pretty decent rapper with a sly effective flow: Girl let me rock, rock, rock your body/ Justin Timberlake and then I hit the highway/ I can’t trust no fuckin’ body/ They still out to get me cause they never got me.
“Work “- Rihanna ft. Drake
OK, this one isn’t off of “Views,” but it’s coming from a collaboration with the most streamed female artist of the year and Drake’s ex-girlfriend, Rihanna. The dissolved power couple came together for “Work,” which has been streamed over 584 million times, for Riri’s album “ANTI.” Because when Drake “sees potential he’s gotta see it through.” And boy did they see it through by way of a steamy seven-and-a-half-minute video. Although it’s mostly shots of them bumpin’ and grindin’ in all their glory, you can’t help but find it bizarrely endearing as Drake declares that even if Rihanna had a twin he would still choose her.
Too Good ft. Rihanna
In this track the two most streamed artists of the year join forces yet again. You can cut the tension with a knife in this song. Is it Rihanna who think she’s too good for Drake? Could it be Drake telling Rihanna what we’ve been thinking all along—that he’s way too good to her? Is this what tore them a part? It’s a truth we will probably never know. But we can stream it another 456 million times and give it our best shot.
Despite a tumultuous year it looks as though America has found solace in, of all things, a dance-hall inspired album made by a Canadian with the occasional help from a Barbadian immigrant woman. Our common-ground, according to Spotify, couldn’t be less American. Yet, it seems to be the only thing making America sound great again.
Daniela is a journalist based in Brooklyn, originally from Texas. You can follow her on Instagram if you like.