In late April, Drake released his sixth album, to mixed reviews and record-breaking sales and streaming numbers. For a closer view on VIEWS, The FADER talked with 11 teenagers in the New York area about whether young people still consider Drake cool. The kids (culled from area schools, and by no means a definitive sample) were almost unanimously psyched about the new album—almost overwhelmingly so, until we remembered that when “Best I Ever Had” debuted they were around 9 years old. Here, they remember the first time they heard a Drake song and offer him advice for remaining on top.
Noah, 18, Bergen County, New Jersey
Most of the time I think Drake’s cool but occasionally he says some corny stuff that can take away from that. There’s no question that he can body a track and seem like the coolest dude in the game when he’s on, but there are times when he doesn’t always live up to that.
I think VIEWS has its moments but is a little overrated. I think the production carries the majority of the album and his bars are weak at times. The album as a whole definitely bumps and Drake does have some dope lines on it but the subject matter and even some of the beats sound pretty repetitive and some of his punchlines are underwhelming.
As a person who makes hip-hop music who’s constantly learning from dudes in the game, I’ve learned how to incorporate real-life feelings and experiences in my songs and be more accessible emotionally in my music by listening to his. I’ve also learned to never take yourself too seriously–even if you’re the number one hip-hop artist in the world—from the way he embraces the memes and jokes made about him. If I could give Drake one piece of advice, it would be to stay true to the music and the narrative that has worked for him rather than getting caught up in the hype of the mainstream because he’s at his best when he pushes the boundary and does things that other guys on his level wouldn’t dare to do.
Nzinga, 15, Queens, New York
Of course I think Drake’s cool. He has a meaning and a message behind his songs. I have heard VIEWS and it really has some heat. I think it’s one of his best so far. When I think about Drake, I think about a legend. I don't see him out there trying to be something he isn't. If I could give him advice, I would say continue being great.
Sean, 16, New York
I heard about Drake from his mixtape Comeback Season. I think Drake is mad cool because a lot of people like him. Everyone has their haters but I think he's a trendsetter. I heard VIEWS when it dropped on Apple Music and honestly it’s what I expected. It’s an experience and it should nominated for a Grammy because it has something for everyone. If there’s anything I learned from Drake, it’s don’t be afraid to be yourself and speak your mind. If I could give Drake advice, I'd tell him to sign me to OVO. Nah but I don’t have any advice—he seems smart enough. I’m a real rapper though.
Brianna, 15, Queens, New York
I think Drake is cool because his songs are all nice and everyone listens to them, even my parents. I keep hearing his new song “One Dance” everywhere. It’s always playing on the radio. I’ve heard Drake's new album, not all of it but most. I know there’s a track with Future on it.
Drake is his own person. That's what I've learned from him: to do what you want do and not to care much about the people who say you can't do it. I’ve heard that in the music industry that’s very hard to do.
Kiana, 16, Harlem, New York
I first learned about Drake from one of my favorite TV shows, Degrassi. Soon after, I found out that he made music and I listened to "Find Your Love.” I would play that song constantly and made sure that I downloaded it to my computer, iPhone, iPad—literally everywhere.
Drake is multi-talented. He is cool because everything about him screams, “I’m laid back but hard working.” He’s versatile in his musical sound. For example, when he made the song "Odio" with Romeo Santos—no one was expecting that. It was a new sound that gave him lots of positive attention. As of right now, I haven't heard the new album but I plan on listening to it because anything of Drake’s is bound to be creative and catchy. I'm looking forward to potentially finding my new favorite song.
I've learned from Drake that you never give your enemies a chance to bring you down; you just keep striving to prove them wrong. If I could give Drake advice I would say: "Never let your guard down, so that when you produce something new and fresh, your haters will be speechless."
Owen, 16, New York
Drake is arguably the most relevant rapper in the world. I heard about him in 5th grade when all my friends started listening to “Best I Ever Had.”
Overall, yes, Drake is cool. But he does have some hilariously uncool album covers. I pretended to hate him for a while, but I always liked Thank Me Later.
I listened to VIEWS after everybody had already told me it was garbage. I usually don't bother listening to what other people have to say about music but it was hard to go into this album expecting to thoroughly enjoy it. I was very pleasantly surprised. The production is fantastic. The whole thing came off as very atmospheric, but not in like a "cloud rap" way. “Feel No Ways” was my favorite track.
He should probably go in a completely different direction with his next album.
Lumia, 17, Harlem, New York
Drake is a musician and businessman from Canada. I first heard about him when he released his album So Far Gone. My favorite song of his is either “November 18th” or “305 To My City,” but “Worst Behavior” resonates with me.
I think Drake is cool because he’s gotten success from being himself, although he receives a lot of kickback for being soft. A lot of the time his songs deal with themes of love and his emotional well being. Sometimes he is a little too emotional for me, which creates a love hate relationship with him. Because of Drake, I’ve learned to never take the L and not to be too emotional when it comes to my relationships. Many have also coined the term “Draking” to mean being too emotional, and it’s a line that my friends and I try not to cross when we get in our feelings.
I’ve heard VIEWS and I really like it. I think it sounds like a mix of his albums Nothing Was The Same and Take Care, with an element of a new sound as well. Drake can constantly release new music without the music being disappointing. My advice to Drake would be to make more music with Future and Rihanna.
Josh, 17, New Jersey
Drake is my favorite rapper. I fuck with almost all of his music. He has the widest range of talent in the game, from spitting straight fire bars to singing songs that make you feel some typa way.
VIEWS is absolutely amazing. My favorite song is "Still Here." His flow on that song is amazing. I also dig "Views," "Fire and Desire," "9," and "Child's Play." You can bump all those songs.
Dylan, 17, New Jersey
The first time I heard Drake was when I went to camp and on the radio on the bus everyone would rap along to “Best I Ever Had.” I learned from Drake to always under promise. He never hypes up anything and he drops tracks randomly on Soundcloud. Nowadays there are too many rappers that will say on social media and in interviews that they are dropping five tapes this year—their music gets oversaturated or it never comes out and they disappoint the fans.
I do think Drake is cool. I think VIEWS is an overall a great album. I was expecting something much different after all that has went on this year with Meek Mill and ghostwriting. I think he played it safe with this one and just focused on the music and kind of tuned everything else out.
Seven, 17, Queens, NY
Drake is a legend! I first heard him back in I think 2009 or 2010, when "Best I Ever Had" came out. Honestly at first I thought Drake was whatever. I thought he was just another dude on the radio. However over the past two or three years I've built a lot of respect for him. Drake really taught me how to run a brand. Also to
see him and Future overcome their little feuds they used to have is great.
VIEWS is a good album. I'm not the biggest fan of it right now, but in few years I'll look back and be like, “Damn, this a great body of work." Shouts out to 40. The production is AMAZING.
David, 17, New Jersey
I first learned about Drake seven years ago on YouTube when he dropped my favorite song, “Best I Ever Had.” When I first heard it, I knew he was going to be someone big.
Drake is cool because of how much power he has in the music industry. Another reason he is cool because of the way he made everyone love the month October. Drake has a one of a kind voice that makes you want to listen to his music all day, during any type of mood.
Drake’s new album is pure art. It has multiple sounds. There are tropical vibes, love songs, and straight rap that bumps. I definitely feel this is Drake’s best album yet.
Eli, 15, New Jersey
In 4th grade, Drake released his album, Take Care and I bought it on iTunes. I listened to every song over and over and immediately fell in love.
I have listened to VIEWS and it was simply amazing. My favorite track right now is either “9” or “Views.” If I could give Drake advice it would be to stop making music to have hits. “Hotline Bling” can't compare to a song like “Pound Cake/ Paris Morton Music 2”— or “Hold on We're Going Home” to “Lord Knows.” I appreciate the songs that have lyrics and beats that make you go crazy. I think his rapping defines him more than his singing.
Ethan 17, New Jersey
Drake is mad cool. Besides the fact that he makes amazing music, I love his clothing line and that it's basically designed for him to wear. That's the same reason I love Golf Wang—a lot of the stuff I couldn't pull off, but Tyler designs clothes he wants for him to wear, and then makes a few extra 1000 and sells them.
I thought VIEWS was really good. Production level was insane. Although I wish there was a lot more rapping. The album took me back a few years to when I was first really getting into hip-hop and one of the main albums I was listening to was Take Care.
If I could tell Drake any advice I’d say to get in that studio with Ye and do that tape he was talking about in the Zane Lowe interview.
Kenny, 16, Rye, New York
I first heard about Drake on the radio. As an artist, trendsetter, and seemingly as a person, he definitely seems to be cool. It is hard to deny his influence over his fans. His new album isn’t my favorite of his, but it is a very solid album that I plan on listening to for a while.