Exclaim!'s Top 27 Albums of 2016 So Far

12. Drake
(OVO Sound)

VIEWS, Drake's long-anticipated follow-up to Nothing Was the Same is a sprawling, 82-minute love letter to Toronto that takes us once more through the rapper's intimate stream of consciousness. The album, produced in large part by longtime confidant Noah '40' Shebib, is filled with the same slow-burning, smouldering and sultry hip-hop that skyrocketed Drake to fame.

And yet, it finds new ground, too. Though it received mixed reviews upon its release, VIEWS is Drake's most ambitious record to date, and the highs here — the timpani rolls on "Keep the Family Close," the dancehall thump of "One Dance" — find the 6 God expanding his sonic palette to include styles yet untouched in his oeuvre. That it's also the rapper's most successful album on the charts yet speaks to his power both as a tastemaker and artist.
Dylan Barnabe