This week, hip-hop heavyweights Beyonce and Drake are stealing the spotlight with the release of their albums. Dropping "Lemonade" on Tidal Saturday, Beyonce’s new album features her typical themes, while Drake’s "Views from the 6," expected to drop this Friday, has rap rumors buzzing about the artist’s new-found inspiration and lyrics.
Beyonce’s long awaited sixth studio album undoubtedly couldn’t gain as much buzz as her last surprise visual record, when the artist dropped "Beyonce" unexpectedly in 2013. However, "Lemonade" boasts the same visual aesthetic and sounds as the 2013 record. In the last 10 years, Beyonce’s image as a feminist has grown to be one of her more defining character traits.
The R&B artist, born and raised in Houston, has always led a life of performing. At a young age, Beyonce found herself at singing and dancing competitions across the state. In the 1990s, Beyonce’s role of starring in Destiny’s Child landed her a spot in Hollywood’s limelight. Touring from 1990 to 2006, Destiny’s Child dominated charts and reigned as one of the best selling girl groups of all time. When the group found itself taking a hiatus, Beyoncé went on to explore music solo. It was in 2003 that the singer-song writer released her debut solo album, "Dangerously In Love," that earned five Grammy Awards and two Billboard Hot 100 singles, "Crazy In Love" and "Baby Boy."
After officially calling it quits with Destiny’s Child, Beyonce continued to explore life as a solo artist. From there, Beyonce’s career took off with the release of her second studio album, "B’Day," and her role in the major motion picture, "Dreamgirls," where the artist first got her acting start. With a marriage to Jay-Z and a continued career of dropping chart-topping albums such as "I Am… Sasha Fierce" and "Beyonce," the R&B writer has morphed into an artist who touches on controversial topics such as women’s sexuality, love, monogamy and even miscarriage.
The artist’s release of "Lemonade," accompanied with the hour-long short film of the same title, all explore those dark themes, only in a more personal way. With a media frenzy spurring around rumors of Jay-Z’s infidelity, Beyonce’s "Lemonade" seems more like an album that touches on the artist’s personal relationship issues rather than those of listeners. Going back and forth between threatening Hova and begging for his affection, this album seems to be missing its identity. While Queen Bey normally hosts themes across various tracks collectively, this album seems to touch on several issues, from infidelity in songs such as "Sorry" to lyrics concerning racial tensions in "Formation." Overall, while Beyonce has always had a way with beats and words, this album seems to lack the consistency most often found on a Yonce record.
April 29 seems more and more like a holiday rather than an ordinary album release date with the much-anticipated release of Drake’s "Views from the 6." Committing early on to a release in 2015, Toronto-based rapper Drake has been teasing fans about "Views" since 2014.
In the world of Drake, 2014 seems centuries ago; in the meantime, there was a slew of diss tracks against fellow rapper Meek Mill, the infamous "Hotline Bling" music video and a "retail mixtape" with Future which acted as distractions leading to "Views from the 6" being placed on the backburner, along with the surprise release of "If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late." The mixtape continued to brand Toronto as Drake’s city, with tracks "6 God," "6 Man" and "You & the 6."
In Oct. 2015, Drake announced he was continuing work on "Views" and teased viewers with an anticipated release after the start of the New Year. When the debut single from "Views," titled "Summer Sixteen," dropped, fans were in arms awaiting the full record release. After waiting months, Drake finally teased an April release date with a photo on Instagram. In the last month, the Toronto-based rapper released two more singles from the record, "One Dance" and "Pop Style" featuring a Kayne West Jay-Z duo, self-titled The Throne. Speculations about the delayed release date state Drake is toying with perfected beats and raw lyrics. With an official release date of April 29, fans will have to patiently wait and see if they get to see some "Views from the 6."