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The View from Lemonade.

Chanel Retief (@chanel.coco12)

It’s difficult to believe that it has been over two weeks since both Beyoncé and Drake released their latest albums. It’s also amazing to see that, even after two weeks, people still seem be reacting the same way they did when both albums were released. This speaks to the emotional depth that both Views and Lemonade deliver. Lemonade deals with the concept of infidelity and reconciliation that is quite gripping to me, whereas Views seems to be a love letter to Drake’s hometown, his exes, his haters and himself, and ultimately him showing off a bit of self-confidence.

Beyoncé’s visual album left me confused. I could feel the raw emotion in her music but the visuals had me thinking more into what message she was trying to convey. Her lyrics refer to her husband, her father, the systematic oppression of African Americans and more. And although the mystery of who “Becky with good hair” is in reality (or if she even exists), the use of such figures speaks to the lived experience of many black women in America.

01-beyonce-lemonadeShe took the time to educate not only her fans but even the casual observer about the painful history of African Americans and how she is taking a stand against institutional racism as well as police brutality – both key talking points in American politics today. The one part that provoked a lot of thought is the use of an old Malcolm X quote used in the visual album that says: “the most disrespected woman in America is a black woman.” Beyoncé’s use of powerful storytelling is what pushed me to continue watching the video, despite it being over an hour long.

At first, I didn’t even know Drake had released a new album and I wasn’t exactly fascinated with it either. The first song I came across from Views, about a week after the album was actually released, was Controlla.  I remember thinking “oh no, not another love song” hearing the lyrics: “I think I’d lie for you / I think I’d die for you/ Jodeci ‘Cry For You’”

drake-views-digital-booklet-1In honesty, I am friends with a Drake fan, so I was obliged to sit in her room and listen to more of the new material from Views, despite not being interested in the album originally. I could feel the same emotional depth in views as I did in Lemonade, however with stark contrast.

With Lemonade, I had Beyoncé sing about how she’d been betrayed by those she loves and with Views we have Drake telling me that all he wants is love. He even states in ‘The Family Close’ that “If I ever loved ya / I’ll always love ya that’s how I was raised” which is why that particular track became my personal favourite instantly. Despite the clear polarity in message of the two albums you can’t help fall in love with both of them

When trawling through social media the day after Beyoncé’s visual album came out, I saw a post from one of my guy friends saying he felt  Lemonade was just provoking trust issues within relationships. He felt as though Beyoncé exploited her personal issues to make millions. I say, so what if she did? Here is a woman who has so much money, more than I think she would even care to admit, why exploit your personal problems for more? My view is that Beyoncé like most women who have ever experienced hurt was doing the one thing that many can’t do when they experience infidelity… speak out about it.

I was quite stunned by the way people had attempted to compare Views to Lemonade. One review I read said: “much of Views seems to be steeped in truth, but it doesn’t boast the same emotional or sonic power as Lemonade.” Another argued out that “listeners…will find themselves zoning out for much of the first half of [Views].”

screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-10-17-35-pmI say that both albums conveyed the message that Beyoncé and Drake respectively intended to be delivered to the listener.  They are artists who have experienced different things (infidelity vs. a need for love) and wanted the world to know. Although the emotions inspired by the two would obviously be different, there is still a truth in both.

I should probably point out that I am not a fan of either Beyoncé or Drake. I am however a fan of those who speak from the soul – who take time to master a craft and then find ways to make it their own. I am a fan of honesty, especially to oneself. Beyoncé and Drake’s albums, in their honesty, are no different from autobiographies. But they do it one better: their autobiographies are works of art.

Photo sourced: Twitter, Remy Sounds, Hiphopdx, The Pool and Consequence of Sound

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