Drake may want to live like the rappers in Atlanta, he may prefer the strippers in Houston, his slang may be traveling to London, but his home and his heart belongs to Toronto. There’s pride in where he comes from that's injected into his every move, the way he represents and pays homage to Toronto has made him into a symbol for the city.
Last night, with only a few days separating us from his album release, he revealed the official album art for Views. It’s a photograph of Toronto’s CN Tower with Drake sitting upon it. The color is a rather gloomy grey, you would expect something more vibrant for an April album. On the cover Drake is tiny, barely visible, looking more like a smudge than a mighty God.
The internet has had a field day with the cover - countless memes have been created since its unveiling. I’m almost certain that’s part of the cover’s purpose. Drake’s team understands simplicity is key to memeifying album art. A Shutterstock screenshot was floating around making people believe that Drake just took a stock photo and Photoshopped himself on to the tower’s top. Turns out it was a fake screenshot about a fake stock photo, welcome to the internet.
Even if the cover isn’t the most appealing to the eyes, there’s no denying how iconic the shot would be if Drake actually sat there dangling from the CN Tower. The Canadian National Tower became the world’s tallest freestanding structure and the world’s tallest tower when it was completed in 1976. 40 years after becoming a symbol of pride for Toronto and a monument for all of Canada, the enormous structure becomes the throne that Drake, the city's current symbol of pride, sits upon on the album cover for views.
There’s a lot of symbolism in the fact that Drake is the size of an ant. To me it says that at the height of his success, he is still not bigger than his beloved city. What better way to express that than making yourself small when sitting next to the 6ix’s most notable landmark? This is also the first official album cover where Drake isn’t the absolute focus. Thank Me Later, Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, he is the center of attention. On Views he is barely visible. Lonely at the top, even when he’s at home.
Home has played a significant role in Drake’s life as a man and an artist. Without question he is the biggest star to come from the city and dominate the world. The city has rewarded him immensely, gifted the rap artist the key to Toronto, adopted the nickname he proclaimed, he’s even the global ambassador for the Toronto Raptors. I’m certain there’s nowhere in the city he doesn’t have access to. That’s what makes the Views cover powerful, that he was possibly given permission to shoot where most would be denied.
CN Tower has an attraction called “Edgewalk” that allows visitors to wear a harness and walk along the Pod’s crust. It’s far different than sitting on the edge all alone and having a photo taken. Only someone with status could accomplish this cover, more important than capturing Drake viewing the city, it proves that he has reached Toronto’s Mount Olympus.
Everything that could make the cover prolific would also make it only dangerously boring if it was done with Photoshop, as some internet sleuths allege (and CN Tower later confirmed). A simple copy and paste job - shoot Drake, shoot the Tower, combine the two - takes away the danger and power that the shot is meant to exude. Drake’s most daring cover should actually be daring. Instead, the 6God could easily be outed as the 6mortal.
In many ways, for some of Drake’s biggest fans, Views holds a great deal of weight on how he will be viewed. Without question this album is huge, and it will sell, but will it be good? Is Drake really the God he has proclaimed to be or just another man posing as an all powerful deity?
You can copy and paste your way to the top, but it will take more than Photoshop to stay there.
Update: CN Tower confirms the "Photoshop" magic.
By Yoh, aka AlizéYoh aka @Yoh31.