As anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex could have predicted, the first week numbers for Drake's latest heartbroken opus are in, and they're massive. According to Republic Records, Views sold 1.2 million copies in just under a week, a huge number which combines iTunes sales with a reported 250 million streams on Apple Music. And that's just via the Apple family of products. In a week's time the album will be released to all physical and digital retailers, from Target to Spotify, which should give Views a second big wave of numbers.
Joe Budden can get himself worked up into a lather all he wants, Drake's still undoubtedly the most popular and influential artist of his generation, the kind of transcendent pop-star capable of uniting millions of people in the kind of shared experience (reacting to Views) that we only very rarely get in an age of fractured attention spans and interest. Whether Views is a great album or not is a separate discussion, it's certainly not a classic, but these numbers prove once again that Drake's simply operating on a higher level of popularity than anyone else in rap.
Speaking of which...
Fair warning, here's the part where I detour into white whale mode. If you only care about Drake and don't want to read me go in on TIDAL and TLOP for the 97th time, you're going to want to stop reading right now.
You had your chance to leave. You asked for this.
Remember when TIDAL claimed that Kanye's TLOP did 250 million streams and I wrote that number was unbelievably high - as in it literally couldn't be believed by a rational person? Well, surprise, a lot of strangers on the internet told me I was a moron, that I was a Kanye hater, etc. etc. blah blah etc. etc.
TIDAL refused to verify those first week numbers, but Drake's Views numbers are verified, which now gives us a solid point of comparison. And if we're comparing, that means that TLOP did the same numbers on TIDAL, which had 1 million subscribers when TLOP dropped, that Drake did on Apple Music, which had 13 million subscribers when Views dropped? People listened to TLOP something like ten times more than they listened to Views in approximately the same time span? Kanye's THAT much more popular than Drake? Even considering that Views' numbers are inflated by including streaming numbers for "Hotline Bling" and "One Dance," that just defies all common sense.
And it's not some small thing. TLOP was a massive release that generated millions of dollars for Kanye and TIDAL, and anyone who cares about the proverbial hip-hop game should want to be able to get an accurate idea of whose pool is bigger who's the more popular artist, Kanye or Drake. The conclusion so far is that TLOP was a significantly more popular album than Views, and I don't think that's anywhere near true, although in the media or among the general hip-hop populace I seem to be the only one saying it.
Oh well, I guess this is just something for me to work out with my therapist. In the meantime, don't believe everything TIDAL tells you, and take a long look at Drake. Years from now, when we look back at the first week of Views and recognize that it represented Drake at the absolute peak of his powers, a peak he'll never reach again, I'll be able to say told you so there too.