For a moment, let me take you back to April 2016. It was a simpler time. Our president wasn’t a psychotic reality star, Louis CK was a beloved comedian, and we were still a year away from The Emoji Movie destroying America as we know it.
One fateful night, Drake’s highly anticipated Views hit Apple Music and any rap fan with free time and at least one brain cell flocked to listen.
I have a vivid memory of being 94 seconds into the album, scrolling through Twitter and seeing an overabundance of “VIEWS IS A CERTIFIED CLASSIC” tweets sloppily painted all over my timeline. Little did these individuals know they were about to hear “Got so many chains they call me Chaining Tatum” in just a few minutes.
The album hadn’t even been out for 15 minutes. That’s not even a full episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Ya gotta wait AT LEAST one Grey’s Anatomy before you start making such grand statements about an album.
Even if you're the biggest Drake fan on Earth, it’d be ridiculous to call the album a classic before completing an entire first listen. Views is a really good album—which some might disagree with—but calling it a classic is like calling Woody Allen father of the year.
Whenever an artist releases a new project, all their diehards immediately sprint to social media and declare it a classic while they’re still halfway through the first track, but jumping to conclusions is a dangerous practice.
How do you know track five isn’t gonna suck?
How do you know track eight isn’t gonna be a poppy love song that rhymes “baby” with “baby”?
How do you know there isn’t a hidden track with a Taylor Swift feature where she tries to rap and drops the n-bomb?
We have no idea. We must not speak too soon.
We live in a time of fast-paced information and short attention spans. We don’t have the time or patience to fully digest art so we just immediately slap a giant, hyperbolic label on it and move on to the next one.
Calling an album a classic is a HEAVY statement—a statement that shouldn’t be made loosely. When we talk about a classic, we’re talking an album that’s influential yet timeless, and still bumps just as hard as it did on day one. I’m talking about albums like The College Dropout. Get Rich or Die Tryin'. Shrek: Music from the Original Motion Picture. Just to name a few.
We live in a day and age where we decide if we like an album before we even hear it. And it goes both ways. When Eminem’s Revival dropped, everyone was immediately calling it trash within minutes because they spent the past month talking about how awful it was going to be. We saw an Ed Sheeran feature on the tracklist and justifiably crapped in our hands and threw it at the nearest pedestrian.
Art can grow on us, or wear off on us. When I first heard Kanye’s “Only One” I despised it, but it eventually became a top five Ye song for me. When I first heard B.o.B’s “Airplanes” I liked it, but a month later I wanted to castrate myself with a plastic butter knife. When I first heard one of Kid Rock’s old rap albums, I hated it. But a few years later... yeah, I still hated it.
So what makes an album a classic? That’s a deep conversation for another time, but we definitely should wait a few years, at least, before we graduate an album to classic status. How about don’t be a hater or a dickrider, just let the music speak to you?
On a separate note, this article was an instant classic and arguably the greatest article in the history of the internet. I decided that halfway through writing the first sentence.