Durant’s Best Option: Russell Westbrook

Now that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been embarrassed losing a best out of seven series to the Warriors after having  a 3-1 game lead – it’s time to talk about the future.  If you read every tweet posted on twitter, Kevin Durant is expected to meet with half of the NBA in the off-season.  Durant is the NBA’s hottest free agent piece in this year’s market and for good reason.  Durant is a former MVP, a four time scoring champion and a seven time All-Star, since his rookie campaign in 2008 – of which he won rookie of the year honors as well.


Durant has had a little more of an “attitude” accompanied by his game in the last two years or so, but it seems to suit him well.  He seems to have a more competitive drive and his goal to win an NBA Championship (or championships) have become quite clear.

Some thought that if the Oklahoma City Thunder won the Western Conference, it would solidify Durant’s ties to OKC.  Now, after a game seven loss, any and everything is up for discussion.  Durant has publicly said that he needs to talk with his inner circle to see all of his options, but in the meantime let’s help him out.

1. New York Knicks – They have Kristop Porzingus, who Durant has admitted to being a fan of, but is that enough for Durant to want to join this media circus led by the weirdest of all team presidents in the league, Phil Jackson?  K.D. has established his brand in Oklahoma City, so the bright lights and all that come with New York City, won’t mean a thing to him.

2. Golden State Warriors – Remember this rumor earlier this year?  If Golden State frees up the cap-room, they might be a team who Durant would consider. . . something just tells my above average intelligence K.D. is not down with the old “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mantra. . .


3. Philadelphia 76ers  – Apparently the Sixers want to win games now, and no longer tank for draft picks.  They want to make a pitch to K.D. and intrigue him with all the young talent they’ve acquired over the years.  Problem is, K.D. has seen how a good franchise can maintain their position and still acquire talent without tanking.  He has a nice blend of young and veteran players on OKC, so why’d he trade that for a bunch of “wet behind the ears, lottery picks.”

4. Washington Bullets – Yes, we call them the Bullets here, not the Wizards.  This team disappointed not only their fans, but even casual NBA fans this season. Playing alongside John Wall isn’t as appealing as playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Washington is really banking on the “home-coming” feel.  It’s the same feel, that brought LeBron James back to Cleveland.  The problem is, LeBron won his championships elsewhere “just in case” he doesn’t win them in Cleveland – and also LeBron was pretty much promised total control of the team.  K.D. doesn’t have any of those things in his back pocket.

5. Miami Heat – This one is “kind of” intriguing but only because of Pat Riley, who no doubt “can sell water to a whale,” to quote Jay-Z’s lyrics from “U Don’t Know”.   .  .

There are a few other teams with rumored interest like the Celtics and the Spurs, but smart money says that Kevin Durant with sign a two year deal with OKC, with a second year opt out clause.  As mentioned earlier, he wants a championship and this team has the tools to deliver that championship trophy on Durant’s mantle.  Other than Westbrook, the pieces that make up the Thunder are intriguing in Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka, and Andre Roberson.  It also would seem as if this team now has the right coach in Billy Donovan. If you exclude the ridiculously unrealistic options of San Antonio and Golden State – every other option for Kevin Durant moves him a step further from his goal of winning an NBA title.


The league is designed for star players to unite and win championships.  He won’t go anywhere else and find a better star to work with than Russell Westbrook.  Him and Russell have a great understanding of each other’s games and it would seem that they have a great respect for each other.  K.D. and Russ need to figure this thing out for themselves because if they separate, the road to winning a championship only becomes harder for each of them.

Smart money says Kevin Durant gives it at least another year with Russell Westbrook.  Maybe they both decided to stay in OKC for the long haul, maybe they decide to leave together and go somewhere else — maybe they decide to split up and start anew. . . Whatever the outcome, expect the media to be all over Durant’s travels in the off-season and in the end, expect a lot of teams to be left with nothing but a hefty dinner bill after Durant decides to stay put with the Thunder and Russell Westbrook.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio



“Thank You” Album Review

Meghan Trainor was a pleasant surprise in 2015.  Her debut album “Title” received an 8 out of 10 rating right here at GeeSteelio.Com  also (and probably more importantly. . .) she was the recipient of a Grammy award and two Billboard Awards.  “Title” had four top twenty singles including her smash hit “All About That Bass,” and she was popping up everywhere on television.    Trainor and her team have decided to strike while the iron is still hot and put together the “Thank You” project.

The appeal of “Title” was the fun tempo and production headed by Kevin Kadish who gave Trainor a modern day doo-wop feel that was successful and in my opinion – needed for today’s music industry.


Trainor’s production was mostly handled by Ricky Reed, who has worked with pop stars such as Pitbull, Jason DeRulo and Robin Thicke.  Reed’s skill set varies from Kadish’s in that, it’s very bass-drum-minded and much more like today’s “general” pop sound.  This is evident on tracks like “Woman Up” which has a Beyonce kind of feel to it, except our girl M-Train is definitely no Beyonce.  She handles the track well though, sounding soulful over a funk guitar riff during the verses and handles the Caribbean-like-transition on the bridge.  It’s a catchy enough song and easy listen that can work if marketed correctly.

“Better” is a track that works with Trainor’s skill set as well.  Her pen went to work on this one: “Finally blew up in my face/Crash and burnt to pieces/You got what you want from me/I gave you what you needed/I was warned but fooled by charm/And you deserve to be alone.”  She flexes perfectly on that fine line of every breakup where you’re hurt but know you have to move on with your life.  Yo Gotti makes an appearance on this song, for some odd reason, and it was just awkward and didn’t work.  If not for Gotti, this is was another song that could’ve worked perfectly for Trainor.


There are some points where Meghan Trainor’s quirkiness, which was a strong point in her campaign last year – kind of works against her and just comes off as corny.  On “Me Too” her flow sounds like a track Britney Spears put on the back burner years ago and aside from a cool dub-step like break before the second verse, this song comes off as “trying too hard” or just flat our annoying.  But nothing is more annoying than “NO”  which sounds like a cheap Destiny’s Child song.  Her verses aren’t terrible but the breaks and chorus are just unoriginal and lazy: “My name is NO, my sign is NO/my number is NO, you need to let it go, you need to let it go, Need to let it go/ Nah to the ah to the no, no, no.”

This album is more of a copy cat album than anything else – which is further proven by the Pharrell sounding “I Love Me.”   This is a song that probably would’ve worked if Pharrell himself was on it, but LunchMoney Lewis must’ve been all that the budget on this album could afford so it comes off like a total jack-move. . .

The last three tracks make the ending to the “Thank You” album one of the sappiest and cheesiest endings to an album you’ll ever hear.  “Mom,” “Friends” and “Thank You” are the epitome of song-writing 101 and we’ve come to expect more from Trainor (yes, already.)  “Mom” is heartfelt and you can feel the love for her mother but with lyrics like “You might have a mom, she might be the bomb/But ain’t nobody got a mom like mine/Her love’s ’til the end, she’s my best friend.”  Calm down there, M-Train. . . “Friends” is terrible as one would assume as she tells the listener that “No one is gonna love me like they do.”  


When “Title” producer Kevin Kadish finally makes an appearance on the album it’s a luke-warm reception.  He definitely brings the production that was missed on the “Thank You” project and it is more likened to the sound that made Meghan famous on the “Title” album.  But with a title to a song like “Dance Like Yo Daddy” one isn’t going to expect (nor receive) Mozart. . .

“Kindly Calm Me Down” is the song that could potentially save this album’s campaign from being a complete disaster.  The echoing piano track accompanied later by the rolling drums and impressively aggressive snare work well with Trainor’s vulnerability: “When my heart’s not pure/Would you kill my disease?/And when there’s no cure
You are just what I need/When I lose my mind/Would you still remind me?/When I’m feeling lost/Would you come and find me?”   This is the best she has ever sounded vocally, and she really attacks the beat at the end with emotionally charged intent.


All in all, this album should’ve never happened.  It seems like a rushed project, that there was no need for.  There are a lot of unoriginal sounds,melodies and ideas that just don’t flow together well for a complete sound on “Thank You.”  If the folks at Epic for some stupid reason DO NOT release “Kindly Calm Me Down” as a single – this album will be a huge disappointment for an artist that saw such a meteoric rise just a year ago.

I’m still in Meghan’s corner, but better decisions have to be made in her future regarding music.

Rating 4.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio


Three Potential First-Round Busts

It’s never nice to predict which of these kids will become a “bust.”  It’s a harsh title to bequeath upon a youngster who has his entire future/career ahead of him, BUT – it happens.  Some are noticeably horrendous like Jamarcus Russell, while others suffer injuries and personal setbacks like Brian Bosworth.  Whatever happens in the future, let’s just make it clear – I’m not wishing for the worse, just predicting it.

DeForest Buckner, DE,49ers, Seventh Overall Pick:


This isn’t even Buckner’s fault as much as it where he came from (Oregon) and where he landed (San Francisco).   There are only two names that come to mind when one thinks of successful Oregon Ducks selected in the first round, Haloti Ngata and Kyle Long (and Long, at the time, was a real reach for Chicago in the first round. . .).  Dion Jordan proved to be a bust in Miami and the 49ers drafted Arik Armstead out of Oregon last year . . .  it’s apparent they were so impressed by Armstead’s mediocrity that they decided to roll the dice on another Oregon Duck in DeForest Buckner.  Buckner is a “stiff” player with very little fluidity in his game.  He lacks that aggressive nature you’d want from the edge and his instincts are a second too slow or just wrong altogether.  His potential will rot away on a team that is currently a sinking ship.

Eli Apple, CB, New York Giants, Tenth Pick Overall:


The Giants appeared to be a mess on the first day of the draft.  They acted as if they didn’t have time to plan, or the date just “snuck up on them.”  The Bears jumped in front of the Giants and took OLB Leonard Floyd from Georgia, who was someone the Giants had their eyes on and then something weird happened.  The Giants decided to draft a corner back and instead of going for Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, they went with Ohio State’s Eli Apple.  I get it, from a public relations standpoint it’s cute to say things like “Another Eli in the Big Apple” but in the football world, this was a confusing pick.  Eli Apple was second-team all conference.  He plays in the Big Ten.  He went up against maybe 3 good quarterbacks all year and plays on one of the best defensive units in college football. . . and with all that, this first round pick was “second-team” all conference.   He has slow reaction times, and gets beat a lot.  He’ll have his hands full with the Redskins and Cowboys receiving cores — he’ll even struggle with the likes of Jordan Matthews of Philadelphia.  This is a situation where the Giants went for need and not best player available.  Although the best player available was probably Vernon Hargreaves who plays the same position.  There is a good chance that on the night of the draft, general manager Jerry Reese was drunk.

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams, First Pick Overall:


First pick overall Jared Goff has some interesting foot-notes on his resume: In the 2015 season he struggled against Washington, struggled against USC and looked pitiful against Utah.  What do those three teams have in common?  They all have athletic, talented defenses with NFL-ready guys on them.  Something else that hits a nerve when looking at Goff’s resume – he never beat Stanford.  Now, I’m far from the guy who puts wins and losses on a quarterback, but the bottom line is, Stanford is a very blue collar and aggressive team – and he couldn’t figure them out.  He holds the ball for too long if you watch his tape;  and he benefited from the world of college football where you can zip a pass right off the snap from the shotgun/pistol.  He has “the look”, has the strong arm and talks a good game but the Rams didn’t draft their franchise quarterback this time around.  They drafted a guy who can “fill in” at best – until a better option comes along.  Having Todd Gurley in the backfield should help him out, but teams are going to stack the box all year and force him to come out from under center and deliver passes to, what is, a below average receiving core in Los Angeles.  Truth be told, his best option may be fellow rookie Tyler Higabee out of Western Kentucky – but he’s a rookie, who’s off the field decision making is a huge question and will have to prove himself against veteran tight end Lance Hendricks.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio



3 Immediate Impact First Rounders

Every year in the NFL draft there are players who will be stars, players who will play a role and players who will “bust.”  When a young man is a first round pick in the NFL draft, there is a certain aura around that player.  He is expected to help a team get to the next level, or even carry them into a new era.  This is a lot to put on the shoulders of a kid straight out of frat-parties, juggling girlfriends and handing in a science lab on time.  When you’re a star though, you welcome that pressure and are excited to see how well you will be in the NFL.  Here are three players taken in the first round who will have a positive impact on their teams from week one.

Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys, Fourth Pick in the Draft


This one is the most obvious choice.  The Cowboys thought they could lose Demarco Murray and replace him with just about anybody behind that offensive line.  Joseph Randle was the one people though would carry the torch, but he proved himself to be a knucklehead (for lack of better words) and Lance Dunbar proved to be “just a guy” on the roster.  They were lucky enough to take a gamble on Darren McFadden last year, when most teams in the league didn’t want to touch the often-injured back.  McFadden carried the ball for over a 1000 yards, but to expect that again would be asking for a lot.  The Cowboys signed Alfred Morris to a deal which many thought would be enough.  The pairing of Morris and McFadden behind the offensive line seemed to be a match that could work but the Cowboys, like most gunslingers in the wild west would think – there is never enough ammunition.  Looking at his play in college, Elliot has the abilities to transcend himself in the league to be a top-five back in the NFL today.  That’s something McFadden can’t say, and Morris – well to be nice, he could be a top ten back. . .

Many thought that Dallas should upgrade their defense with this pick, but the Cowboys realized one young player on their defense won’t help to satisfy all their woes, so they decided to stockpile on the offensive side of the ball where they can do their damage.  Elliot can give the Cowboys a running game closer to what they had with Murray, which will make this offense one of the best in the league (of course this all goes hand in hand with keeping quarterback Tony Romo healthy, but a strong running game will leave the veteran QB less vulnerable.)

Predicted Stat line: 1,350 Rushing  Yards, 10 Rushing Touchdowns, 4.8 yards per carry

Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona Cardinals, Thirtieth Pick in the Draft


If it wasn’t for “character concerns,” Nkmediche would have been a top ten pick, easily.  This was a smart move by the Cardinals who have a good roster as is, and were only looking for most pass rushers, particularly from the inside.  NFL.com has him listed as a defensive tackle, but his athleticism and quickness will no doubt see him attacking from the outsides more.  He is an aggressive pass rusher who uses his athleticism and balance well against the opposition.  If Nkemdiche can’t work with head coach Bruce Arians, who is without a doubt one of the best in the NFL, then he won’t be able to work with any coach in this league.  This is a great landing spot for Nkemdiche who is used to a winning tradition with talent around him and now he has that same formula at the next level where his skills should show an immediate impact.

Predicted Stat Line:  7 sacks, 80 tackles

Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns, Fifteenth Pick in the Draft


Although the best receiver of this class is Laquon Treadwell, who got drafted by the Vikings with the twenty-third pick overall – it’s Coleman who will be more heavily relied on in the Browns offense.  Where Treadwell has Adrian Peterson, Coleman has Isiah Crowell and Duke Johnson. . . Where Treadwell has Teddy Bridgewater, Coleman has RG3 and/or Josh McCown.  In other words, everything around Coleman is inconsistent where Treadwell is steady.  This is good and bad for Coleman.  Bad because, well. . . the Browns are bad.  There is just no other way around it.  The good news for Coleman though,  is that he is already the team’s best wide receiver and outside of left tackle Joe Thomas, he is also the teams best offensive weapon.  Coleman is the type to make a catch and immediately tries to make something big happen.  McCown and/or RG3 are both capable enough at the quarterback position (and smart enough) to get the ball into Coleman’s hands as much as they can.  If RG3 happens to catch half the magic he played with in his rookie year, Coleman will put up monster numbers.  He’s a deep threat, and chances are the Browns will be faced with a lot of second and long and third and long situations. . . they’ll also be playing from behind a lot. .  .  . so there’s that.  . .

Predicted Stat line: 85 catches, 1235 yards, 7 touchdowns

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Analyzing the Bears Draft

Now that we’ve had time to let it all sink in maybe we can just be real.  Maybe now we can speak realistically in terms of expectations that come with the Chicago Bears’ 2016 rookie class.   Do we really have future stars?  Did we really come away with a steal in the draft?  Truth is, only time will tell.

Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd poses for a photo, after taking questions from reporters at Halas Hall, Friday April 29, 2016. He said he s very happy he landed with the bears, who have a great defensive history. (Tribune photo/Abel Uribe)

First Round Pick – Leonard Floyd OLB, Georiga

Personally, this is the guy I wanted the Bears to take and they jumped a spot ahead of the New York Giants to do it.  At 6’6″ and 244 pounds, Bears fans are hoping for something along the lines of Aldon Smith, without all the mental baggage.   In the Bears 3-4 scheme, it would be expected for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to place Floyd, all over the field and exploit his athleticism as a straight-pass-rusher.  He gets a little lost when he drops back into zone coverage which might be a concern early, unless he picks up the NFL’s speed at a fast rate.  Regardless, he’s quick enough to recover and will be a disturbance to the oppositions outside rush attacks.  A lot of people are judging Floyd because of his size – or lack thereof – but in truth, that will either come in time, or his lack of bulk will actually become a positive in the long run.  The NFL has become a faster place, which is why Lloyd is a perfect hybrid-type of player for the Bears to have in this defense moving forward.


Second Round – Cody Whitehair G, Kansas State

Let’s all be honest, although Whitehair is a need and will probably be a starter from day one, let’s not forget – he’s our consolation prize.  The Bears were hoping to land Indiana tackle, Jason Spriggs but the Green Bay Packers (like the snakes we know they are) jumped ahead of us and took him.  This action left us to go with the next best man on the offensive line list  which happened to be Cody Whitehair.  Whitehair is an instinctive linemen who was able to give his quarterback, Luke Falk, a lot of time in their pass heavy attack. With Grasu at center, Kyle Long at right guard and Whitehair at left guard (although he played tackle in Washington State) – the Bears might have the nucleus of their offensive line set for years to come.

Third Round – Jonathan Bullard DE, Florida

Another instinctive player, but this one is on the defensive side of the ball.   Lance Zierlin of NFL.com had him going in the second round of the draft, so right there shows value in this pick.  He’s another “lack of size” guy, but the Bears are getting what they want in this defense – athleticism and speed.  The Florida Gators have had one of the most blue-collar and grittier defenses over the last three years and it’s because of players like Bullard.  He was a sure tackler in college and should really find his way nicely.


Fourth Round – Nick Kwiatkoski ILB,  West Virginia

Here is one of those “depth-guy” picks.  It’s not a knock on Kwiatkoski – just don’t expect him to be Mike Singletary out there. He’s a tough kid, with a nose for the ball.  He converted from safety to linebacker successfully in school and was a leader on the field.  The issue with Kwiatkoski is that he is used to just knocking guys down and not really wrapping them up and he’ll surely get gobbled up by offensive linemen more than we’ll ever see him run through them.

Fourth Round -Deiondre’ Hall, CB/FS, Northern Iowa

This was another one of those guys I really was glad to see the Bears get.  Hall has freakishly long arms at his position (34″ arms to go with his 9.5″ sized hands) and standing at 6’2″ it only adds to his full extension when he leaps.  He doesn’t have the speed or technique to become a number one or number two corner in the league and although his frame is a bit under what one would want a safety to be – his skill set is a better fit for the position.  He’s a physical player who will be a starter in this league.  To get him in the fourth round is a steal.  He’ll be the one to keep your eyes on this year.  . .

Fifth Round – Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana

He has a pretty boring name and comes from a pretty boring program, but Howard is a strong north-south rusher who you could argue – was one of the top five backs in this year’s draft.  Of course we all know running backs are not valued like they once were, but Bears coach John Fox is known to use the running game to open things up and he is also known for mix and matching his backs.  Howard was able to put up big numbers against stout competition, but he also ran behind a pretty good offensive line in college.

Sixth Round -Deiondre Houston-Carson, FS , William & Mary

I wont even pretend as if I know anything about anybody from William & Mary, but it looks like he converted from corner back to free safety and was a beast playing both positions at the FCS level.  When it comes to these small school athletes it’s just hard to gauge  how good they’ll become based on their level of competition in college.


7th Round – Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan

Last season, the Western Michigan Broncos  were  a program that put up points in bunches.  Braverman added to that with his 108 catches and over 1300 receiving yards.  The comparisons to Julian Edelman and Wes Welker have been made hundreds of times and it’s because at 5’10” and 175 pounds, the only thing he can be is a slot receiver.  Then again, Braverman proved while in college he’ll line up just about anywhere.  He has great hands, always looking to gain yards after the catch and has great footwork.  He will definitely push guys like Eddie Royal and Marquis Wilson when it comes to getting that slot position locked down – he’s also a pretty good special teams player – so Marc Mariani’s days in Chicago may be coming to an end soon.

Undrafted: Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard

This was an intriguing signing after the draft.  Braunecker was rated by the Wall Street Journal as the best player at the NFL combine.  He destroyed the Ivy league, but that’s because he’s the biggest guy standing in a room with a  bunch of lawyers – let’s be honest.  Still though, he shows great abilities as a pass catching tight end and if we look at the tight end depth chart on the Bears it reads something like Zach Miller, Khari Lee and Rob Housler.  Although Miller showed flashes last year, to just think that’ll be him week in and week out is insanity.  Braunecker is obviously smart enough to understand an NFL playbook and it shouldn’t surprise anybody to see him make the 53 man roster this year.


This Bears draft was intriguing.  They did away with the “traditionalist” way of football thinking and decided to go for athletes they could plug in their positions of need.  It’s clear that general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have a plan and they’re sticking to it.  This is a draft class  Bears fans should be excited about.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


The “Filthy As Ever” Eagles

Remember when Andy Reid coached the Eagles?   The fans in Philadelphia were almost guaranteed a 10 win season.  They even expected playoff success.  Sure, there wasn’t a Super Bowl win during Andy Reid’s reign, but there was a successful and confident stability within the organization.   When Reid was told that his services were no longer needed, Eagles fans were elated with the hiring of then, Oregon Ducks head coach, Chip Kelly.  Chip Kelly never delivered the high flying offense that was promised to Philadelphia but did finish 10-6 in his first two seasons.  The third season is when turmoil grew within the organization under Kelly, and after going 6-9, the Eagles were done with Kelly.


The off-season found the Eagles dumping any remains of the Kelly era throughout the league.  Ridding the Eagles of players that Kelly signed to the team.  This was an impressive move by the Eagles in terms of cleaning up shop, but it also left them with one of the worse rosters in the NFL.

Now what’s left of the Philadelphia Eagles?  Not much.

The Eagles made a head scratching move in trading up in this year’s draft to take North Dakota State quarterback, Carson Wentz.  It was head scratching because for a team with so many holes in it they gave up a lot.  They gave up three picks in this year’s draft including their first rounder, next year’s first rounder and 2018’s second round pick.


Let’s consider the potential drama that will unfold in Philadelphia.

Current quarterback Sam Bradford wants out of Philly and although he was just handsomely paid by the Eagles, he feels ‘insulted’ to some degree and wants out.   Bradford got grossly over-paid at the tune of 2 years for $36 million – he is barely average and the Eagles paid him like a franchise guy.  With that price tag many teams in the league are not interested so it should be an interesting stale-mate.  The Eagles want Wentz to sit down for a year and then start the following season, but if this situation with Bradford doesn’t ease up, the Eagles will be throwing the rookie to the wolves.

Wentz might be a kid with potential, but the “right now” says he’s a FCS quarterback who played weak competition and has no idea what the speed of the NFL holds for him.  Add to the fact that his best weapon is a second year receiver in Jordan Matthews; and that he will be guided by a rookie head coach in Doug Pederson (who by the way was the offensive coordinator for none other than Andy Reid).


The Eagles, if they’re lucky will win four games this season and they can’t even cash in on the one benefit of being terrible – cashing in with an early first round pick, because it was traded away.  Sorry, Carson Wentz – you’re not getting any help, any time soon.

If the Eagles could do it all over again, Andy Reid would’ve stayed in Philly.  All the Eagles did in the last three years is confuse a fan base, lose a culture and make themselves look foolish.  They will once again be at the bottom of the NFC East looking up to the Redskins, Cowboys and even the Giants.

The Philadelphia fans are known to be the most rowdy and insane in the sports world, so it should be interesting to see what kind of revolution happens in the city of brotherly love when the Filadelfia Feebles take the field this year.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

“Views” Album Review

Drake is the king of the new school movement.  His style has spawned many “sound-a-likes” and “copy-cats.”  His recent “beef” with Meek Mill, established Drake as not only a song-writer but also as an MC who can “get up in someone” if he needs to.  Drake’s confidence is at an all time high and it should be.  Every song he releases on line is all the hip hop world buzzes about for weeks and any artist who can afford a feature spot by Drizzy, will see their numbers rise because of the “Drake Effect.”

“Views” which many of us were led to believe the title was actually going to be “Views From the 6” when released, finds Drake at amoment in his career that he can pretty much do no wrong.


Drake continues to pay homage to his hometown Toronto on “9.”   Drake typically refers to Toronto as “the 6” but in this twist Drake explains: “Keeping people fed is my only piece of mind now/And i turned the six upside down, it’s a nine now.”   Drake’s attitude on “9” is very nonchalant, although he talks about being the one that people want to hate on all the while being the artist that has to continually to hold his city down and hold it up to the spot light.  Drake’s confidence has always been a strong point and even when folks try to bring him down, he loves to remind them that he’s in a position in life that they’d kill to be in.  He continues to reference his hometown on the track “Weston Road Flows.”  It’s here where Drake does his version of “going in” as he spits straight with no hook for nearly four minutes, and does it to his trademark OVO sound produced by 40.  Once again, Drake drops gems to remind his haters, that he is just who they want to be: “I’m looking at they first week numbers like ‘what are those?’/ I mean you boys not even coming close. . . you don’t be scoring perfect/you don’t be workin how we be workin/you platinum like wrappers on a Hershey’s boy that sh*t is worthless/you get the message over and over like it was urgent/and then act like you aint heard it when you see me in person.”

Drake goes his hardest on “Hype” where it seems he still is tossing jabs at Meek Mill: “last year i know you learned your lesson/I could GPS you if you need addressin’ /Boss up, I’m the bigger homie. . .”   Drake has mastered the obnoxious-on-top of the world persona and lyrically he can still lay gems in a verse, but his flows become repetitive.  On “Hype” he spits a bar rapidly, ending his tone on a higher pitch, takes a one second breath and goes right back to it.  This is one of Drake’s flows.  The other is when he basically sounds like he’s talking and is bored telling his own story.   He does this on the annoying “U With Me” in which he flips the old DMX hook on “How’s It Goin’ Down.”  His babbling is enough to make the listener lose interest quickly and his switch from rapping to singing is more awkward than it is clever.


“Redemption” is a lack luster production effort by Noah “40” Shebib and Drake does nothing to lift the track or pump any life into it.   It’s five minutes of audio that is nothing short of dry and plain.  That “dry and plain” feeling continues (quite ironically) on the track titled “Fire and Desire,” which is Drake’s love ballad to some degree on “Views.”   The lyrics fall short on “Fire and Desire” as well: “You never believe me/Told you I got Zs for these other girls, sleepin on em/Girl I’m sleepy/ sometimes I’m so indecisive.”

“Grammys” teams Drake back up with Future  and it only further proves that the idea of these two working together is a lot better than the actual product they produce.  Future repeats the line “They gonna think I won a Grammy” somewhere in the field of thirteen hundred times, but that should come as no surprise.  That’s unfortunately part of Future’s whole. . . thing that he does. . .


Another sound that Drake seems to have fallen in love with is the dance-hall feel.  He teams with Rihanna again on “Too Good” which is sure to become another hit.  Drake should really consider dropping the collaborations with Future and focus more on his chemistry with Ri-Ri.   “One Dance,” “Controlla” and “With You” all have the potential to become radio hits because of the club/ Caribbean feel to the tracks.   There is nothing special lyrically on these tracks and the breaks in the song are nothing drastic.   And therein lies the problem with “Views.”

Drake seems too comfortable musically.  Because his fans are dedicated and come in large numbers – he feels he can drop anything and it has the potential to become a hit.  When you’re an artist at the top of the game, you raise the bar for yourself and your peers – instead of sticking to his script, Drake needs to step outside of the box and deliver something different.  Is it fair to expect something like that from Drake – yes and no.  If you want to keep bragging about how you’re untouchable, prove it by further separating yourself from the crowd, instead of re-creating the same songs over and over again.

Let it be clear – the album is not bad.  It’s just what we expect from him and nothing more.  The lack-luster production and Drake’s sudden obsession with island sounds is the backbone of this OVO project.  This project might be his most streamed or valued in his discography because of the radio friendly tracks – but with Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole laying down projects that might be their best for some time, Drake had to do the same.

Drake has the ability to still throw in some clever lines as he did on “Child’s Play,”: “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake/you know i love to go there/Say I’m actin’ lightskin, I can’t take you nowhere/This is a place for families that drive Camry’s and go to Disney.”   Still there are times when his lyrics are awkward and almost spoil a song, like he did on the album’s opener “Keep the Family Close,”:“Always saw you for what you could’ve been/Ever since you met me/Like when Chrysler made that one car that looked just like the Bentley.”   Eh.  The shame is, “Keep the Family Close” had the production and sound that this album should’ve been built around but alas it wasn’t.   “Keep the Family Close” opens up the album so well, that the album itself becomes a disappointment as you listen on because nothing else sounds like it.

Rating 6.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio