Views already a classic,” announces Drake on “Hype”, a song on his latest and fourth overall album, formerly known as Views from the 6. In a way, he’s right, though “already” is the key word. When you have as many committed supporters as almost any other artist in popular music, you can be pretty confident that at least a few hundred thousand of them are going to adore your new record. (And for what it’s worth, the album is projected to sell around a million copies in its first week.) That’s to say nothing of Drake’s always persuasive confidence in his delivery, his ability to completely sell even his goofiest lyrics. Sometimes, it seems like the guy can’t miss. Accordingly, Views’ biggest competition might just be the rest of his own catalog.

While Drake calls himself “the most successful rapper 35 and under” on the lush, Mary J. Blige-sampling standout “Weston Road Flows”, Views arrives at a time when he’s blending rap, R&B, and pop more freely than ever. He’s one of the most successful singers 35 and under, too. Last year’s “Hotline Bling” was one of his biggest hits to date despite being rap-free, while Rihanna’s Drake-featuring “Work” is finally dropping down the Hot 100 after spending nine weeks at the top. Neither song is on the 19-track Views (“Bling” is in the 20 slot as a bonus track), but when was the last time Drake seemed short on melodies and hooks? Views already has one huge hit in the form of “One Dance”, and more are inevitable. “Feel No Ways” is the purest pop song here, and the Rihanna-assisted “Too Good” isn’t far behind. The question with Drake, though, isn’t whether he can keep making hits. It’s whether he can continue to evolve and remain one of music’s leading influencers.

He must be aware of that, because he rarely seems preoccupied with sheer catchiness on Views. So much of the 80-minute album is the opposite of the taut songwriting on “One Dance”, “Feel No Ways”, and “Too Good”. That was bound to happen given that Drake has too much on his mind here to fit it all into neat package after neat package. His love life, whether that means being unable to commit to someone who wants him or else getting friend-zoned by someone he desires, is bothering him more than ever. On the album’s opener, the lavish “Keep the Family Close”, his fame is the issue standing in the way of lasting romance: “You judged me before you met me, yeah, it figures/ I make all the players’ anthems for the real niggas.” On the syrupy “Redemption”, he’s worried about being exposed for one shortcoming or another: “Sell my secrets and get top dollar/ Sell my secrets for a Range Rover.” That kind of bluntness in his lyrics ends up being more effective than his attempts at cleverness, which, with exceptions, typically feel too simple and obvious (“I had your back when all you used to do was front,” stuff like that).

During Drake’s occasional rambling and the album’s slower moments, Views can start to feel overlong and disjointed, but one positive is how a song might do something totally different than the one before or after. That’s due to both Drake’s vocal versatility and the talents of the featured artists and producers here. Calling himself “first take Drake” on “Weston Road Flows”, his precision at the microphone has never been more impressive than it is throughout Views. Though he’s not always on-point (his flow during the verses to “9”, for example, gets to be a bore), he’s close enough. Combine that with the immaculate production, and Views consistently sounds like a superstar and his elite group of collaborators operating at peak performance. Aside from Drake’s right-hand man, Noah “40” Shebib, production contributions come from Kanye West, Southside, Majid Jordan’s Jordan Ullman, and many more. While much of the album has the icy, stripped-down feel of past Drake songs, there are also refreshing sounds here, as Drizzy’s taste for Afropop and dancehall is increasingly apparent. He’s branching out.

As for relatively straightforward, electrifying rap bangers? “Hype” is one, the Future-featuring “Grammys” is another, and the closing title track is yet another. They’re all good, but if Views were entirely comprised of songs like those, it would feel like Drake were regressing, less of an adventurous music connoisseur than he’s been in the past. Instead, it’s an album of various colors and dispositions that come together well enough, getting extra wins from its guests (including, by the way, the late Pimp C on “Faithful”). At the center of it all is, of course, Aubrey Drake Graham, whose place at the height of the music world seems secure for now. Given all the resources he has, the album may have been too big to fail, but he’s still maintained enough of his unique talent that it’s unlikely anyone could have done it better.

Edgar Lungu Defends Ministers

LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who faces a tough election challenge in August, defended on Friday an amendment to the constitution that allowed ministers to remain in office after parliament dissolved this week.

Ministers are members of parliament, and have previously vacated their offices when the assembly breaks up. The opposition fears letting them stay in place will give the government more leverage in campaigning in the southern African nation, a major producer of copper.

Lungu, who won a disputed presidential election last year after his predecessor Michael Sata died in office, told a televised news conference that the ministerial arrangement was constitutional.

“I am not insisting that ministers remain in office so that we can use government resources,” he said in response to a question, adding that he was very confident of victory.

Having served out the rest of what would have been Sata’s term, Lungu, a lawyer, faces a new presidential vote in August, as well as parliamentary elections in which his Patriotic Front will be challenged by the United Party for National Development led by economist Hakainde Hichilema.

Zambia is Africa’s second-biggest copper producer but its economy has been hit by falling world demand, primarily due to a slowdown in China.

Lungu said he expected inflation, currently running at almost 22 percent, to slow to single digits “within months”, without elaborating on how this would be achieved.

He said Zambia’s budget deficit had averaged 4.8 percent of GDP in the last two years but was expected to fall to around 3 percent in the medium term, starting next year.

“Having addressed the infrastructure backlog, future deficits will be lower, averaging around 3 percent of GDP in the medium term,” Lungu said.

Rainfall had greatly improved and Zambia expected a recovery in electricity generation, which had dropped due to low water levels at hydropower plants, he said.

And diversification away from the copper sector meant economic growth was seen accelerating slightly to 3.7 percent in 2016 from 3.5 percent last year.

“This performance will largely be driven by agriculture, construction and tourism,” Lungu said.

On the agricultural front, Zambia has fared better than its neighbours amid a regional drought, with production of the staple maize crop forecast to rise to 2.87 million tonnes this year from 2.6 million tonnes last year. [nL5N18126H]

But maize prices have still risen steeply, and Lungu said the government had been advised not to bring in price controls to make the staple more affordable. He did not specify who gave this advice.

Zambia said last month it had agreed targets with the International Monetary Fund, preparing the way for an aid programme by the fourth quarter of the year. It started talks with the Fund in March after both sides agreed the budget deficit was not sustainable. [nL5N17P0JA]

(Editing by James Macharia and Mark Trevelyan)

[HOT BANGER] Exquizite Vybez – Function Guy (Prod. Slum Sage)

Exquizite Vybez is argueably one of the most talented versatile international acts Zambia is yet to witness. His new single “Function Guy” is a must listen, we consider this may end up as one of the top 5 afrobeat tracks of 2016. Enjoy!


They raised eyebrows when they called their
first child North – and now Kim Kardashian
and Kanye West have chosen an equally
unusual name for their second offspring.
The 35-year-old reality TV star and her rapper
husband, 38, have announced on her website
that their baby boy has been called Saint West.
The brother to the pair’s two-year-old daughter
North was born on Saturday.
Kardashian revealed the baby news on her

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A man’s weight affects the information passed
on through his sperm and could leave his
children predisposed to obesity, research in
Denmark suggests.
The sperm cells of lean and obese men possess
different epigenetic marks, maybe changing the
behaviour of genes.
Dr Romain Barres, the author of the study, said:
“When a woman is pregnant she should take care
of herself.
“But if the implication of our study holds true,
then recommendations should be directed
towards men too.”
Part of the research – which was carried out by
the University of Copenhagen and published in
the journal Cell Metabolism – tested the sperm
of six obese men who were undergoing weight-
loss surgery.
Appetite control
It looked at the men’s sperm before treatment, a
week after the surgery and then for a third time a
year later.
Dr Barres said changes to the sperm were
noticeable in the men a week after the surgery,
and also one year on.
He said although the genetic make-up of the
sperm cells was likely to remain the same, he
noticed “epigenetic changes”, which could change
the way a gene expresses itself in the body.
Dr Barres admits a definitive scientific conclusion
for how these epigenetic changes affect the gene
is not yet scientifically known.
However, the sperm cell changes he recorded are
linked to the genes known for appetite control
and brain development.
The five-year study also recorded similar sperm
cell changes when it compared 13 lean men – who
all had a BMI of below 30 – with 10 moderately
obese men.
‘Significant differences’

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