Drake’s ‘Views’ Finished Just Hours Before Release? Chris Athens Says Album Changed ‘Last Minute’

Drake may be basking in the success of his fourth studio album release, Views, which reportedly sold 851,000 copies in its first week alone, but was Drake’s highly anticipated album finished with just hours to spare before its April 29 release date? According to Chris Athens, who mastered Drake’s previous releases Nothing Was The Same and If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Views was being changed “right up until literally the last minute.”

In a new interview with MTV, Athens opens up about the process of putting the finishing touches on Drake’s new album in addition to revealing that he had a mere 48 hours to master Views before it was expected to make its OVO Sound Radio and Apple Music debut.

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When asked what it was like to work on Views, Athens explains that he received the unfinished album just 48 hours prior to its release before noting that the album underwent changes until “literally the last minute.”

“We got the music maybe 48 hours before it was supposed to be released, and we ended up changing everything about 12 hours before it was supposed to be released,” Athens explains of Drake’s Views, noting, “I was sending the masters to the label and the label was like, ‘Come on, we’re waiting.’ It was as late as you could possibly get.”

Speaking on the 48-hour deadline for Views, Athens explains that he received “placeholders” for the tracks as Drake and his team were working “sleeplessly” to put the finishing touches on the album.

“I’m getting placeholders that aren’t gonna be the final thing,” Chris Athens continues, “I had an idea of what we were going to do going into the last day, before it was released at midnight, but I didn’t have the final files. They were still sleeplessly working on the stuff.”

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In addition, Athens admits that while he had only one weeks’ notice of his involvement in the project, he felt the last-minute notice was “partially intentional.”

“I didn’t find out until the week before. It’s very last minute and, again, I think that’s partially intentional. They’ll tell me a week in advance, ‘Hey man, sorry to do this to you, but we need you this weekend.’ So I’m like, ‘OK, here we go, Drake record! It’s gonna be a barnburner.’ Because it had a hard release date.”

Despite the last-minute arrival of the mastered version of Views, the album was ready just in time for its previously scheduled April 28 debut on OVO Sound Radio before being officially released on Apple Music at midnight on April 29.

While Drake’s team may have felt the pressure to finalize the rapper’s fourth studio album within hours of its debut, it looks like the group’s hard work is already paying off; according to Billboard, Views successfully sold 851,000 copies in its first week in the U.S., making it Drake’s best sales week to date and the biggest sales week for any album in 2016 thus far.

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The news comes on the heels of reports suggesting that Drake will appear as a guest on The Tonight Show on Thursday, May 12, leading some fans to speculate over whether or not Drake will be performing some new material on the NBC-based talk show.

According to Hot New Hip Hop, Meghan Trainor is listed as the musical guest for The Tonight Show‘s May 12 program; however, the “One Dance” rapper is listed as the musical guest for his May 14 appearance on Saturday Night Live, although it’s unclear what tracks Drake may perform off of his new album.

What do you think of Chris Athens’ comments about working on Drake’s Views?

[Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]