What Does "Feel No Ways" Mean? Drake's 'Views' Hit Has An Ambiguous Message
The fourth track on the new Drake album Views is called "Feel No Ways" and it's pretty cryptic. The title is a clear reference to the slang term (thought to hail from the West Indies), "feel no way," which according to Urban Dictionary, means "It is okay what you decide; don't feel pressure to do it one way or another." The content of the actual song's a little more opaque than the song's title. The lyrics tell the tale of a man who has been out of town a few months (Drake, right? Clue: it's Drake) and who has returned to a woman who's giving out all sorts of mixed messages. From the content and catchiness alone, it recalls another huge pop track, Justin Bieber's "What Do U Mean?"
But, while the woman he's addressing has been "Changing [her] opinion of me," her own uneasy emotional response to Drake mirrors his own conflicted response to her. Drake's that most postmodern of storytellers: the unreliable narrator. The track starts with him sounding all sorts of certain about the woman: "You got something that belongs to me." But a few lines on and he's no longer so sure: "There's more to life than sleeping in/And getting high with you."
Drake plays upon the title to emphasize the song's slipperiness. We first encounter the opposite of the titular phrase in the line "And now you're trying to make me feel a way, on purpose." He repeats it further along in the song in the chorus: "Feel a way, feel a way, young n*gga feel a way." The song's all about the opposite of the title: Drake feeling under pressure to behave a certain way.
We see this in the first verse, when he sings "I had to let go of us to show myself what I could do/And that just didn't sit right with you." Drake has clearly prioritized his career over his burgeoning relationship to prove himself — the implication is that the unnamed lady is now giving him the cold shoulder and "talking down on my name, on purpose" because of this.
What's an ambitious young rapper to do? If you're Drake, probably break up with her and then write an entire song all about it. Especially since he doesn't seem to take the lady in the song particularly seriously. There's this line: "Your body language says it all/Despite the things you said to me" and then once we make it to the chorus, we get "I've stopped listening to things you say/Cause you don't mean it anyway, yeah."
Yep. He's that guy, the one who mansplains to you what it is you're actually saying. Because he gets you better than you get yourself — you don't mean it anyway, babe. So is Drake chill enough to have written a song titled "Feel No Ways?" Honestly, probably not. But that's OK. Luckily, its sweet harmonies make a great counterpoint to its bitter subject matter.