Drake Offers a Wide Variety on Playlist ‘More Life’
The ever-prolific, ubiquitous Drake returns with yet another project, playlist-album ‘More Life.’ More Life features a star-studded guest list.
Drake is quite the prolific musician, without question. Equally adept at rapping at singing, his balancing act as an artist doesn’t change on latest project, More Life. More Life isn’t billed as an album, but rather a playlist. Perhaps what’s interesting about this playlist is the fact that it is commercially available whereas many playlists are streaming only. Truly, More Life does sound more like a playlist than an album, but it has its triumphant moments.
“Free Smoke” kicks off More Life in electrifying fashion. Following a sample-driven introduction, hard drums and ferocious rhymes by Drake take over. It is great to hear him come out swinging, initially giving More Life punch. Essentially, he raps about his come-up, giving the opening banger more authenticity.
“Yeah, I couldn’t get a bill paid / You couldn’t buy the real things / I was stayin’ up at yo place / Tryin’ to figure the whole thing out…/ But we all so spoiled now / More life, more everything.”
“No Long Talk,” featuring British rapper Giggs, finds Drake employing Jamaican patois, for better or worse. This is an acquired taste – some will love it while others will hate it. Ultimately, it’s no harm, no foul. Positively, the MC keeps things edgy, with tough-minded rhymes matching malicious-sounding production work.
Standout “Passionfruit” has a smoother sound than either “Free Smoke” or “No Long Talk,” employing the vibe of “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Like “Hold On,” Drake sings as opposed to rapping. This marks the return of the more sensitive side of the musician, which he delivers effectively. The “Jorja Interlude” follows, contrasting the passionate “Passionfruit” with more oomph. Even so, the production still has a cool, calm, and collected sound, aided by harmonica (Stevie Wonder).
“Get Together,” featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith, is another tropical-infused urban-pop record from Drake. These records tend to be polarizing. Considering that “Get Together” is positioned in the same vein as “One Dance,” it’s another potential love it or hate it moment. Ultimately, it’s great background music, but perhaps a bit too sleepy to necessarily be a truly memorable, cutting edge Drake record. Still, the groove is undeniable.
“Madiba Riddim” keeping things tropical. To the credit of the record, like “Get Together,” the groove is infectious AF. Drizzy reflects on a lack of trust since acquiring fame. Essentially, on the hook, he suggests he needs to learn how to love again.
“I cannot tell who is my friend / I need distance between me and them / Gonna have to teach me how to love you again / God knows I’m trying / God knows I’m trying for you.”
“Blem” continues Drake’s fixation on the Islands – being from “the 6” and all – with similar results. “Blem” is enjoyable, without necessarily showing innovation or progression. One thing’s for sure – he “Blem for real/ I might just show how I feel.”
“4422” brings Sampha (“Blood On Me”) along for the ride. Actually, Drake never appears on the record. As always, Sampha blesses the track with his distinctive, beautiful vocals. Drake returns hard on “Gyalchester.” This toughness had been missing throughout much of More Life, particularly during the tropical stretch. Clearly, he’s cocky and confident, confirmed by the hook:
“Hermés link, ice-blue link / Tat on my ribs like I do not know what permanent is / They want me gone, wait for the kicker / Bury me now and I only get bigger / That’s word to my n*gga.”
“Skepta Interlude” features Skepta, naturally, another British rapper. Quavo and Travis Scott join Drake for “Portland,” among the crème de la crème of collaborative moments from More Life. Sure, the looped flute synth can annoy quickly, but it does give the record personality. Naturally, all three rappers brag about their status in the rap game.
Another collaboration, “Sacrifices,” follows, featuring 2 Chainz and Young Thug. A lengthier record, the three rappers dabble in various topics, which includes sacrifices, but also material things and of course, sex. Drake maintains the sanctity of the topic more than his colleagues.
“Nothings Into Somethings”
“Nothings Into Somethings” may not be brand new, but it is familiar from Drake we’ve yet to hear at this point on More Life. This is lethargic, moody Drake at his best on this brief joint. Another smooth joint, “Teenage Fever” follows, with the Drizzy singing about his feelings about her. At one point, he finally utters the titular lyric:
“This shit feels like teenage fever.”
Love is the M.O., clearly.
“KMT” then changes the complexion of More Life again, featuring Giggs for the second time. On the lengthier “Lose You,” Drake deserves credit for his clever rhymes, which include references to R. Kelly’s “Ignition Remix” and spiritual “This Little Light of Mine.” As familiar as it may sound, “Lose You” isn’t brand new. He’s released many songs with the same confessional, reflective vibe. Ultimately, it’s successful.
“Can’t Have Everything” features a stellar beat, which allows Drizzy to flex effortlessly. As the title suggests, Drake wants it all, but in life you “can’t have everything.” At the end, his mom leaves a voicemail in which she’s concerned with his trust issues, a prominent theme of his music.
On “Glow,” Drake is assisted by Kanye West. This is an interesting record if a bit scattered. The sound is captivating, particularly the bright, glowing vocals of West. Is this a hit? Not quite, but it’s intriguing enough to spin a couple of times. “Since Way Back” follows, marking another collaboration between Drake and PARTYNEXTDOOR. There’s nothing rushed about “Since Way Back,” which is slow in pace and clocks in at over six minutes. Both artists are infatuated with a girl who is ultimately bad news. It’s not the second coming but plays to the strengths of both artists.
“Fake Love” is another enjoyable, respectable offering from Drake. Ultimately, it is another example of the notion of “No New Friends,” a prominent topic for the rapper. Besides tackling fakes, it is also a flex-fest for the superstar by all means. The hook sums up the sentiment of the entire song:
“I’ve been down so long it look like up to me/ they look up to me / I got fake people showin’ fake love to me / straight up to my face, straight up to my face.”
Drake goes on to pop-rap/quasi-sing on the verses, specifically addressing females seemingly. Beyond familiarity lyrically, the production is also standard fare for the artist. It suits him stylistically. It doesn’t add the element of unpredictability, but he doesn’t necessarily need unpredictability considering his current level of success. The vibe is desirable by all means.
“Ice Melts” features Young Thug for the second time on More Life. The tale imparted this round is about a girl who Drake is into, but comes off as ice cold. Her coldness is attributed to coming out of a bad relationship in which she was treated as she should be. Nonetheless, Drake asserts, “I still need some satisfaction / A little less talk and a little more action…” Young Thug doesn’t get his own verse, but rather provides the hook that supports Drake’s assessment on the situation.
The album concludes with “Do Not Disturb.” “Do Not Disturb” is the summation – the outro for More Life. Interestingly, Drake suggests taking time off and return in 2018. Could More Life be his only project in 2018? If it is, it’s understandable – he’s been putting in serious work over the course of 2015 and 2016.
So, how does More Life stack up? Arguably, More Life is stronger than Views, even if it is a playlist as opposed to a proper studio album. More Life is bloated, just like the effort that precedes it, but it is a better-rounded project. It’s not perfect by any means, but there’s lots to like or minimally respect about it.
Gems: “Free Smoke,” “Passionfruit,” “4422,” “Gyalchester,” “Portland,” “Can’t Have Everything” & “Fake Love”