Social Media Director
March 24 2017
After Drake’s previous commercial release, Views, many questioned if Drake’s torrid run atop the not just the hip hop world, but music in general was over. Many have seen Drake make a push to a more mainstream pop and R&B sound which is unsettling to hip hop heads who love hearing Drizzy get on a beat like Tuscan Leather, the opening track on his highly successful Nothing Was The Same album, and hear Aubrey spit an onslaught of hard hitting bars over a heavy drum beat. That was not seen much on Views. Drake has incorporated a dancehall, jamaican vibe on his albums which can be seen on his hit lede single, Fake Love, Hotline Bling, and of course, One Dance. While these tracks show Drake growing as an artist, it also makes people question his authenticity, especially since Drake has been accused of being “influenced” by other styles and sounds and not giving credit as to where they belong to. On top of that, Drake adopted a cringe-worthy and extremely 100% FAKE Jamaican accent that grew on listeners and became rather obnoxious and frankly, nauseating. With Drake facing the most hate of his career, many people were interested to see how he responds.
As for sales, the biggest rapper in the world, Drake, is projected to sell 600,000 records first week according to Billboard, which meets the expectations that I had for him. Even though his last album sold a million, this is still a good week of selling. It is unprecedented for an artist to sell a million first week twice in less than a year. That could happen again when he drops his next album next year.
More Life is actually rather interesting how it is a “playlist.” It’s a little bit longer than most albums he has released and was debuted on OvO sound radio. This album (I mean “playlist”, sorry Aubrey) features all of the “Drakes” we have seen in the past. For example, MC Drake, R&B Drake, dancehall Drake, pop Drake and UK Drake. He also has many features like Jorja Smith, Sampha, of course PartyNextDoor, Giggs, Skepta, and even Quavo and Travis Scott, 2 Chainz and Young Thug. First off, there are some bangers on this album. For example, the opening track, Free Smoke, the beat pops off and Drake starts spitting very aggressively. He addresses many accusations, yet doesn’t really refute them. However, an opening track should always be intriguing, and this track is nothing more than an exciting start to the project. Drake refreshes many Drake rap fans with this song, and the song after, No Long Talk, featuring Giggs is another banger as Drake hits a great flow on the UK grime beat. Yes, Drake does try out the cringe British accent and once again “things” become “-tings.” But the beat of this song is great and the flow is catchy and intoxicating enough to forget about his new accent. Giggs also did a great job with an authentic UK grime verse. He was featured twice and showed off a lot skill lyrically and with the flow. Sampha, also does a great job on the track 4422 with great vocals and makes a great track with a calm vibe that fits the mood of the playlist. The song with Jorja Smith, Get It Together, is a dancehall track, however, this track is fantastic because of Jorja Smith. Her vocals fit beautifully on the track and it sounds like an authentic dancehall song. Drake comes through with nice background vocals, but Jorja Smith is the star of the track.
The song Portland featuring Quavo and Travis Scott is a great track with a cute accordion lead and glimmering sub bass synth line. This song has great replay value and is a future banger. Travis and Quavo also have great chemistry on this track and they keep up the high energy set by Drake in the beginning. There are also more hard hitting songs on this thing like the song Gyalchester, Sacrifices featuring 2 Chainz, and Young Thug, and Can’t Have Everything. Lose You, is a slower song but it also features a lot of more lyrical rap by Drake. He is throwing a lot of shots at rap nemesis Meek Mill and Do Not Disturb is a smooth closer as Drake addresses his life and disses Toronto artist Torey Lanez in a very clever way. (Too much to explain, just go to rap genius) He has a great track with the song Can’t Have Everything, which is another uptempo rap song by Drake with a hard hitting drum beat. Drake is as usual, in braggadocious on this track talking about how he is the best and everyone is beneath them. The song KMT has a great beat and which is another banger and will likely be a popular song. (Shoutout to x)
Drake has some good moments vocally, notably on the song Passionfruit, over the smooth dancehall beat with a glistening string lead and low drums in the background. The one thing that makes this song better then the songs like Madiba Riddim, is that Drake actually uses his normal voice, and not his fabricated Jamaican accent. This song is becoming a fan favorite, and this is one of my favorite tracks. This is easily one of Drake’s best vocal performances on this project. We see the same success on the songs, Nothing Into Something, and Teenage Fever. These songs, Drake is back on his old R&B and it turns into a smooth track that is really enjoyable. The song, Since Way Back is terrific as Drake and PartyNextDoor have great chemistry and never seem to fail on a collaboration. Young Thug also gets a second feature on the song Ice Melts, which is another reggae inspired beat with high pitched keys in the back. This song turns out to be decent, but the mixing on the production could have been better.
In some cases his vocals hurt the playlist especially on Blem, and Madiba Riddim. Once again, Drake tries to go dancehall on us, however his voice is just cringe worthy and he sounds like a 5 year old child. And Drake uses a lot of sling like “wasteman” and others that I never heard him say in the past. The song Glow with Kanye West is entertaining and took a couple listens to it, even though the vocals do not mesh well together, it is very interesting to hear Kanye and Drake in a collaborative process. Some of these songs have a good sound to them and are pleasant around the edges, but when you dive deep into Drake and his vocal performances, it turns off even the biggest Drake fans and dismisses these songs as unauthentic. Once again, Drake using this accent is just…no.
Drake as an artist is in a precarious place right now. It would be difficult for him to go back completely to his old sound, as much as people would love him to. It just is not possible. We will never get another album like the the classics Take Care and So Far Gone. It’s hard for Drake to expand on that sound as he has already made a full-fledged career off that sound and has branded himself as the most emotionally provoking artist hip hop has seen in awhile. As for this album, Drake does what he is known to do and he delivers for the most part. He includes more rap songs that will probably be big hits down the road with a lot of replay value. In some ways, Drake achieved making this seem like a “playlist,” as he creates a nice vibe throughout this album that is very moody and nocturnal which will draw in a lot more casual listeners and probably get him more positive reviews. This playlist is already being received better than Views on social media and most review sites, however in some places, this album sounds more like wallpaper music, songs that you listen to purely for the mood and beat, which can be seen on many on the dancehall tracks. He also played safe in some cases. Instead of doing something bold, like we have seen in the past, he made moments that were passable and pleasant on the ear and fit the mood of the playlist more than trying to do something creative. As a Drake fan since his mixtape days, I could see a lot of highlights on this thing, but it also seemed like Drake was not pushing all of the chips in the middle of the table. While this is a good tape and he delivers, there were moments where he played safe instead of doing something extraordinary to make this even better.
Even though some of these songs have “B-side” feeling, there are many great ideas that seem to be unfinished and need to be toyed with and thought out a little bit more. Maybe this will become the blueprint for his next project he teased in the closing track. He said on the closing track Do Not Disturb, “My life is centered around competition and currency. Take the summer off because they tell me I need recovery. Maybe getting back to my regular life will humble me. I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary. More Life.” Hopefully this “time off” will help inspire some great Drake music that is refreshing in the future. Drake has lived a crazy life ever since Views dropped April 29th 2016 as he was constantly hated on , and always in the headlines, and of course, touring. Time off is definitely warranted for Drake right now. And you never know. A little bit of time off in a clear space could make the difference between a good record and classic record. We will see.
Final Rating 8.0/10