Drake – More Life Review
WRITTEN BY KARAN TELI
He’s the hottest musician on earth right now. Every move that Drake makes is watched, critiqued and analysed all over social media; be it from your favourite trolling twitter account or DJ Akademiks at his best.
By announcing ‘More Life’ as a playlist, rather than an actual album, Drake took the pressure off himself. How so? If it doesn’t like up to the hype – no worries, it’s not an album that hinders his discography, but if it succeeds; fans will be calling it an album and the ‘playlist’ title will be long gone.
More Life was announced towards the end of 2016, and with Views being not even 9 months old at this point, it was a risky move. Was More Life just going to be a bunch of songs that didn’t make Views? – An already underwhelming album. The playlist kept getting delayed, from December to January to February to March. The anticipation and pressure was suddenly growing because in the Hip-Hop community the rule is simple; the longer we wait, the more we expect.
But More Life got off to a perfect start. With Free Smoke, the playlist started off with a Kanye-esque sample before completely transitioning to Drake spitting some of the best bars from the entire playlist. Even more shots at Meek (stop it, he’s already dead) and controversial mentions of J-Lo and Jay-Z showed Drake wasn’t scared to say anything on More Life, not to mention he wasn’t scared to then elegantly sample J-Lo later on in Teenage Fever. Classic Drake.
The UK scene influence, which Drake has been so hugely involved in within the last year came into effect immediately, with UK legend Giggs appearing for his first feature on No Long Talk. The song is underwhelming, but Giggs’s second feature track; KMT, more than made up for it, with a song that is guaranteed to be the hottest Hip-Hop song in London for a while.
The UK influence on the playlist is huge. Skepta, Jorja Smith, Giggs, Dave, plus many more subtle influences and slang used by Drake shape a whole sound that he used. ‘I need you to stop crying to your ex he’s a waste man’ Drake sang on Blem; officially letting us know that he is now a Canadian Londoner. Skepta was gifted with his owninterlude, which he delivered on, but that means we’re still yet to officially hear Drake feat. Skepta, but I anticipate future collaborations between the two. This was just another strategic move by Drake; letting everyone who hasn’t heard Skepta finally hear what he is capable of before Drake finally gives him that feature we’ve been waiting for.
While Drake will never be an artist that needs features, his choices for More Life couldn’t be better. Quavo has been on a hot streak for over a year now, and when him and Travis Scott have collaborated, they’ve yet to make a bad song. Portland is no different. Drake raps for the opening 45 seconds before giving the throne to Quavo and Travis who don’t return the mic to Drake for the rest of the song. One of the standout tracks from the entire playlist; it has already been all over social media and already influenced a footballer’s celebration, proving that Quavo and Travis just don’t miss at the moment. With the two going on a sold out worldwide tour together, it’s no surprise that 2 vastly different Young Thug features appear, Sacrifices has simile after simile from Thugger, while Ice Melts just includes classic Young Thug noises and mumbles. Even the recently hospitalised and vanished off the face of the earth Kanye West appeared on Glow, one of the better tracks from a lacklustre second half of the playlist. The song makes me and others alike wonder what a Drake x Kanye album would actually sound like, but in all likelihood it will remain a wonder, which may not be the worst thing in the world.
With the all glamorous features and UK influence, the two best songs from More Life are, as he would put it, ‘Drake featuring Drake.’
Gyalchester; Atitle which is clearly inspired by the UK (again) and Passionfruit are classic Drake. In typical Drake fashion; they are already all over the clubs and social media. The amount of Instagram captions due to say ‘Tat on my ribs like I do not know what permanent is’ is unthinkable, but that doesn’t distract from the fact that Gyalchester is a shining star on a playlist that shines pretty bright.
A consistent problem of Drake’s albums or playlists or whatever he will call them next is that they all contain tracks that add nothing to the project, and if they were taken away, they wouldn’t be missed. Lose You, Nothings to Somethings and Since Way Back all fall victim to this problem, which causes the second half of More Life to drop off massively in comparison to the first half.
Drake claims he’s taking a break until 2018, which may be the best thing for him. Whether he actually does remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if summer’s biggest song had Drakes name involved somewhere; just look at Controlla, One Dance, Work and Hotline Bling for examples. And that’s only in the last 2 years.
More Life doesn’t change Drake’s legacy or career much. The memorable bangers & ‘soft’ tunes will live on, while the forgettable songs will be swept under the carpet and acted as if they had never existed, which is pretty much how Drake’s near decade long career, starting with So Far Gone, has gone so far.