More Life Album Review
For the good part of the last three to five years, if not longer, Aubrey Graham has been the biggest star to come out of rap music. Breaking streaming records every time he releases a project, the artist known as Drake has built a loyal fan base that follows him from project to project.
2016 saw Drake on the offensive with his beef with Meek Mill after it came out that Drake may not write all of his own raps and the release of VIEWS, that saw fan, but not critic acclamation. Now in 2017 fans have gotten More Life, a project Drake and his camp are calling a playlist rather than an album or a mixtape. The “playlist” is a departure from the Drake fans heard on VIEWS and a return to the older Drake fans had loved so much.
Before the good of the album though, which there is a lot of, let’s get the bad out of the way: Drake has not learned his lesson and continues to release albums (this is an album whether they want to call it a playlist or not) that are far too long. VIEWS clocked in at 20 songs and 1 hour and 21 minutes, and More Life continues this trend at 22 songs and 1 hour and 22 minutes long. Several songs could have been cut from this album and it would have been better.
The other big swing and a miss for Drake came with the inclusion of guest verses from Giggs and Skepta, two high profile British grime artists. To put it nicely, the songs they appear on are markedly worse by their inclusion. With an entire song dedicated to Skepta and nonsensical lyrics from Giggs (“Batman, da-na-na-da-na”), they add nothing to this project.
Where Drake does deserve credit though is how close he is to the pulse of what is popular in music internationally. Drake on the entire album uses upbeat house music that makes this one of Drake’s most fun albums. The standout from the group, “Get It Together”, features a remixing from Black Coffee, a South African producer, of one of his older songs. The song is helped by the vocals of Jorja Smith, who feels part Rihanna replacement, but fills the role beautifully. Drake is trying to bring house music to the mainstream with this song, the third track “Passionfruit”, and this project as a whole.
The album also sampled numerous songs across the album, and each time it feels like it truly adds another element to the project. “Teenage Fever” samples the Jennifer Lopez song “If You Had My Love,” one of many clear references to the past romance between Drake and Jennifer Lopez.
These references to a past love though make Drake vulnerable, which has always been the best kind of Drake. When he pours his emotions over Take Care and Nothing Was the Same, it was met with love universally. Now on More Life, fans get to hear advice from Drake’s mother on “Can’t Have Everything” when she famously quotes Hillary Clinton and says, “When they go low, you go high,” after she went on about how she did not like Drake’s new combative attitude. Then on “Do Not Disturb,” Drake truly opens up to the fan. He talks about how he is always in the public eye and it may be time to take a break. “Takin' summer off, 'cause they tell me I need recovery/Maybe gettin' back to my regular life will humble me/I'll be back in 2018 to give you the summary,” is the line with which Drake closes the album.
The vulnerability he shows brings the superstar that is Drake back down to Aubrey Graham. He becomes relatable when he says on the single “Fake Love”: “That's when they smile in my face/Whole time they wanna take my place,” speaking of the fake people in his life. It is something everyone can relate to.
As always, the features on a Drake album are full of A-listers. From Young Thug, to Kanye West, to the newcomer Sampha, More Life provides the features fans have come to expect.
Is this album Drake’s best? No. There are still too many holes to put it above something such as If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late or Take Care, but it is a step in the right direction. Drake finally sounds like he is having fun making music again, which in the end is how we will get the best out of the Canadian superstar.
David Arroyo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.