Rapper and singer/songwriter Drake last night (March 18, 2017) released More Life on OVO Sound Radio, a highly-anticipated album (which he describes as a playlist) in part because of the Toronto rapper’s popularity, but also because he last album, Views from the 6, received mixed reviews (though it should be noted, he was still the most streamed artist of 2016) and as such there was speculation about whether he would be able to deliver a project packing top-to-bottom heat.
Featuring his pops in his younger days on the cover, the album features 22 tracks and includes contributions from a who’s who list of the hottest players in the game, including Kanye West, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Skepta, Party Next Door and Quavo. On a more low key note, it’s exciting to see talented South African producer Black Coffee in the mix.
Faves on first few listens? “Passionfruit” and “Get It Together” (that’s the Black Coffee joint), both of which convey the rap-that-bops-with-an-island-flair sound that’s become Drake’s signature, taking a front seat to the first-name-greatest-last-name-ever goals that marked the first part of his career.
As Drake himself said regarding “Hotline Bling” being nominated for the Grammy award’s “Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song, he no longer belongs to just rap. “Even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song, the only category they can manage to fit me in is a rap category,” said Drake in an OVO Sound radio show interview with DJ Semtex the day after the Grammys. “Maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black, I can’t figure out why, Just like I can’t figure out why ‘One Dance’ wasn’t nominated.”
“Sacrifices”and (especially) “Ice Melts” are both top notch, too, and perfectly play Young Thug’s staccato vocals against Drake’s smoothed-out vocals and production. “Blow” invites multiple listens though the sound is distinctly different from the rest of the album, making it seem more like a West song that was dropped into the album rather than a Drake song featuring West. Drake’s mom’s soothing outro on “Can’t Have Everything” just rocks, as does the fact that Drake consistently shouts her out in all his music.
As for off moments, songs like “Lose You,” come off as spoken word projects in which Drake repeats the same worn out complaints about relationships and all he’s had to sacrifice to obtain his place in the industry. It’s like that friend who moons over an ex non-stop and makes you want to scream, “MOVE ON!” In that respect, a good three-to-five songs could have been edited from More Life‘s playlist.
Drake did not come to play with exclusivity for this album, and this time around the project is available to stream on all formats, including Spotify, below.