Highlights: Drake, ‘More Life’


★★★½

Drake, More Life © Cash MoneyThe 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 LifeMore 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”

“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.

“Passionfruit”

Standout “Passionfruit” has a smoother sound compared to “Free Smoke.” It employs the vibe of “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Drake sings instead of rapping. This marks the return of the more sensitive side of the musician, which he delivers effectively. A number of tropically-infused songs grace More Life, including “Get Together” (featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith), “Madiba Riddim,” and “Blem.” “Blem” is arguably the most enjoyable of the three. One thing’s for sure – he’s “Blem for real/ I might just show how I feel.”

“4422”

“4422” brings Sampha (“Blood On Me”) along for the ride. Drake doesn’t appear on the record. 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.” 

“Portland”

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.

“Can’t Have Everything”

Further down the track list, “Can’t Have Everything” features a stellar beat, which allows Drake 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.

“Fake Love”

On “Glow,” Drake is assisted by Kanye West. Another collaboration, “Since Way Back,” pairs him once more with PARTYNEXTDOOR.  Both records are interesting, but not necessarily the crème de la crème.  “Fake Love” is, however, addressing the good ole “No New Friends” sentiment. Besides tackling fakes, it is also a flex-fest for the superstar. The hook is golden:

“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.”

Final Thoughts

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”   

Drake • More Life • Cash Money • Release: 3.18.17
Photo Credit: Cash Money
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