A Review of Drake’s ‘More Life’ Playlist

This past Saturday, Drake dropped the highly anticipated body of work More Life on OVO Sound Radio. More Life is a collection of tracks that proclaims to be a playlist, not an album or mixtape like he’s released in the past. The distinction has been a little confusing for fans and critics, and since Billboard declared that playlists are eligible to appear on the album chart, Drake’s More Life will be the first. We think this will encourage other artists to experiment when it comes to the formatting of their albums, especially considering the level of emotion, craft, and wordsmanship Drake achieves on More Life. 

By releasing More Life as a playlist rather than a traditional album, Drake built in more freedom to occupy the spaces between hip-hop styles, to address his influences and speak to them in a way that is authentically his. One of the best tracks on More Life is “Passionfruit”, a dance-friendly track that uses black roots, specifically Nigerian afrobeats. Much like Beyonce’s Lemonade, Drake’s latest album reflects a kind of exploration of the diaspora, using the power of the internet to bring him closer to Caribbean, African, and European black music.

Drake

Throughout More Life, Drake maintains his ability to tap into his emotions via R&B, a skill that we first saw when the famed Toronto rapper released Take Care back in 2011. On tracks such as the Sampha imbued “4422”, Drake lavishes in the downbeat, sensual landscape built by the acclaimed English artist, who also worked on tracks by Solange and Kanye West. On “Teenage Fever” and “Nothings into Somethings”, we are reacquainted with the reminiscent voice we’ve seen from Drake in albums past, paired with an even cleaner, sultry soundscape.

More Life is Drake’s vessel of musical exploration and nodding to what he admires but can’t necessarily master. He also used this playlist to show what he knows and does best: deliver. More Life hits you in ways that are unexpected but honest. It comes off as a collection of tracks Drake has been wanting to say to the world for awhile and finally has the space and acclaim to do so. It’s an act born out of freedom, each track more liberating as the album goes on.

We can’t discuss More Life without honoring its guests, which include Sampha, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Kanye West, and more. By inviting more voices in to his project, Drake achieves a diversified album while detouring in forward motion and illuminating the fresh faces of hip-hop and soul. If you weren’t convinced of Drake’s popularity by now, then More Life is definitely the only evidence you need to hear in order to realize this rapper isn’t a joke, a meme, or a fading trend. Drake is here to stay.

Drake

From his spoken word interludes to the angsty “KMT” where he spills his rhymes like war chants, Drake all but lets down on his rapping throughout More Life. So, for those of you were were a little disappointed by Drake’s rapping in albums past, this latest offering will likely revive your love for this smooth, crooning wordsmith who has pretty much perfected the mix between coolness and unabashed talent.

More Life transcends and is more successful because of its form, a playlist. Drake granted himself the right to explore his influences, his surrounding landscape of modern rap, and his personal history. And based on the fact that we haven’t stopped listening to More Life since it dropped, it seems that Drake landed on something true. More Life finishes with “Do Not Disturb”, where Drake exercises his lyrical dexterity, solidifying himself as a heavyweight champion on the rap scene, a man much greater than the Degrassi pipe dream in which Drake was born.

Will Drake tour in 2017? We hope that the acclaimed rapper will take More Life on the road. Check back for updates, and in the mean time, enjoy diving into what will likely be the best playlist of the year.

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