Drake - More Life
No one, save maybe Kanye, causes a wilder swing between love and hate than Drake. People either loath the man and his music, or refuse to listen to anything else. Of course the truth always lies somewhere in the middle as it does with all things yet this new record feels less like Drake being Drake and more like Drake trying to bring some kind of summation to his career in hip hop as a whole. The thing that angered Hip Hop fans the most about Drake was the fact that instead of rapping he brought in R&B and actually sang. It was new, it was weird and it pissed people off immensely yet on this new album More Life the singing has become so synonymous with Drake that it doesn't even feel like anything. In fact "Passionfruit" and "Jorga Interlude" might be the two best tracks on the album and have Drake singing heavily. It is almost like Drake was waiting for the rest of the world to catch up to what He was doing rather than He trying to hold a mirror up to pop culture. When you hear More Life you realize just how essential Drake the entity is to his sound. No one else could make this record, nor have the balls to do so. At almost an hour and a half the record is way to long but it takes you on this journey through the black music experience with Drake as the narrator and also creator. It is an interesting experience and one that at first feels clunky but on repeat listens it starts to come together.
Dancehall featured heavily on last years Views and was the focus of Drake's biggest single to date "One Dance". The dancehall is here as well on tracks like "Blem" but it is rooted in a sound that feels decidedly Drake's and has become the base of Toronto's current sound. Drake has also made an interesting choice by releasing this as a "playlist" rather than a mixtape of album. Since Billboard and the Grammy's have relaxed which tracks can be eligible for charts and awards means that this release can chart where in the past it would not. The grime heavy songs feel the most dated on the record, with "Skepta Interlude" being one of the most silly. The beat is almost circus-esque and the Sketpa tries to be so overly aggressive with his verses, it just never comes together. However that is Drake, take a big swing and if it hits great and if it doesn't then we can just move on. Drake's missteps just seem to be less sticky than other people's. Even though the record is long it doesn't feel all that fat, it is not like songs go on for far to long or things just hang around, there is simply a lot of fucking songs on this record. Only time will tell if More Life becomes an instant classic, but Drake has made sure that all the elements are there.
7.9 out of 10