It’s another year, and another Drake project has dropped. Why? Because he can’t help himself. I’m sure the fans don’t mind, but in all honesty, this is exactly what I was talking about with Go Away, Aubrey, but I’m nobody, so don’t watch no face. It’s just…really? And I know that people like to (for whatever reason) bring up Jay Z’s run for 7 straight years, but this is different. Why? Because at least content wise, you got a variety between projects. Aside from production alone (and even then), the variety in which Aubrey presents his music is simply in the manner in which the project is announced and distributed. The problem is that, he’s plateaued in such a way that whatever he drops doesn’t necessarily bring strength of long-lasting content, but it’s good for the moments. That could very well be why More Life is presented as a playlist instead of what you’d call an album or mixtape (although we pretty much all know what it is).
Surprisingly, this is one of the more entertaining projects I’ve come to enjoy from him because of the more Afrobeats inspired songs that were featured, and the looks that he blessed to our cousins in the UK (we’re cousins, just leave it alone). Granted, I still find it entirely too long for one project, but I’ve treated it as a playlist and left it on Spotify, which is essentially the effect it gives off to begin with. My takeaway from More Life is that it’s a catalog of music that streamlines just what drake is feeling in his own personal time, and just wanted to make music as a reflection of such. He has stated this before, but it’s actually true when you look at the range of sounds that are made available for our ears’ consumption. Opening with Free Smoke & No Long Talk, you get the aggressive nature that has been more apparent since If You’re Reading This…, and when the stretch from Passionfruit to Blem put you in a tropical Zen that gives you the sensation of the summertime, there’s really no telling as to what was going on thematically. I don’t think there’s supposed to be. It’s just a collection of music that he enjoys, and the people enjoy. And that’s certainly nothing to complain about.
My thing with Drake is this, and it applies to this album. The formula he’s been dealing with since Thank Me Later has been the same and that has been working for him to build up not only his coin, but also his popularity. There’s a reason why people compare him to LeBron James because of the fact that there was been little to no resistance during his career (at least the last 7 years) in terms of his placement in music, and that’s right at the top. Point blank, period. With Views, I thought it was going to be the one, but I don’t even think he wants that for himself because deviating from what works just isn’t something that has to be done in his case. Whatever he drops, it’ll amass great numbers, everything will chart, it’ll play in the club, it’ll play on radio, and the cycle will continue to spin forward until he says otherwise. You know what to expect, and that makes him, as an artist, less exciting to look forward to, in my eyes & ears. When it comes to being spontaneous, the ‘big thing’ that’s getting everyone to talk is just how he’s now speaking with Toronto slang and using patois more comfortably. And that’s a conversation that gets lost in translation once you leave the borders of Toronto, because it’s a tireless convo to have. We know why he chose to do it now, and he’s said it before, but the fact that that is the extent of what’s different about his music, it’s disappointing. He makes good music, but what launches him into the conversation of great?
Now, I may never put another Drake song on my iPod, but when I’m at parties or out on the road, or at work and I hear Drake, I’m still going to listen, I’m still going to vibe, I’m pretty sure I’ll know most of the words because of the constant replay and how easy it is for his lyrics to get lodged in your brain, but I know that his music isn’t specifically for me when they’re presented in album/mixtape/playlist form. I’m not going to mention the artist whose middle name rhymes with ‘guitar’ because that’s a conversation not worth having anymore, but that spontaneity that most artists bring to the forefront throughout their catalogs, they’re the ones who standout. Production matters a lot, and you don’t get to be as big as Drake is without some solid sound backing like he has, but your subject material matters most.
I like that Drake relatively took a backseat for the features to shine. Giggs on KMT (I don’t care for it, but I will not deny its impact), Sampha on 4422 (as heavenly as his voice is), Kanye West on Glow (If you don’t sing the hook at the top of your lungs, you’re doing it wrong), Skepta Interlude, Jorja Interlude, Quavo on Portland, 2 Chainz & Young Thug on Sacrifices (I’m not a fan of Thugger, but my lord); you could have dubbed this as a compilation album if you wanted to off the strength of those alone, which is why I understand why it is just a playlist. In terms of where this puts Drake in terms of his ‘legacy’ or how this project adds to any impact of his artistry, I don’t think it does. For the while that I spent with it, soaked it in, digested its content and regurgitated through multiple conversations, More Life doesn’t make me feel anything in a way that would suggest it’s a promising piece of work. Through a spirited and heated conversation as to if it was “motivating,” that’s the last word I would use to suggest what this would make me feel. There are chunes to turn up to, to dance to, and to relax my life away to, but does it compel me to go create something? Not necessarily. And I’m okay with that. Specific songs will latch on for specific moments. That’s it, that’s all, this is my opinion, this is my review,
That’s My Word & It STiXX