Drake gets it together
That’s the general consensus. More Life was supposed to drop in December. Then it was January. After Views, the overrated, undeserving Album of the Year nominee that came out less than a year ago, I wanted to be "meh" about More Life. I wanted Drake to make us miss him. I didn’t want another Views. On Saturday, Drake finally delivered a 22 song “playlist” that is definitely not Views 2.0. It’s an 80-minute (albeit 20 minutes too long) Peak Drake opus that is full of dance hits, multiple genres and classic moody, sometimes corny, always sentimental lyrics that return Drizzy to top form. And yes, there’s J.Lo. We’ll get to Lopizzy.
First, let’s talk about More Life’s release. It was an event. On Saturday night, while I was alternating between scrolling through Twitter and staring at my dog because #adultlife, More Life was live-streamed via Drake’s Beats 1 show, OVO Sound Radio on Apple Music. My timeline was listening together, reacting in the moment to each song. I tuned in live because I was suffering from some serious Twitter FOMO. I haven’t felt that sense of community and instant reaction to a musical release since Lemonade. More Life is not Drake’s Lemonade. Aside from the fact that Drake plays with multiple genres, there is no comparison. I’m probably the only person making that comparison. I don’t think Drake will ever release an album as politically charged or steeped in cultural importance – and that’s OK. I've criticized Drake in the past for continuing to whine about the same girlfriends not calling him back while the world crumbles around him or for taking himself so seriously without saying anything of substance.
Where he failed on Views, he succeeds on More Life. It’s more of the same content but musically, it’s just better. It’s also got an international vibe that feels fitting for a dude who calls himself the 6 God and hails from a city that prides itself on its multiculturalism. More Life spans the globe, taking us from hip-hop to R&B to dancehall to grime and back again. Lainey texted me that she was feeling the British vibe of More Life and I’m not mad at it either. Drake has been called out for his dancehall obsession and now he seems to be really into East London’s take on hip-hop. To me, it feels less like musical appropriation than an appreciation of global black culture. Plus, Drake gives his featured artists their moments to shine. With Jorja, Drake literally just gets the eff out of the way while she slays.
On More Life, Drake seems more self-aware and punchier, delivering Instagram caption-able lines like “I don’t take naps” and “I make too much these days to ever say, ‘Poor me.’” Leave it to Drake to make Blem happen. Yes, I had to look up “blem” in the urban dictionary. Judge me. More Life is everything you want in a Drake project: bad accents, pettiness, solid features and sh-t that makes you want to dance/ curl in a ball and call your ex.
Speaking of exes, Teenage Fever samples the Jennifer Lopez classic If You Had My Love, probably the most Drakey J.Lo song ever. Of course, Drake turns it into a sullen relationship analysis. J.Lo appears twice on More Life. The other reference is this line on Free Smoke: “I drunk text J.Lo/ Old number so it bounce back.” HA. While this doesn’t explain which song they claimed to be working on together in the studio or dancing to at prom, it’s still so amazing. Of course Drake drunk texts Jennifer Lopez. Knowing what we know now about J.Lo and A-Rod, the line is even more hilarious. Did J.Lo ghost Drake? I want this to be true so bad.
Other standout tracks include Get it Together, Madiba Riddim (Riddim!! HAHAHA), Glow (featuring Kanye), and Can’t Have Everything, which ends with Drake’s mom quoting Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” in a voicemail. She also says this: “I’m a bit concerned about this negative tone that I’m hearing in your voice these days.” Has she been reading reviews of Views? The voicemail sounds like Drake’s mom smacked her son over the head, told him to drop the chip on his shoulder and get his sh-t together. And he really did. More Life is his best album (playlist, whatever) since Take Care.
I’ll leave you with my favourite tweet about More Life, and not just because I also watched Passengers this weekend and love Jaden Smith a little too much.