We’ve been banging More Life, Drake’s new playlist/mixtape/album in the office all day. Here’s what we think about it.
Right first up, he’s the best hook writer in the world, no doubt, but we always find his full-length releases a bit underwhelming. His last record Views gave us hit singles Controlla, One Dance and finished up with Hotline Bling but the album itself was overshadowed by the individual jams.
Also, he’s a musical magpie and he’s often criticised for biting off other cultures, which he does here, probably more shamelessly than ever before. but he’s wise to it, pre-empting that criticism by creating a “Playlist”, not an album or a mixtape. So More Life feels more a showcase what he’s into and a platform for people he’s into. It skews his role as a songwriter more strangely than ever before, a bit like Kanye’s TLOP, Drake here curates and demonstrates his taste rather than creating another bunch of moaning emosh nothingness about being really rich and really sad. So I’m kinda into that.
The result is a collection of tracks that don’t really have anything in common with one another, except that Drizzy is the king of hooks. The first half is a breathtaking, musical globe-trot It’ll mean different things to different territories
In the UK we’ll be gassed that Giggs appears twice, and that on No Long Talk he drops the rhyme: “Nutty shit like somethin' just climbed out the X-Files // Textbook, like it's old school, like in textiles”. A line that means nothing to anyone who didn’t do CDT in school.
Long time Drizzy-affliate Skepta, Sampha and Jorja Smith also rep the UK, as does Drake because he calls people wasteman, roadman and literally calls a track Gyalchester (LOL).
In the UK, everyone always gets hyped when Drake rocks a Stoney or drinks Yorkshire Tea on instagram or whatever, but he manages to do the same thing for loads of countries.
The UK passes the baton onto South Africa on Get it Together when Drake sings back and forth with Jorja Smith over a locomotive deep house rhythm by South African megastar DJ Black Coffee, he then goes full Graceland on Madiba Riddim, a sunshine guitar loop, a kick drum and a clap pattern. About as fun as Drake gets he spouts some typical nonsense about people changing and getting rich and stuff, but it’s a bonafide pop banger. With a track title that nods to Nelson Mandela, it’ll get Drizzy’s South African fanbased gassed, but it almost sounds Caribbean. FUSION COOKERY.
Next is the vaguely dancehall-sounding Blem which includes a chorus/hook where he says “your ex is a wasteman.”
Next up is Sampha, on 4422 then a track called Gyalchester, People from Manchester UK will think he’s talking about Manchester UK, where he was partying after his tour date last month when he picked up his Grammy Awards, because of the “Gyal” Jamaican’s might thinking he’s referring to Jamaica. Drake hits two markets with one ambiguous reference.
Then it’s time for OVO x BBK again. Skepta Interlude. Big up Skep.
After 10 tracks of globetrotting Drake returns to North America and enlists Quavo (from Georgia) and Travis Scott (from Texas) for Portland (a city in Oregon). It has a pretty conventional trap beat, including a flute which explains United Midfielder Jesse Lingard’s celebratory jig at the Riverside on Sunday.
Then, on Teenage Fever, he reworks Jennifer Lopez’s 1999 jam “If You Had My Love”. Peep J Lo’s Nike Tn’s and some pretty rad late 90s web design in the video. I bought the single when I was in year 6 and it’s still a total jam. If it’s true that they actually dated then Drake would have been 12 when this song came out. Which scrambles my brain SO HARD.
Giggs returns on KMT, his flow is obviously gonna confuse Americans, but TBH I don’t really care because we have to listen to your mumble rap every day and at least Giggs actually says words.
Maybe Lose You is good, but I keep skipping it, because it sounds like it’s gonna be boring as.
There’s a cautionary voicemail from Sandi Graham (Drake’s mum) on the end of Can’t Have Everything, she’s not as strict as Frank Ocean’s mum.
Drake pairs up with Kanye, on Glow which is involves bare autotune but is kinda dope and written by OVO Sound’s Majid Jordan, two of Drake’s Toronto-based disciples.
He keeps things in the 6, for Since Way Back which features PARTYNEXTDOOR.
Tracks like Fake Love are the reason I can never get the whole way through a Drake album.
Young Thug is a real G. Ice Melts is a jam but Drake keeps interrupting to talk about moving to girls.
The final track Do Not Disturb is typical introspective Drake. If that’s what you’re here for you’ll dig this.
Record over. Drake’s an evil genius.
It’s a long ass record. If you made it to the end then congratulations. Double impressed if you made it to the end of this article.
More Life is out now.