Drake’s VIEWS was probably one of his most anticipated albums, with the cover featuring an image of the hip-hop crooner photoshopped sitting on top of Toronto’s CN Tower. The strikingly cheesy photoshop job was a pre-cursor to the equally as cheesy album, as VIEWS did not stack up to the hype that it was getting, especially in comparison to the monumental genre-bending mixtape, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late that Drake dropped in 2016.
It seemed like whatever metaphysical otherworldly hold producer Noah “40” Shebib and Drake had deteriorated during VIEWS, as the melodies and the tracks didn’t flow together as effortlessly as they had on previous releases. Drake must have realized this sudden disconnect because his newest release More Life is a melodious synching of switched-up flows and productions that make for a great savior from the audible hiccup that was VIEWS.
Packed with twenty-two tracks, Drake dubbed this collection of music a playlist, and I believe that was due to the fact that some of the best moments on the album barely involve Drake at all. One of the most notable tracks on More Life is “4422”, a stunning atmospheric echo chamber of gorgeous synths that features the bone-chilling vocals of UK artist, Sampha. The hypnotic vocals had me sexy dancing like Jimmy Jr. from Bob’s Burgers about two minutes in, which means the mission of the song was pretty much accomplished.
“Skepta Interlude” is another standout that doesn’t feature Drake, with the famed UK rap star riding the aggressive beat with ease. “Portland” is a summery track that features Migos member, Quavo, and Travis Scott. The beat seems like it came straight out of Lil Yachty’s discography, complete with school recorders and all, but works with Quavo’s signature singsong flow, and Travis’ autotune.
The controversial “KMT” is also a standout due to UK rapper Giggs’ gruff delivery, although it was painfully obvious that Drake lifted up and comer XXXtentacion’s stabbing flow for his verses. One can argue that this flow is nothing new, but it is no coincidence that Drake decided to use this flow shortly after XXXtentacion’s wave gained some momentum.
“Glow” is as close as we have heard of the “Old Kanye” in a while, and as much as I wanted to like the track, it didn’t quite work for me. Kanye’s boisterous singing and Drake’s whispery vocals created a hodgepodge of sounds that were not sonically pleasing, which was even more alarming on a playlist that does excel in matching vocals with beats so well.
The “Hotline Bling” or the radio-safe soccer mom hit of this album is definitely “Passionfruit”. The Dancehall-lite beats that made “One Dance” and “Hotline Bling” so popular are rampant in this track complete with the enchanting monotone vocals that made Drake a household name.
All-in-all if we are looking at More Life works as a “playlist”, but as a body of work for one artist, Drake doesn’t get his shine on this album. If this is purposeful, then I commend Drake on leaving room for others to get recognition, but if this is a cunning attempt to drop an album without having to get judged as though it is, then he has some work to do.