Music review: Drake’s playlist More Life a nice surprise

I personally wasn’t a huge fan of Drake’s album Views, so I was pretty skeptical about liking Drake’s new playlist More Life. The playlist dropped on March 18, and I quickly jumped to listen to it once it was on Spotify. As one of the most polarizing rappers in the game today, we can all agree that people either love or hate Drake, or love to hate him. I’ll admit that I get in my “Drake moods” once in a while, and if I’m feeling like I want to drown in the feels, Drake is my go-to. I’ll point out that in More Life, it’s not all about Drake this time. In fact, his dad appears on the cover, not him. He avoids singing about women who’ve hurt him, and he features various other artists in the tracks. The result is a diverse production, improving on the flaws from Views.

In the track “Do Not Disturb,” Drake reflects on Views, rapping “I was an angry youth while I was writing Views / I saw a side of myself that I just never knew.” As with lots of Drake songs, we find him in a pensive state in this track. He reflects on what happened after he released Views. At the time, Drake was under the microscope and being accused of not writing his own music. The track is brutally honest, and I appreciate that. Views may have gotten lots of negative reviews, but I think that the negativity brought out a more aggressive Drake, which I definitely get a feel for in More Life.

Notable in the playlist is the song “No Long Talk,” which features London rapper Giggs. In the first verse, Drake raps “That’s Baka / he’s a no-long talker,” in reference to a member of the OVO crew and his long-time friend. “No long talk” is a Jamaican phrase used to express frustration with someone who talks too much. The song also includes other Jamaican expressions, which gives the song attitude, and I like that.

I’ll admit I was pretty excited to see Young Thug featured on one of Drake’s tracks. He appears with 2 Chainz on the song “Sacrifices.” The song has a chill beat, and more of a reminiscent tone. 2 Chainz and Young Thug are both from Atlanta. In the song, the rappers paint a picture about the sacrifices they’ve made during their lives, and the hurdles they’ve overcome in their careers. Drake’s verses in the song seem to serve more as a filler, which I’m okay with in this case. He echoes “And I’m convinced / I made sacrifices / I been ballin’ ever since / We been seein’ so many blessings, sh*t don’t make no sense / Someone watchin’ over us, so shout goes out to Him.” Young Thug also appears in a fun track called “Ice Melts” in the playlist.

Another collaboration I was a fan of in More Life was the song “Portland,” featuring Quavo and Travis Scott. It’s been mentioned that the title refers to Portland, Oregon, home of the NBA team the Trailblazers. The name of the team suggests that they make their own paths and don’t just follow the trends and what’s popular.

Travis Scott also recently said in a tweet, “I was once asked my fav place in America to find peace. Portland is the answer. Took a trip and found happiness.” The song has a catchy beat and is a good listen.

I love the singer Sampha, so I was pleased to hear him in the track “4422.” However, Drake doesn’t appear in the song at all. The majority of the track was written and performed by Sampha. The main theme surrounding the song is likely based on the bible verse Isaiah 44:22, relating to forgiveness and acceptance. The feels flood in with this track and I’ll admit to giving Drake at least some credit in helping Sampha get the exposure he deserves from this track. It’s important to know that Drake released More Life as a “playlist” versus an “album,” in order for it to be viewed more as a collection of works rather than something that Drake takes complete ownership of.

To be completely honest, I didn’t know what to think about a Drake and Kanye collaboration, in the song “Glow.” However, it did grow on me after some time. Kanye’s verses have an attitude of reflection with reminiscent lyrics like “We go suit and tie, we gon’ touch the sky.” The outro of the sky is a breeze of 70’s nostalgia, featuring a sample of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song “Devotion.”

More Life contains 22 total songs and is filled with a variety of moods and artists. The crazy thing is that I didn’t expect to love this playlist and I can’t say much else besides it was everything that I didn’t know I needed.

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