Whilst the initial announcement of ‘More Life’ as a playlist was met with some understandable confusion; it only takes a quick listen through to realise that the description couldn’t be more fitting. Yes, ‘More Life’ is indeed a collection of brand new Drake songs, but the release sees him curating just as much as creating.
Clocking in at a hefty 22 tracks, the project is packed with features from a selection of the Toronto rapper’s favourite artists of the moment. Of course you’ve got your USA rap dream team staples, with Young Thug, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott all making appearances; but perhaps most exciting for us biased listeners from the other side of the pond, is the abundance of UK talent that features.
For the most part, Drake takes a step back and lets his musical comrades take the reins; reinforcing the statement that this is indeed a playlist, as ‘More Life’ twists and turns through a variety of sounds reflecting the influence of Drake’s collaborators.
‘Glow’ with Kanye West sounds more Kanye than Kanye has for a long time. Sampha takes centre stage on the atmospheric ‘4422’ as does Skepta on ‘Skepta Interlude’; which definitely sounds more Tottenham than it does Toronto. Hard-hitting road-rap banger ‘KMT’ with Giggs on the other hand, sounds like the two MCs going back to back on the top deck of the 177 bus to Peckham.
The accomplished lyricism Drake is commonly praised for is not as prominent as on past releases. However ‘More Life’ isn’t without its moments. From the jump we hear Drizzy putting the boot into Meek Mill on ‘Free Smoke’, turning the subject of Meek’s ghost-writing allegations on its head, “How you let the kid fighting ghostwriting rumors turn you into a ghost”, before dealing further blows on ‘Lose You’ – “All you did was write the book on garbage ass Rollies, ego stroking, picture posting”.
It could be likely that Drake is saving his best bars for a more official project. Not that it matters, as there are enough great moments over the project’s 22 tracks to get fans excited; with the more melodic numbers in particular standing out. Undeniably infectious, ‘Passionfruit’ leads the way in reviving the danceable rhythms and Caribbean flavoured influences we heard on previous chart topper ‘One Dance’, which continue on the sun-kissed ‘Madiba Riddim’ and addictive, hook-laden ‘Blem’. ‘Get it Together’ unites the Toronto rapper with Birmingham’s nu-soul queen Jorja Smith and South African house producer Black Coffee; resulting in what has to be the most experimental track from any rapper we’ve ever heard.
With ‘More Life’ Drake has continued to innovate the way we consume music, outwork everyone in his lane and use his positon as one of the biggest artists in the world to shine a light on the UK’s music scene. With all that being said, the best thing about ‘More Life’ is that it really just feels like a guy having fun making music with his friends.
‘More Life’ is out now via Cash Money Records.