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After his last album, ‘Views,’ fell flat, Drake seems to have rediscovered his magic in ‘More Life.’

A Track-by-Track Review of Drake's "More Life"

More Life, More Everything

After his last album, ‘Views,’ fell flat, Drake seems to have rediscovered his magic in ‘More Life.’

By Rae-Kwon Andrews, Saint Leo University

On March 18th, the brief wait for Drake fans worldwide ended when the Canadian artist released his mixtape “More Life.”

As he said originally, on October 23rd, 2016, the project was promised to release in December, but was later pushed to the “top of 2017.” Nonetheless, “More Life” finally arrived. Was the playlist worth the wait? I’ll discuss the lead up to this project, taking you track by track and you can ultimately decide if it was.

The timeline starts for this project on July 23th, 2016. This is the date of the Summer Sixteen tour stop in Kansas City, and the very first hint Drake fans received that “The Boy” was cooking up something yet again for his fans.

“I want you to protect yourselves and each other so that when I go work on this new mixtape and come back to Kansas City and I drop that shit, I wanna see everybody in this motherfucker, boy,” Drake said before closing the show.

On his birthday episode of OVO Sound Radio last year, Drake announced “More Life” officially for the first time. Continuing on the episode, Drake shared his ambition and reasoning for another project following up soon after his latest album, “Views.”

A Track-by-Track Review of Drake's "More Life"
Image via SKY1876

“I had a great tour. I had a great summer. And most people I guess would probably go take a break, but for me, I just wanna get right back to it. Be with the people again” said Drake.

Track 1 is “Free Smoke.” The song opens with a sample of Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Building a Ladder.” If you have been following Drake’s the Boy Meets World Tour or have attended a show, you might recognize the song being played just before Drake hits the stage.

There is no given reason for the song’s inclusion other than the assumption that Drake simply likes the song, a hypothesis that this Instagram post supports. After a beautiful, soft introduction sample, listeners are then greeted with some gritty production, as Drake proceeds to tell his current and potential foes to “watch how you speak on my name, you know?”

Notable verses on the track include: “Almost gave up on the music thing, but we all so spoiled now. More life, more everything”; “I didn’t listen to Hov on that old song when he told me to pay it no mind. I get more satisfaction out of going at your head and seeing all of you die. And I’ve seen a lot of you die”; and, “How you let the kid fighting ghost writing rumors turn you to a ghost?”

After the intro, the second track on the album is “No Long Talk” featuring UK artist Giggs. I also want to note that this song is produced by Canadian producer Murda Beatz, as I feel his impact will grow similarly to that of Metro Boomin.

This track, as well as Free Smoke, was often played in rotation at after parties during the Boy Meets World tour, a teaser technique often employed by Drake to gauge a song’s potency. Murda Beatz serves up a “not nice” beat with a great bounce in which Drake and Giggs counter with a verse each and no hook.

Following that is “Passionfruit,” a song that has since grown to be one of the mixtape’s bangers. As an avid Drake fan, it took me a few listens to digest this peaceful and mellow track, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. The instrumentation is composed of soft drums and snares as Drake sings about a passive partner in his life.

Track four is titled “Jorja Interlude,” referencing Jorja as in Jorja Smith. This song is one of my early favorites, as the opening line “Tryna stay light on my toes” resonates with me. A rather soft interlude with some bass to give it a bounce. Drake raps about his exhaustion with men and women who try to steer him off course. One notable line: “All of my brothers we equal. I play my part, too, like a sequel.”

“Get It Together” follow the first interlude, and the song features Black Coffee and Jorja Smith. As a surprise to everyone, Jennifer Lopez was not featured on the song. Twitter claims that Lopez was removed from the song due to a technicality when her and Drake were “together.”

The irony here is the song’s title and hook, which is “You need me to get that shit together so we could get together.” This is fun record. I could see it being remixed into some sort of house music, although it has a nice, electric bounce to it already.

Following the light mood of the previous song, “Madiba Riddim” comes a little harder. This tweet sums this song up perfectly. Unfortunately, the “culture vulture” comments were brought out again partly due to this song. Critics of Drake often try to shame the artist for stealing sounds, but fellow Canadian artist Kardinal Offishall bids to set the record straight.

I must note, I love the song’s hook: “God knows I’m trying. God knows I’m trying for you.” It has such a liberating feel to it, as Drake belts it over the Caribbean, melodic beat. Maddas!

Then comes “Blem,” my standout favorite track from the playlist thus far. “Blem” continues the Caribbean vibes that Madiba Riddim kicked off. The song is all about being honest, which is far from a foreign concept to Drake.

The eighth track on the marathon-length album is “4422,” a song that could also be titled “Sampha’s Interlude,” as the UK artist, fresh off his debut album Process, graces the work with his vibes. If you’re not listening closely, you may not catch when the track transitions into the next, as it is a subtle, yet beautiful shift.

Sampha’s melodies glide smoothly into the album’s ninth song, “Gyalchester.” “Hermes link, ice blue mink” boasts Drake after letting the beat build up for a few seconds, a catchy refrain that has the makings of a pop culture phenomenon. The track also features nice background vocals from one of Drake’s friends, Baka Not Nice.

Next is another interstitial piece, this one called “Skepta Interlude.” Skepta is arguably the biggest UK artist to grace the playlist, and his inclusion on the album only testifies further to the fact that Drake is literally featuring sounds, influences and ideas from all across the world. Though hip hop is an unmistakably American genre of music, Drake has done more than most to expand its horizons by featuring the dearth of talent the world has to offer.

Following Skepta comes “Portland” featuring Quavo (of Migos) and Travis Scott, with production again from Murda Beatz who I spoke about in track two. “My side girl got a 5s with the screen cracked, still hit me back right away,” says Drake over the flute-filled banger of an instrumental. This track, as well as “Free Smoke” and “Passionfruit,” have earned a star by their name to indicate their popularity amongst Apple Music listeners.

The twelfth track on the album is “Sacrifices” featuring 2 Chainz and Young Thug. The hook gives this banger a nice, inspirational feel. “And I’m convinced, I’ve made sacrifices I’ve been balling ever since. We seeing so many blessings, shit don’t make no sense.” This threesome is a new-age trifecta of rap talent, spanning the lyrical spectrum in their own respects, but working in unison without skipping a beat.

In the next track, “Nothings Into Somethings,” Drake is alone again. “Big cup of act, I’m drowsy” says Drake, as he opens this after-hours track. I love the mood this song conveys. Definitely a nighttime song to cruise to. You can even hear an engine revving in the middle.

Next is “Teenage Fever,” another twilight-themed ballad a tad more boastful than the one prior. “I met someone new last night and we kicked it” croons Drake. This song ironically samples Lopez’s “If You Had My Love,” leaving yet another hint of Drake’s fling with J-Lo hanging in the rafters.

If you saw Drake on his Boy Meets World Tour, the next song, “KMT,” which features Giggs, should be familiar, as he would play it toward the middle of his set, while Drake’s globe inflated. “I heard your new shit and I’m kissing my teeth. Jeez!” Drake says to end his only verse.

On the next song, “Lose You,” Drake just wants to know if you’re paying attention. Did he lose you? Are you aware of what is occurring in his life? If not, consider this him checking in.

Track seventeen is “Can’t Have Everything.” The second verse on this song threw me. It felt off tempo to me at first, and I’m not too sure if it still is or not, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. Even at Drake’s height, he still wants a lot, but like the title, he can’t have everything.

A Track-by-Track Review of Drake's "More Life"
Image via XXL

The next cut is “Glow” featuring Kanye West. On my first listen, I didn’t recognize Kanye’s voice. Maybe I was in shock because I was not expecting him to be on this project. From a fan’s perspective, the two artists were on unknown terms after Kanye spoke up about his feelings towards DJ Khaled’s record “For Free” featuring Drake.

After Kanye’s somewhat underwhelming cameo, the next song is “Since Way Back” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. “PND” as he’s often referred to, has a niche for the night time vibes, which is partly why Drake signed him. The two croon on about how things used to be with past partners.

The twentieth song is “Fake Love,” which just about every human on the planet has heard by now, so there’s no need to tell you more. No surprise that it was included on the playlist after the attention it garnished post release.

Track twenty-one, “Ice Melts,” features Young Thug again. “Fake Love” and “Ice Melts” pick the mood back up on the playlist with energetic, daytime instrumentals. Young Thug warbles all over this track, but at this point you know what you’re getting from the Atlanta artist.

The final track on the work is “Do Not Disturb.” As Drake says on the track, he could have named it “7 a.m. in Germany” and thrown the fans into a frenzy over which of his songs with a time in the title is the best. Reminiscent of his “30 for 30 Freestyle,” Drake always makes it a point to finish his projects strong.

“Maybe getting back to my regular life will humble me. I’ll be back 2018 to give you the summary. More life” says Drake as he closes his final verse. Will we really not hear from Drake again until 2018? Only time will tell, but you should already know that his work ethic is impeccable.

I hope I’ve encouraged you to give “More Life” a listen. It’s available everywhere where music is sold and streamed.

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