Written by Carina Ly and Dorica Santos
After all the teasing and waiting, Drake blessed his fans with the release of More Life on March 18th. It’s safe to say that it was madness; the album broke records and had a total of 600 million streams in the first week. Drake cleverly released the album with a live stream on OVO Sound Radio, it was a worldwide listening party where we were forced to listen to the album all the way through and in order, the way you should listen to a new album.
Also, the album is laid out like old R’n’B albums that have songs that fade into each other; therefore you HAVE to listen to it in order. More Life tracks did not disappoint as Drake wasn’t afraid to explore a range genres, make use of known slang words, as well as that, Drake used this opportunity to let the world know of the talented artist we have in the UK.
Prior to listening to the first release on OVO Sound, it was difficult to resist the hype, which lead to anticipation and expectations for the project spiking hours before its release.
Listeners are introduced to the album with the first track, Free Smoke, which, is filled with shots left, right, and centre. Drake addresses and challenges things said against him in the media, declaring his dominance in the rap game. This theme carries onto in No Long Talk, which for Americans introduces them to Giggs, yet for us Brits, got us very hyped up.
Once we settled down, we had to give the whole project a proper listen, with an open mind and unbiased attitude. One of the most standout tracks is definitely Passionfruit. It is literally the epitome of summer vibes; it is one of the most easy-going, finger-clicking almost happy-go-lucky sounds from Drake for a long time. The introduction took a similar sound to Pound Cake so perhaps this is Drake bringing back his old sounds; something we may come back to later on.
From Jorja Interlude to Get It Together, Jorja Smith dominates yet another track, whilst Drake only appears to be in chorus. He is taking a step back for Jorja Smith to shine, and boy, does she. Her gorgeous vocals light up the ballad, with lyrics that appear in Black Coffee’s, Superman. The song highlights problems in a relationship that needs solving in a passionate yet groovy way. The song takes you back to the UK club bangers including, tracks by Katy B’s Moving With Lights On and Teedra Moses’ Be Your Girl.
Following Get It Together is Madiba Riddim. The track is about his journey through fame and his life revolving around questionable friendships. The lyrics hit us like a truck speeding at 50 mph, which left us reflecting on how genuine some of our friendships and so forth really are. Madiba Riddum is most likely an honourable track to Nelson Mandela, who was known by Madiba as his clan name which was a term used as a sign of respect and affection.
We then witness Drake’s ‘roadman’ side in Blem, which perhaps takes until the fifth listen to appreciate and understand.. Whilst high, aka Blem, Drake decides to use this opportunity to address and be sincere with a woman that he is feeling: “I need you to stop running back to your ex, he’s a wasteman.” Say it loud and say it proud Drake. The track gives off a Caribbean vibe with its backing track and the use of slang words such as “blem,” ”switch” and unfortunately had us agonising over where Drake got his line “Together Forever,” This isn’t the first time Lionel Richie’s All Night Long as made an appearance on a track, it also appeared in Craig David’s Can’t Be Messing Around.
We witness different sides to Drake throughout the album; Yardie, roadman, emotional, respectful: the Drake that true fans know about. At the heart of the album, Drake collaborates with artists such as Young Thug and Travis Scott, showing off his international contacts. Admittedly, the US artists weren’t as good as the UK artists’ features, but this is just our upfront bias. Although, we do enjoy the catchy sounds of Ice Melts. From tracks 9 to 12 we only hear Drake sing, but then Drake gets us in our feels in Nothing to Somethings, but more importantly, Teenage Fever.
Teenage Fever, boy oh boy oh boy. If this song didn’t give you the feels, then we just don’t know for you. This song is all singing and all feels. Drake sings about his transition from one lover to another… from Rihanna to J Lo? Maybe? In fact, let’s pretend it is two random females, because we’ve seen what you guys have said on twitter, the savagery is real. Moving forward, what makes this song extra special is that Drake was able to find a deep and emotional connection with one of the 90s least favourite bangers, now that’s talent. Teenage Fever perfectly captures what it feels like to be with your crush. Indeed it is like a teenage dream, but despite this amazing feeling, Drake can’t help but reflect back on his old relationship. We all do that don’t we? Compare and contrast the bae with ex-bae, it’s inevitable.
Admittedly, Satan Dave’s commentary at the end of Teenage Fever kills the vibes and this doesn’t help if you want to play Teenage Fever on repeat. Nonetheless, it does set the mood for the next track that got EVERYONE talking.
This is the second track that Giggs appears on in the album and it is pretty much dedicated to Britain, don’t @ (at) me. The reason for this is because of the hate from Americans, and the fact that they could not understand the hype for Giggs, or in fact Giggs himself, proving that it is for us British people. This track will definitely be that track in the club that will get you and your crew hyped no matter what. To most, Giggs last few bars were the highlight of the track in particular that one line. You guessed it, “batman da-na-na-da-na!”
Another confession. We weren’t really feeling the Kanye West song. It just felt like the song was there for the sake of having Yeezy on the project. Then again, it could give flashbacks to when he featured on Forever as well as exaggerating the shots sent to Jay Z. The song didn’t really feel it had a purpose, but just one catchphrase that people could use as captions or something. Luckily for Drake, he redeemed himself with the next track featuring the soulful, PartyNextDoor.
Our expectations levels were no doubt hitting the roof, however upon listening the urge to crumble out of disappointment was real. Party’s feature was repetitive, short and unfinished. It almost sounds like that there is more Party has to say to about this girl he had history with way way back, but Drake cut him short, something not uncommon. Having said that, Party’s gift in producing shines brightly through the track creating a tumbling wave of melancholy and slow tempo sounds especially towards the end. Drake’s verses in Since Way Back delivers the usual Drizzy “I miss you, come back to my life” lyrics.
The best thing about this album is the risks Drake took. He explored so many cultures, genres, and sets of slangs. Indeed, the sampling in this album is too real, but Drake manages to do it in a way where we don’t get tired of it. Yes, we’ve all made jokes and memes about how Drake is ‘stealing cultures,’ yet More Life shows how he is merely an open-minded person and just enjoying himself, living life. Drake if you’re reading this, we apologise on behalf those who made fun of you, it’s all love really. More Life is an album that appeals to nearly everyone, and even if you feel it doesn’t, keep listening to it and eventually you will give in.
Check out the playlist below