Written by Ibrahim Ajaib
Coming off the back of Drake’s previous album “VIEWS” which divided opinion whilst being a commercial success, Drake releases his latest project More Life ‘A Playlist by October Firm’. Firstly, this project does its job as a playlist, having a variety of tracks with various styles and features. It’s fair to say that if you have been a fan of any of Drake’s previous music you will find at least some tracks enjoyable from More Life. The album includes features from Kanye West, Travis Scott, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Young Thug and UK grime artists Skepta and Giggs.
Drake has now used so many styles in his music reflecting the culture and diversity of Toronto however with all these styles Drake has adopted, it’s difficult to see the true Drake in his music. I enjoyed this project much more so in comparison to VIEWS, however I do feel that making this a playlist rather than an album is a huge cop out to avoid any criticism that the project isn’t consistent. I feel that if this was a 12 track album consisting of Free Smoke, No Long Talk, 4422, Gyalchester, Skepta Interlude, Portland, Sacrifices, KMT, Lose You, Glow, Fake Love and Do Not Disturb this would be a contender for my album of the year and would rival the quality of “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”.
The project starts off with “Free Smoke” which definitely hits harder than “Keep the Family Close” from VIEWS. This sounds like a return to form for Drake even firing subliminals towards Meek Mill with ‘How you let the kid fightin, ghost-writin’ rumors turn you to a ghost?’. This is the Drake sound and energy I missed from VIEWS.
The next track “No Long Talk” with the first feature on the project from Giggs and continuing with some hard-hitting production. Then going into Passionfruit which is more ‘typical’ Drake a complete change from the previous tracks. A smooth tropical style beat along with Drake’s soft vocals makes a good change of style for the project adding some variety. If released slightly later, this could be a contender for song of the summer. In fact, the summer vibes are so strong in this that it still could be.
When Jorja Interlude hits fans of his project “Take Care” will notice that the same harmonica sample used in Doing It Wrong is used which is a nice throwback. This is a smooth track, which at the end blends into the next track “Get It Together” with another switch up in production with some rhythmic drums and some smooth vocals from Jorja Smith and Drake only featuring on the hook. Jorja Smith’s vocals actually take the lyrics from Black Coffee’s ‘Superman’ earning him a feature.
The next song “Madiba Riddim” further adds to the tropical Caribbean-esque vibes. Continuing in this style Blem comes in which has some high tempo hi hats which are a nice touch but it has no been 5 tracks with a similar style which begins to become stale.
‘Michael Phelps with the swim moves, Michael Jordan with the tennis shoes’. The next track “Portland” features two of my favourite artists currently Quavo and Travis Scott. The beat is beautiful featuring a flute sample which I did not even know I needed until Futures Mask Off. Drake has a nice flow on this and even some apparent shots at Tory Lanez ‘Got a torch, tryna light the way, Bitin’ everybody, which is ironic ’cause your next album probably won’t ever see the light of day.’ Quavo kills his feature and gives us a memorable hook and Travis Scott with his auto tune enhanced vocals which sound great as usual.
Sacrifices (one of my favourite songs) comes in with some smooth piano keys and an even smoother Drake flow. Including features from more of my favourite rappers and underrated 2 Chainz and Young Thug. 2 Chainz has a good verse as usual ending with a shout out for his upcoming album ‘Pretty Girls Like Trap Music’. Young Thug may have my favourite flow on the whole album and definitely my favourite verse on this track, riding the beat seamlessly and sounding very different and much clearer than his usual self.
This then goes into “Nothings Into Something” which seems like an interlude of sorts with Drake going back into his singing self (maybe to detract from being renegaded by Young Thug). This sounds very Partynextdoor. This then goes into another singing Drake song, Teenage Fever. This contains a sample from Jennifer Lopez and is a much slower song compared to the rest of the project.
Another huge change of pace with “KMT” featuring Giggs. This beat is thunderous and engages as soon as it starts. Drake was accused of stealing XXXTENTACION’s flow on this track and I can understand why even though this flow has been around for a while but even the rhymes sound similar. I really enjoyed Giggs’ verse and he evens ends with ‘Batman, da-na-na-da-na’.
Again going back to the slower singing Drake in the 16th track ‘Lose You’. This sounds like the classic Drake. This has a nice Drake flow with just the right amount of self-reflection. Even more shots at Meek Mill with ‘All you did was write the book on garbage-ass Rollies, Ego strokin’, picture postin’.’ The hook sounds so real with the ‘Did I? Did I? Did I lose you?’. The next track Can’t Have Everything has such a smooth drum beat with an equally sleek flow acknowledge that he can’t have everything but wants everything even ending with a voicemail from his mother addressing that his negativity in her son’s music finishing with when others go low, we go high.
In possibly one of the most anticipated tracks “Glow” with a feature from Kanye West.
Drake and Kanye go back and forth over this beat with both of them exchanging both singing and rapping verses and sharing the hook.
This is the Kanye I have missed, the emotion put into the music is some I haven’t heard since his earlier music. This then goes into Since Way Back featuring PartyNextDoor and both him and Drake give solid verses with a more R&B style track. This track was a slight come down from the previous track, Glow, however it is a solid standalone track.
A familiar sound hits in the 20th track with Fake Love. This track was released as a single in October 2016 and has gained huge radio attention. This is a catchy song and will appeal to most of Drakes fanbase. ‘I got fake people showin’ fake love to me, Straight up to my face, straight up to my face’.
In the penultimate track “Ice Melts“, Young Thug returns to form. I am a huge fan of Young Thug and his ability to flow over any beat. This has some enjoyable melodic production with some solid Drake verses and a catchy Thugger hook. ‘Icy like 1017’ a nice shout out to Gucci Mane’s record label.
The project ends with “Do Not Disturb” which is a good outro with Drake having a single 3 minute verse ending with ‘I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary’ leaving us wanting more.
Overall this is an enjoyable project with a huge variety and some excellent features. This works very well as a playlist which enables Drake to avoid criticism of lack of continuity and consistency. However, as an album (which I believe this should have been) this has many shortcomings.