track-by-track: drake, "more life"
We unpack Drake's new playlist, in which the artist rehashes insecurities with a new frame of reference.
Much like his former paramour Rihanna, Drake is in a constant state of reinvention. 2016's Views solidified him as the Digital 6-God, with his 'don't stop 'til you get it right' approach to the project making him last year's best-selling artist. From switching up album titles to tweaking tracks into hit singles, Drizzy not only utilized his digital platform, he completely manipulated it to his advantage.
So when the rumblings of More Life started last autumn, we just knew he was about to change it up once again. Touted as a 'playlist,' the project is described more as a collection of songs than as his fifth studio album. It's no surprise that Drake has reach, but that reach is never without a long line of trolls ready to dismantle his growing legacy. For that reason, More Life is an unadulterated win, a project that effectively lacks continuity yet somehow oozes cohesiveness.
Debuted over OVO Sound Radio as Episode 39 and curated by October Firm, More Life is a musical memoir — punctuated with moments from Drake's past and present. Drake rehashes his same insecurities but with a new frame of reference. Call it the confidence of success or the wisdom that comes with entering your 30s, but Drake understands himself better than ever. And by doing so we get to understand him a little bit better too.
1. "Free Smoke"
Tackling everything from drunk texting J-Lo to once again flipping the script on his ghostwriter scandal, Drake fires off on a laundry list of achievements and hindsight while chanting "Free shmoke! Free shmoke!" in between.
2. "No Long Talk" (feat. Giggs)
Sounds: Like A Chune
Drake reinforces his patois, accented with braggadocio as Giggs makes up the difference and manages to outshine his big brother on the track.
Sounds: Smooth AF
Call this one the soundtrack to summer vacation, as Drizzy coos over a gentle house beat and brings the mellow vibes. Before you know it, a hammock has formed beneath you and you're swinging between two palm trees in Bali.
4. "Jorja Interlude"
Sounds: Blissfully Proud
Just a little blasting by quintessential Drake where he gabs about his money and success in a way that only he can.
5. "Get It Together" (feat. Black Coffee & Jorja Smith)
Cute musical couple alert! Jorja Smith and Drake forever. Over soothing percussion with a hint of Caribe vibes, the two trade verses about getting it together. But can they get together though?
6. Madiba Riddim
Sounds: Like One Dance
This seriously could be the "original version" of One Dance in sound, vibe, and cadence. On this one, Drake returns to questioning the people around him. His solution is to create a little distance. Been there, Drake. It doesn't work.
Sounds: Dancehall Drunk
Per Urban Dictionary, 'blem' means high off marijuana, though Drake is sounding like he's completely pissed and about to start drunk-texting his ex on this one. At the heart of it, he just wants a cuddle buddy, and by 'cuddling' he means f**king.
8. "4422" (feat. Sampha)
Lil Wayne hopped on the intro to light up one and "talk about More Life," but it was Sampha who grabbed the ball and drove the track home. Drake never showed up, and neither did Wayne after those opening remarks.
Sounds: Like Church Bells in the Trap
Drake's got the Hermès link and ice-blue mink on with this one, complete with a tat on his ribs. At least that's what he keeps repeating.
10. "Skepta Interlude"
Skepta goes OFF, as he firms up his spot as the next-gen rap star with production that vacillates between video game and strip club.
11. "Portland" (feat. Quavo & Travis Scott)
The wind instrument in the production makes this track sound playful, yet you can tell Drake is dead serious as he gets a little deep into acknowledging he can't be a player with kids and makes plans for when he turns 40. Quavo and Travis Scott do what they usually do on the track.
12. "Sacrifices" (feat. 2 Chainz & Young Thug)
Drake opens the track like a love letter before confessing everything he had to do to climb the ladder of fame, regrets included. 2 Chainz chimes in with his own moments, and Thugger muses over his favorite gun.
13. "Nothings Into Somethings"
This feels like the continuation of "Marvin's Room," as an inebriated Drake learns that an ex is getting married. Of course he asks for an invitation.
14. "Teenage Fever"
More J-Lo innuendos! This time there's an interpolation of Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love" with Drizzy comparing his new love as "teenage fever." This one will have everyone covering their frontal region with an opened textbook.
15. "KMT" (feat. Giggs)
So after all of that love oozing, Drake barks about how he has no time for love and only cares about his team making moves. Meanwhile Giggs jumps back in, talking threats like a champ.
16. "Lose You"
It's refreshing how much Drake puts on for the Dot. This one is all about crew love and loyalty, yet Drake once again proves he has those bars in reserve to shake the haters. No shock that he has a lot of them, but he shall overcome.
17. "Can't Have Everything"
Sounds: Charged Up
Drake is on a roll as he bops along the beat ambitiously wanting it all, yet accepting he can't have it. The irony of it is that he sounds pretty damn confident that he does in fact have it all. The track closes with his mom dropping gems about not getting too consumed by negativity. Wise words from Mama Graham.
18. "Glow" (feat. Kanye West)
Sounds: Like the Old Kanye
So what do you get when you combine Kanye West in his vintage form and emo Drake, both over Auto-Tune and belting out their emotions? A smash. That's what.
19. "Since Way Back" (feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR)
Here goes Drake and PND luring some throwback booty back into their respective bedrooms but not before Drake reminds her that she didn't always want him. How long does he plan on using that shtick though?
20. "Fake Love"
Even though this whole song is about Drake questioning the sincerity of those showing "love," there's still this air of cockiness to him that he can't seem to shake. That's why we love him though, right? Meanwhile, this has to be the safety track in case this project doesn't sell. Hotline Bling ring a bell?
21. "Ice Melts" (feat. Young Thug)
Perhaps it's Young Thug's noisy ad-libs, but this is really just a jittery bunch of Thugger blips with Drake interjecting every now and then with life coaching lessons.
22. "Do Not Disturb"
Signature Drake alert, recalling random stories at times in random cities, one about buying his old girl a fake Chanel wallet. Should've been called "7 AM In Germany" to keep with the theme from songs past, but it's a solid way to close out the "playlist" either way.
Text Kathy Iandoli