More Life: An Album Review

Noah Elmore

Death, taxes, and another boring Drake release. These are the only certainties in life. Drake’s work, officially released on March 18th as a playlist, was played via OVO Sound Radio. A week after the release, I have had ample time to listen to, digest, and attempt to understand the 22 track, 1 hour and 21 minute long, More Life.

The highlights on this album are scattered for me. The production shines in some places, on songs like “Free Smoke”, “Passionfruit” “Glow”, and “Portland”. Additionally, the production is admirably varied, reaching into Jamaican dancehall and old soul samples. Some of the feature verses, notably Young Thug’s, are incredible. Sampha (whose debut album I wrote about here) and Skepta make two great appearances here as well.

However, that’s about all I have to say positively about this album. I haven’t been a fan of a Drake work since his 2013 release, Nothing was the Same, and this playlist pushes me further away. Drake continues to attempt to replicate the success of his smash hit “One Dance” from Views by venturing further and further into dancehall. While I can appreciate the attempt, it’s simply not good. It feels incredibly inauthentic; even though Jamaican influences have filtered into Toronto music since the 2000s, because Drake has notably claimed rep Houston and Atlanta.

Drake’s flow is astonishingly lackluster. It’s lazy and laid back, and while that style can fit other rappers, it comes off as blasé and monotone. Since I brought it up, Drake’s flow on the song “KMT” (which features the worst lines I’ve heard on a major album release since some of Kanye’s embarrassing bars from The Life of Pablo from Gibbs) is a complete rip off of Floridian rapper XXXtentacion’s flow on “Look at Me!”. It’s such a blatant bite, that it even features the same rhyme scheme, where Drake rhymes cans with advance, and XXXtentacion rhymes mans with pants.

The lyrics are so generically relatable, they sound like a bad horoscope website. They inspire no emotional connection at all because they’re so bland. The awful faux accent entirely removes any authenticity from Drake and his persona, particularly in a genre where authenticity, or at least the perception of it, reigns king. The best songs on this album have features, meaning Drake’s appearances are minimized. The uninspiring dancehall production sounds like a lazy attempt to create “One Dance, Part 2”. The many negatives outweigh the very few positives this playlist brings.

Overall, I’d score it 3 of 10. I won’t return to this album, save the few songs that feature other artists. My favorites off this album are: “Passionfruit”, “Portland”, and “4422”. While I wasn’t a fan, maybe you may enjoy this album more. It is available to stream on all major platforms.

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