By Krista DeJulio & Ryan Fitzgerald – Co-Editors-in-Chief
The boy is back. Less than 11 months after the mixed-reviewed “Views” was released, Drake has shook the world again. With a rushed release in the late hours of Saturday, March 18 and with what should be his seventh album, Drake has released what is actually his first playlist titled “More Life.” The cover features a vintage picture of Drake’s father and a subtitle below stating “A Playlist by October Firm.” October’s Very Own Sound (OVO) is the name of Drake’s label but now it seems the label will be referred to as a firm.
At 81 minutes (“Views” actually being the same length of time) and 22 songs, it comes with a mix of sounds. The New York Times says of the album, “A playlist in the streaming era, by contrast, is a collection of moods, impressions, influences and references; it’s a river that flows in one direction, ending somewhere far from the beginning (if it ends at all).” That’s what Drake is giving us with the playlist: a collection of moods, unique rhythms and sounds by blending Canadian, African, Jamaican and Carribean vibes. Calling it a playlist puts it in a different classification than Drake’s other albums and mixtapes because it is something quite different.
With the opening song “Free Smoke” comes the line “I drunk text J-Lo/Old number, so it bounce back” (the two were rumored to have been dating at the end of last year) and Jennifer Lopez’s lyrics from her 1999 song “If You Had My Love” is featured in “Teenage Fever.” The closing song “Do Not Disturb” features the line “I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary.”
Drake mixes rap verses with soft ballads like he has on just about every other project. There are guest appearances from Kanye West, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Travis Scott, Quavo, 2 Chainz and Young Thug appears on two songs. Thug steals the best feature on the playlist with his futuristic flow on “Sacrifices.” Drake brings in low-key British singer and producer Sampa on a beautiful “4422” and Black Coffee, a DJ, on “Get It Together,” a song reminiscent of classic Drizzy. He also features British rapper Giggs on two songs and includes an interlude by Skepta.
With more rappers releasing mixtapes (an album that isn’t released through a record label, think Chance the Rapper.), Drake has chosen a different avenue with the release of a full-length playlist.
At this point it’s hard not to like Drake. He’s a cultural icon and his evolution as a rapper and performer has been impressive.
The playlist allows Drake to jump from one branch to another; expressing desires, insecurities and confidence with each sound. After “More Life” we will likely see more playlists and concepts like this. He continues to create his own genre.
Krista’s picks: “Nothings Into Somethings,” “Blem,” “Teenage Fever,” “Can’t Have Everything.”
Ryan’s picks: “Free Smoke,” “No Long Talk,” “Sacrifices,” “Passionfruit,” “Do Not Disturb.”