By Nick Erickson, Staff writer
When renowned Canadian artist Drake released “Views” in spring of 2016, he grabbed the world where it hurt: their hearts. His blend of cheeky wit with over-simplified emotion (not to mention catchy beats) has sent him to the top the past couple of years. His next effort, “More Life,” shows that Drake is taking his artistic liberties to new heights and creating the strangest 22 tracks of his career.
“More Life” has an array of influences, most of which work well in Drake’s favor. Though trap beats and classic pop are the most prominent, ambient rhythm and blues and tropicana make appearances throughout. Intro “Free Smoke” opens with bluesy piano and female serenading before the trap beat drops. Drake enters, rapping about his achievements, from drunk texting female artists to ghost-writing.
Lead single “Passionfruit” holds its own and is one of the first stand-out tracks. A mellow looped beat and atmospheric chords and claps give listeners an island vibe. Drake utilizes the smooth singing voice he is praised for, though singing of rough heartache, in a fitting juxtaposition.
“Listen, hard at buildin’ trust from a distance. I think we should rule out commitment for now. ’Cause we’re fallin’ apart.”
“Get It Together” allows Jorja Smith and Drake to show some chemistry via a romantic Caribbean number. Infused with modern pop sensibilities, this track is both sensual and easy to dance to. Travis Scott’s feature on “Portland” is impactful, but the looped flute melody sounds awfully humorous. Here, Drake reveals that he has plans for his future.
2 Chainz and Young Thug’s contributions to “Sacrifices” do not deter listeners from the core message with any antics. This piano-laden number is as laidback as it can get, with Drake admitting his regrets. Meanwhile, Kanye West’s infamous prowl brings energy on “Glow” with some of the hardest-hitting beats on the album. PartyNextDoor’s rich voice steals the show on “Since Way Back,” which is comprised of silky, minimalistic guitar and a lot of reverb and added effects. The spacey nature of this track gives a sense of openness, allowing Drake to convey emotion authentically.
The organs that open the closer “Do Not Disturb” quickly serve to enhance Drake’s flow and the thunderous percussion behind him. Singing of various stories in various cities (including buying his old lover a fake Chanel wallet), this track plateaus from the start, but the various glitches and noises in the background are oddly captivating. A strange end to the record, this track feels like trap and a random number from a 1950s radio station combined.
There is no one sound on “More Life.” While Drake does not technically break the mold of music, one thing he does well is transcend styles from song to song. Always keeping true to himself with personal charm, he’s never afraid to use instruments or try his hand with new vocal ideas. Drake proves he can rap and sing about his thoughts in more than one way and for that, one can commend him for what he is: an artist.