Less Is More: Drake Asserts Cultural Dominance on “More Life”
Drake and his “I’d probably self destruct if I ever lose, but I never do” attitude reign as prominent as they ever have on his newest ‘playlist’.
Upon the release of Drake’s newest project, More Life, I figured it’d be best to curtail any expectations I had; following the partial disappointment of Views and the singles he released prior. Consequently, it surpassed each assumption that I didn’t even have for it.
Playlist, mixtape, album, whatever the fuck you call it, this is one of Drake’s most cohesive pieces to date. Hell, it’s so cohesive that calling it anything but an album just seems downright ridiculous, but it’s evident now that no one’s stopping him from doing whatever the hell he wants to.
The world influence on More Life is impossible to go unnoticed, consisting of features from some of London’s hottest artists, Atlanta’s hit-machines and a doozy of dancehall inspired gems; those of which outshine the tracks he made when he’d first begun dipping his feet into tropical waters.
“Passionfruit”, one of two lead singles, embodies and perfects the dancehall rhythm that Drake began to experiment with two summers ago. Though this song has received the same radio treatment as just about every Drake pop smash, this one doesn’t necessarily scream “Controlla” or “One Dance”. This cut seems far more authentic and even a bit reminiscent of “Feel No Ways”, all the while feeling the sonic sensation of a bottle of Malibu being poured down my throat.
That same feeling is exposed to an even higher extent on “Blem”, a breezy, lighthearted ode to smoking mad kush; well, at least that what it means according to Urban Dictionary. I don’t even know, it’s just a fun word to spell. The return of T-Minus could not feel any more exhilarating, as he fills this lively joint up to the brim with groovy synths and a brilliant Lionel Richie interpolation. Drake, meanwhile, receives no backlash for biting that dude from The Chainsmokers’ flow on this track.
Conversely, the controversy behind Drake stealing flows has been all but silent as of late, resulting from using a similar cadence as now-liberated Florida rapper XXXTENTACION on his Soundcloud hit, ‘Look At Me’.
‘KMT’, the song in which he’s accused of doing so, features a horrendous and utterly cringe-worthy verse from Grime artist, Giggs. My input on this flow stealing is minimal, considering the fact that Big Sean steals a Drake flow on literally every single song and usually gets praised by social media, for whatever reason. It’s hard to hate on a song when each bar resembles a brick, “Dust a man down with the pen it’s a sweep/Taller in person, you’ll see when we meet”. Come on man, that’s ridiculous.
He goes on to talk his shit on ‘Can’t Have Everything’, in which he absolutely tears each of his rivals to shreds, boasting, “Y’all really think y’all niggas is teamin’ and scarin’ us/Y’all niggas is arrogant, y’all sleep at the Sheraton.”
What I find to be most satisfying is the fact that this track, along with cuts like ‘Jorja Interlude’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’, hold similarities to the nostalgic tracks that he used to release solely via Soundcloud, years before he jotted down an Apple partnership onto his repertoire.
‘Jorja Interlude’ features up and coming UK-based singer Jorja Smith, who makes a pair of appearances on the project. Drake makes it sound ridiculously easy on this one, flowing delicately over a sample of his own song. “Tryna stay light on my toes, just ran a light in the Rolls/Told me I’m lookin’ exhausted, you hit it right on the nose” was the first of twenty times that he mentioned how tired he is.
‘Do Not Disturb’, the introspective outro, easily fits into his AM/PM series, but instead is a disclaimer to all who plan on seeking a favor. I genuinely don’t think there’s enough people who understand the magnitude behind what Drake has been doing for the past couple years, so I consider this being him taking the time to address it himself.
“I don’t got time to be no Romeo/All the love I need is at the rodeo, all the love I need is here at OVO”, doesn’t that just make you shed a tear? No? For sure, me neither.
This track is Drake’s temporary goodbye. He, of all people, knows how hard he’s been pushing and how much of a strain it’s left on his mental and his global image. The anxieties of the Meek Mill quandary have elongated far more than anyone could’ve expected, but he calls this the last chance he gets to make it personal; therefore, showing a sign of letting go of this grudge and going back to focus on himself and his family life.
He puts the final touches on this head-topping chune, as he proclaims, “Taking the summer off cause they tell me I need recovery/Maybe getting back to my regular life will humble me/I’ll be back 2018 to give you the summary, more life.”
More Life is a cultural symphony, taking you on multiple vacations throughout Drake’s expansive mind and iconic career; those destinations of which include his intimate side, his abrasiveness, his insecurities and a random pitstop in the islands. Now, combine all these with an insanely stellar Young Thug verse, and you have a pretty immaculate piece of work.
Two years and four projects later, it’s safe to say that he can take off for as many summers as needed.
Thank you Drake, see you next year.