Music Review: More Life Drake Album

Photo: genius.com

I'm not a Drake fan like I was back in high school, but I have to give my props to him; the man really knows how to stay consistent with music. I didn't hear any news about him releasing a new album (he released the news October 23, 2016 although I wasn't paying attention), but I did expect for him to release an album as he always does right before official "turn up" season aka summertime. The Ja Rule model is truly in full effect. Tonight, the Toronto, Canada native released his 22 track, fifth studio album. This album is also available on multiple streaming services and not just Apple Music. The album cover features the artists' father Dennis Graham as a younger man sitting in a classic 1980's reed chair (you know everybody's moms posed in one of those chairs for the 1985 prom).

Last year Drake caught a lot of controversy from the Caribbean community, being accused of practicing cultural appropriation of Caribbean culture, specifically dancehall music with his songs "One Dance" and "Controlla". Both songs are definitely jams, but I can't deny the accusations aren't accurate. Actually, Drake has even been accused of appropriating different music styles including southern, Black American, trap music. Seems like Drake gets a bit "obsessive" when he's really into something. After he released the song "Enough Said" with the late Aaliyah back in 2012, he was in the talks of putting out an entire album with the songstresses' unreleased music. Like bruh, stop it. Pump ya brakes.

On this album, I definitely hear the dancehall and overall West Indian musical influence, but it's making me cringe hearing him speak in a robotic "Jamaican" accent and continuously say "wasteman", "pree", and "ting" throughout the album. The album title itself is based off a Jamaican saying meaning to basically enjoy life. The grime produced song "KMT" comes from a Caribbean (Jamaican) saying "kissing mi teeth". I think it's great that he's inspired by dancehall culture, he even cited Vybz Kartel as one of his inspirations in a 2016 interview with Nardwuar. However, the issue arises when fans who are ignorant of Caribbean culture start citing Drake as the practitioner for the culture because of his popularity. Chile, I already see folks on Twitter saying "Drake is going to have everyone using Toronto slang" when said terms originated in the Caribbean. This is the same issue that has occurred within hip-hop culture in the past decades (another topic for another time). If Drake is going to continue to go on this route of dancehall inspired tracks, it would behoove him to collaborate with Caribbean dancehall artists, not only in his music, but also in their music. 


Personally, I felt this album, like many of his more recent albums, were kinda thrown together. As I stated before, Drake has a reputation to uphold with releasing "summer hits". Although I feel like a lot of these songs were probably throwaways that never made it to the 2016 "Views" album, I wont say they're necessarily "bad" songs either, they're dope. My favorite songs are "Fake Love", "Ice Melts" featuring Young Thug, "Madiba Riddim" (my new hip rolling song), "Blem", "Passionfruit", "Get It Together" featuring Black Coffee and Jorja Smith, and "Teenage Fever" with a sample from Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love" (so that explains their IG coupling a few months back). The production on this album is on point with the mix of cultural influences crediting producers like Noah "40" Shebib, who usually works with Drake, Kanye West, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. 

I wish there were more songs on the album with similar production to the house music inspired "Get It Together" and "Madiba Riddim" (I'm thinking that song's production it's a mix between afro-beat and soca). "Skepta's Interlude" was dope; he's a UK grime artist and I'm going to have to check out more of his music because he was delivering bars. Of course this isn't the first time Drake has featured an international artist in his music since he's done music with artists like Wizkid from Nigeria. Giggs is also a UK artist who is featured on "KMT".

Drake really knows how to reach all demographics with this music and as an artist he does know how to push boundaries, experimenting with production. Like the "Views" album, "More Life" is a lot more smoother and chill, an amalgamation of trap, UK grime, dancehall, afro beat, and r&b. The lyrics on "Lose You" stood out to me the most; 

Way less support from my peers in recent years as I get established

Unforgiving times but fuck it I manage"

I can resonate with that shit. 

I was definitely surprised there wasn't that one extra turnt, head banger song with the exception of semi-turnt "Portland" featuring Quavo from "Migos" and Travis Scott. I'm sure some reggae clubs will be playing "Madiba Riddim" and "Blem". After listening this album a few times, I think it's pretty decent. Hopefully Drake starts featuring more Caribbean artists in his music for dancehall tracks and also features more international artists. This album was better than I expected. If Drake needs a dancer for a "Madiba Riddim" music video, tell him to hit a sista up.


Rating: 7/10

Did you listen to "More Life"? Feelin' it or naw? Share below!



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6 comments:

  1. I don't really listen to drake much... but this was a great review on his album. I'll have to check it out.
    Xojohnnielynn

    http://xojohnnielynn.com/calming-chaos-with-gonoodle/

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    1. Thanks Johnnie. I was just casually listening while working so I decided to write up a review. I haven't really been feeling a lot of his music lately, except for a few singles, but this was a pretty good album. Thanks for visiting!

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  2. I am not used to listen to Drake much but your review makes me want to listen to the album !

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    1. Thanks love! Yeah Drake definitely knows how to hit every demographic and literally everyone enjoys his music.

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  3. I haven't listened to his stuff in FOREVER so it was interesting to hear what's going on with his new work. Thanks for sharing!

    Britt | https://alternativelyspeakingonline.wordpress.com/

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    1. Yes this has been one of his better projects in the past few years imo. Thanks love!

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