Drake

Drake performing.

At this point in Drake’s career, you either love his music or you hate it. It’s hard to find someone who lies in between. 

It’s also physically hard to escape the music. Drake has been releasing hit after hit almost every year since 2010. Everyone has heard a Drake song, whether it’s on the radio at work, in the back of a friend’s car or in the bowels of a frat party. 

But through all the memes and feuds, Drake has emerged as an artist who truly dominates his genre. He’s been commercially on top of the rap game for a while, and it’s obvious that he’s starting to get bored. 

This became apparent in “Views,” his lengthy and introspective 2016 release. “Views” had 20 songs on it: the mark of a man with too much time on his hands. The album had absolutely no direction. Musically, it was all over the place. It also fell back on tired themes of Drake’s love-hate relationship with fame and women. 

That being said, he certainly knew how to make a pop song, with hits like “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance” displaying true mastery of the craft. 

Since “Views,” Drake has been very busy posting Instagram pictures of himself at the gym, sporting events and shows. He also made a new 22 song album. 

Drake’s newest project, “More Life: A Playlist By October Firm,” doesn’t take itself seriously. The very name teases at the fact that it’s not intended to be the true successor for “Views.” Instead, it sounds more like a mixtape, a sprawling course of singles and features. And here’s the kicker: it’s better than “Views.”

Drake’s well aware of his strengths as a singer. He utilizes the infectious afrobeats anthems that kept him relevant in 2016 all throughout “More Life.” Songs like “Passionfruit,” “Blem,” “Get It Together” and “Fake Love” all excel as continuations of the dancehall hits he started on “Views.”

The other thing that “More Life” does very well is collaborate. There are a lot of artists on this project. Kanye West, Young Thug, Travis Scott, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Skepta, PARTYNEXTDOOR and Black Coffee are a few of them. 

Most of these artists provide a break from the intense, Drake-heavy songs. “Ice Melts” featuring Young Thug is one of the best songs on the album. It utilizes the auto-tuned swoons of Thugger over a truly euphoric beat. Drake continues to pay homage to the influential Atlanta trap scene with songs like “Portland” featuring Quavo from popular rap group Migos. 

On “4422,” Drake hands the mic completely over to British artist Sampha. Similarly, the song “Get It Together” primarily features Jorja Smith. 

“More Life” still suffers from many of the same problems that “Views” had. It lacks a unifying theme and is tiresome in length. Drake himself is a man with many masks throughout the album. Some of his rapping is reminiscent of his “Take Care” glory days. Other songs feature the same old “heartbroken” Drake whining about being rich.

Despite this, however, most of the album is very good. Overall, it’s another successful stamp on Drake’s album passport. 

But what are Drake’s future plans? Luckily, he gives us an answer in the closing track “Do Not Disturb.” 

“My life is set around competition and currency / Takin’ summer off, ‘cause they tell me I need recovery / Maybe gettin’ back to my regular life will humble me / I’ll be back in 2018 to give you the summary. More Life.”

Drew Cowen is a junior media arts and design and English double major. Contact Drew at cowends@dukes.jmu.edu.