By Braxton Randolph
Drake’s last album, Views (2016), was a project that felt like Drake was routinely going through a layup line before a basketball game (or shooting an air ball, like when he warmed up with the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team back in 2014). Many, including artists such as Joe Budden, criticized Views as being uninspiring. As I have also put it many times, it was an album with minimal growth that we already knew he could make, not an album that showed us his evolution as an artist. Not to say that the album was bad; in fact, I would even say it was decent. A couple of singles from that album, including “Controlla” and “Still Here,” were at the forefront of a lot of summer playlists, so I will give it some credit for that.
However, fast-forwarding to now, I think More Life is Drake back to being inspired and actually trying instead of going through the motions. On an obvious tip, we have a Drake who’s clearly been spending some time in London with his newly acquired vernacular. We also have a Drake who’s been spending some time in the Caribbean area, as there’s a clear influence of Dancehall in this playlist, as Drake has referred to it. One could point to these factors and say he’s a more evolved artists, and that wouldn’t necessarily be false. However, in my opinion, there’s more to it. Take “Do Not Disturb,” the closing track, for example. On this track, you can sense the attentiveness and inspiration in his words. These were elements lost on Views, and he comments upon this, rapping that the “Last verse that I gotta do is always like surgery/ always trying to let go of anything that’ll burden me/ that’s the reason you can feel the tension and the urgency.”
Another example here of Drake rapping like in his early career is “Sacrifices.” This track features Atlanta artists 2 Chainz and Young Thug. This is one track that also showcases Drake using a different flow than normal, which could also attest to his evolution as an artist. He holds his own alongside 2 Chainz, possibly one of the most consistent rappers in recent years, and Young Thug, one of the most versatile rappers today. Drake provides witty lines such as, “40 got a house on the lake/ I ain’t know we had a lake.” However, although he holds his own, I think many will agree Thugger takes the crown on this one.
In the end, More Life is an album that will definitely be in everyone’s rotation, especially with summer slowly approaching. Anything Drake puts out is big, but this deserves to be especially big because it is the bounce-back from Views that people wanted.