Relentless Beat of the Week: Oliver Heldens – ‘Ibiza 77 (Can You Feel It)’
June 16, 2017
June 16, 2017
Drake has always struggled with his place within the rap game. His level of success speaks for itself, but he often rides a fine line between corny and hard that makes fans unsure how to approach his music.
After his last album Views got less-than reviews the pressure was exceptionally high to deliver on his next project. More Life was the breath of fresh air that fans were not just looking for, but needed. There’s an apparent global influence on More Life. Elements of British street culture, Caribbean dancehall, South African house and Afrobeat mesh with grime and trap to make for a diverse ‘playlist’. The playlist label seems intentional, as it allows more creative freedom than the typical album might. Drake said “I want to give you a collection of songs that become the soundtrack to your life,” when he announced the project last fall. It’s the most confident and relaxed Drake has seemed in quite some time. He takes a step back when necessary on this album to let other’s shine, which is a huge contrast from Views where Drake seems unsure and eager to prove himself. Despite the playlist title, More Life has a whopping 22 tracks.
More Life opens with beautiful piano chords and female vocals, followed by a trap beat on “Free Smoke” where Drake says ‘We all so spoiled now, more life, more everything’. “Passionfruit”, a personal favorite of mine, and other’s too apparently based on the almost 60 million stream on Spotify alone, reminds me of the younger Drake I had been missing. These two tracks have since become official singles for More Life. “Get It Together” featuring Black Coffe from South Africa and Jorja Smith from Britain is another personal favorite. It samples the drums and lyrics of Black Coffee’s 2010 track”‘Superman” and has a laidback house vibe that we haven’t seen much of from Drake before.
The features don’t stop there. Giggs, Sampha, Quavo, Travis Scott, 2Chainz, Young Thug, Kanye West and PARTYNEXTDOOR all make appearances on More Life. “4422”, which Drake doesn’t perform on at all actually, features Sampha’s soothing vocals and a melodic melody that flows so well into “Gyalchester” you’d think it was one extended track. “Portland” — a collaboration with Travis Scott and Migos’ Quavo — features what sounds like a recorder that leads the beat. “Sacrifices” hosts one of the best feature verses on the entire project from 2 Chainz. Another example of feature takeover: Giggs on “KMT”, who absolutely kills the beat. Drake again takes a back seat on “Glow” which is more so a Kanye track featuring Drizzy. It’s one of the best songs on the whole playlist featuring an Earth, Wind & Fire sample that takes the song to another level and gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, making it one of my favorite tracks from Kanye & Drake yet.
“Since Way Back” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR was one of the more disappointing tracks considering what they’ve done together in the past. Drake acknowledged his shortcomings on views when he said ‘I was an angry youth while I was writing VIEWS. Saw a side of myself that I just never knew’ on “Do Not Disturb”, the final track of the playlist. His ability to own up to these failures is just an example of the growth he’s made since Views.
Not every track will be a hit (i.e. “No Long Talk”, “Nothings Into Somethings”) and some of the best tracks are due to exceptional features, but as a whole, this is a solid project. More Views is my favorite work from Drake lately, possibly ever, but all opinions aside, the numbers speak for themselves. Drake broke his own streaming record as More Life hit number one on the strength of 505,000 total albums sold, a record-setting 257,000 of that total came from streaming equivalent albums. Drake was the most streamed Spotify artist in 2016 and 2017 is looking good. More Life also marked the seventh straight time a Drake LP has topped the Billboard 200.