Drake’s latest project takes a mellow turn

Just under a year after releasing Views comes Drake’s newest musical endeavor. Labeled as a playlist, the Canadian rapper dropped More Life on OVO Sound Radio on Apple Music’s radio station on Saturday March 18. 

Unlike Views, this playlist arrived with little advanced hype—but it’s no small addition to Drake’s musical repertoire. With 22 tracks, More Life is over an hour of Drake grappling with getting let down by friends, family and lovers, all the while exploring the sounds of black music; this ranges from the United States and his hometown of Toronto all the way to Africa and the Caribbean. 

More Life boasts more of Drake’s brooding, melancholic sentiments, while also offering the mic to various other rap and R&B artists. If there is one thing about Drake, he keeps his lyrics personal and honest. In “Lose You” he ponders over losing someone—or some people—close to him while trying to remain true to himself, saying, “Inspirin’ and never takin’ credit/I know I deserve more, I just never said it/Two middle fingers as I make a exit.” 

With relaxed beats enveloping each track, this playlist seems to scream R&B more than Drake’s usual hip-hop nature. Some critics argue that Drake is worn out, but he assures his audience that this is untrue. In “Sacrifices,” Drake openly acknowledges his opponents, noting, “Niggas see me in person/First thing they say is ‘I know you need a break’/Hell nah, I feel great, ready now, why wait?” 

One track that stands out from this playlist is “Passionfruit.” Musically more upbeat than most of the other tracks, Drake croons in his balmy voice, “Passionate from miles away/Passive with the things you say/Passin’ up on my old ways/I can’t blame you, no, no.”

It seems like Drake is ready to explore other facets of music production through his experimentation of marketing More Life as a playlist. Playlists tend to be made up of songs brought together under an overarching theme or mood. Besides “Fake Love,” there are no standout party anthems, however—something that Drake always manages to include on all of his other albums. The mood of More Life is an air of tranquility and placidity, as evoked by each track.

A review from Slate refers to More Life as “long and meandering, but never exhausting.” This description perfectly encapsulates the playlist. The review goes on to name Views as “Drake’s safest and most unadventurous album to-date.” More Life was a bit safer in terms of musicality, in my opinion. The beats are a bit redundant, and sometimes his raps become monotonous. 

Drake certainly stepped out of his comfort zone in terms of format, though. By playing around with brief interludes from artists Jorja and Skepta and by shifting from an album format to a playlist, Drake’s passion for music remains clear, even if some of the tracks fall flat.

More Life seems like a playlist that will continue to grow on fans with every listen. Drake remains a master of his craft, and only time will tell with what he chooses to experiment with next.