After a few delays and months of anticipation, Drake finally dropped his More Life playlist on March 18th. The 22-song monstrosity is a culmination of Drizzy’s interest in grime music, a genre originating out of East London that’s characterized by aggressive, jagged electronic sound paired with rapping and hip hop influences. The features from Giggs and Skepta solidify this theme with their East London roots. Not an album or a mixtape, the “playlist” has a number of guests, including Kanye, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and a solo track from Sampha.
The Toronto-born Aubrey Drake Graham has come a long way from the Jimmy Brooks we all loved on Degrassi: The Next Generation. The OVO mogul is currently in the middle of his “Boy Meets World” world tour that comes on the heels of the 20-song album Views, and now releases this 22-song playlist to exemplify his ability to crank out tracks. With more exuberance, more singing, and more grooves, More Life marks Drake’s total emigration to dance music from the dark, paranoid themes that have characterized his previous projects. This playlist is simultaneously forward-looking and optimistic, while also staying true to Drake’s ability for master narration and tendency to drop references about his ongoing conflicts with Rick Ross and Meek Mill.
In the interest of keeping this post at a reasonable length, I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites from the playlist.
Track 3: “Passionfruit”
This track speaks on the difficulty of maintaining a long-distance relationship (cough cough Rihanna are you there cough cough) and is a vehicle for Drake to discuss a larger issue at play: trust. Over the song, Drake explores how he is unable to maintain his trust and faithfulness to this said woman, eventually advising her to put the relationship on a break.
Favorite lyric: “Listen, seeing you got ritualistic/Cleansin’ my soul of addiction for now”
Track 8: “4422” feat. Sampha
The majority of this track was written and performed by British singer/songwriter Sampha. “4422” refers to the IRS form that is filled out when someone wants to discharge their property while under subject to a tax lien, and this song uses the 4422 process as a metaphor to describe the slow destruction of a relationship.
Favorite lyric: “You built it up to break it halfway through/Just make the call, 22”
Track 10: “Skepta Interlude” feat. Skepta
Drake has talked on his radio show about being a fan of Skepta for a long time and respecting his talent. Additionally, Drake wanted to use this playlist to shine a light on the UK Grime music scene which Skepta embodies.
Favorite lyric: “Fish eye lens on my tunnel vision/Real-life greaze when I touch the riddim”
Track 11: “Portland” feat. Quavo and Travis Scott
In this song, Drake enlists the help of Quavo (1/3 of Migos) and Travis Scott to rap about their success and not letting anyone “ride their wave.” The title of the track refers to Portland being the city of the Trail Blazers, or rather those that create waves for others to ride.
Favorite lyric: “Yeah my girl got a 5S with the screen cracked/Still hit me back right away, better not never hesitate”
Track 14: “Teenage Fever”
This track samples Jennifer Lopez’s “If You Had My Love” and possibly discusses Drake’s transition from a relationship with Rihanna to J. Lo and the tension this may have created. ‘Teenage fever’ refers to J. Lo being Drake’s teenage crush, bringing him back to the old days and living out his teenage dream.
Favorite lyric: “Out of body/That’s just how I feel when I’m around you, shawty”
Track 17: “Can’t Have Everything”
On this track, Drake realizes that he may not be able to have everything that he wants, but that won’t stop him on his quest to captivate the world with his music. The song features an outro from his mother Sandi Graham, closing with a voicemail she left for Drake that illustrates her concern for his negativity and encouragement to accomplish his goals.
Favorite Lyric: “Everything that went around is coming back around/Y’all better hit the ground/Beef forever unfinished”
Track 18: “Glow” feat. Kanye West
This track features Kanye and an outro from Earth, Wind, and Fire. This song speaks on how far Drizzy and Yeezy have come in the music industry, and how they are going to continue to glow in the spotlight for a long time.
Favorite lyric: “Used to work the fries, now we supersize/we go suit and tie, we gon’ touch the sky”
Track 21: “Ice Melts” feat Young Thug
This track is arguably the most cheerful and optimistic track on this playlist, with undertones referencing the possibility of Drake’s rekindled emotions for Nicki Minaj – aka one big shot at Meek Mill.
Favorite Lyric: “Look I want you to myself/But I know you just left someone else/I know you did, he did a number on you/That must be why you move so icy”
Drake shared this message on More Life in an editor’s note on Apple music:
In this note, Drake alludes to what he’s done with his life so far, and the More Life he has to live. Drizzy’s back with a vengeance.