By Joseph Iemma
Drake fan or Drake critic, one cannot deny that the three time Grammy recipient’s following and popularity rank alongside some of the greatest musicians of all-time. Don’t believe me? For starters, check Spotify’s analytics department. According to Spotify, Drake is the first artist in Spotify’s history to reach 10 billion song streams. These numbers do not include any data derived from Drake’s latest piece, “More Life,” which first debuted on OVO sound radio, and then Apple Music on Saturday, March 18.
More Life is not an album, according to OVO Sound Radio Team, a record label founded by Drake and long-time friends and partners Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib.
The album is simply the bridge between two major pieces, the first piece being Grammy nominated “Views,” released in April 2016.
The 22 song playlist showcases features from Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Quavo, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Giggs, Skepta, Sampha, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jorja Smith, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Black Coffee. According to a report on CNBC on March, 21, “More Life” was streamed 89.9 million times within 24 hours after its release, an all-time record for streaming by a musical artist.
Despite breaking records, “More Life” has not drawn great reviews from Drake’s core group of millennial supporters. “He’s trying to take Jamaican slang approach to his music, and I don’t think that style works for him at all,” junior broadcasting Major Rakwan Hedgemond said. The harsh takes on Drake’s ‘More Life’ didn’t stop there, Senior Nutrition major Nino Tiburzi, was critical of Drake’s new approach to his music. “Look, I’m fine with Drake trying new things; in fact, I encourage it, but I think Drake’s lyrical credibility took a hit on this album.” Tiburzi explained his stance on Drake’s lyrical content. “Take Care, Nothing Was The Same, and Thank Me Later spoke were albums where Drake spoke directly to his audience whether it be about past hardships, relationships, fame, etc. Outside of a few songs, this album does none of that,” Tiburzi said.
Tiburzi’s point is not to be taken lightly. Drake has certainly evolved from his early rap career. Once a scrappy, younger rapper, with clever word-play and an uncanny ability to connect with his audience; Drake has received criticism from, fans, tabloids, and other artists alike for allegedly straying away from his roots as an artist. Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill feuded with Drake two years ago, accusing him of using a ‘ghostwriter’ by the name of Quentin Miller. While some would argue that Drake won the feud with Meek Mill by way of a diss-track titled ‘Back to Back’, there was clearly a crack in the damn when it came to Drake’s lyrical credibility. Jersey-born artist Joe Budden has feuded with Drake for similar reasons, claiming that drake had been guilty of posing to be someone he’s not. “Everything about Drake’s behavior is lame,” Budden said in an interview last summer with Power 105.1 Radio Host, Charlamagne.
Regardless of whether you like the playlist or not, there are still fragments of the Drake that once was. “‘Teenage Fever” is reminiscent of Drake’s “Take Care” days. However, this song makes references towards Drake’s encounters with Jennifer Lopez, even using her chorus from “If You Had My Love” as the sample. ‘Do Not Disturb’, ‘Lose You’, as well as ‘4422’ are some of Drake’s premier songs featured on the playlist.
Given that this playlist is a ‘bridge-piece’, I personally, will not put too much stock playlist being a sign of things to come. For example, perhaps this Drake simply trying something ‘new’, a new style in which he can learn to refine into a style that better reaches his audience ears and hearts. However, if I am being honest, I would like to see the ‘Old Drake’ come back with one last vintage-hit album which can rival his ‘Take Care’ album in terms of caliber of content, in terms of both lyrics, melody and features.