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Toronto’s Finest Mellows Out: Drake’s More Life

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With his new double-LP long album mixtape playlist More Life, Drake now has two (out of eight) commercial projects that I can listen to from front to back and be perfectly happy with.

Toronto’s finest may still have an off-putting penchant for falling into faux-Jamaican or London accents, but the tracks he puts together on More Life are consistently stronger and more distinct than pretty much anything he’s done. The thunderous “Get It Together,” and the lush, Young Thug-assisted “Ice Melts” are not only surprisingly good songs by Drizzy Drake’s (low) standards, but are legitimately great even freed from the hefty baggage that comes with any of the 6 God’s music.

And speaking of that baggage, very little of it makes its way into More Life. There’s a lot of things that have annoyed me about Drake over the years; his creepy, spiteful attitudes towards women, his disingenuous tough-guy posturing, his refusal to acknowledge that he did not, in fact, start from the bottom, and his insistence on latching onto the most absurd and cartoonish flows and cadences you can imagine are just some of what turns me off from most of his music.

For the most part, these annoyances are toned way back in October Firm’s Drake’s new set of tracks. Everything here is simpler and more confident than anything off Views by orders of magnitude. The dancehall tracks are punchier, the trap cuts have more bite (especially the hype as fuck “KMT”), and the introspective songs largely find Drizzy dropping his petty worldview in favor of genuinely thoughtful reflection — the closer, “Do Not Disturb,” is, in fact, one of the most substantial tracks Drizzy has ever come up wit. Driven equally by ethereal vocal samples and heavy trap drums, the track finds the OVO head honcho expressing his desire to take time off and live drama-free for a while — to simply live “more life” until next year.

Fingers crossed that he actually goes through with that plan; I’m liking this mellower Drake.

Drake is pop music’s we-sell-everything store, safely covering as much ground as possible rather than attempting to offer something high quality and long lasting. Despite desperately gunning for Jay Z levels of hip-hop reverence, he’ll never get there. He may be a master of setting Billboard records, but those accomplishments aren’t indicative of any greater skill or vision; from project to project, his music has little staying power, and that’ll probably never change. If his projects continue to be as consistent and workmanlike as More Life, then I’ll be totally satisfied. That said, I’d rather not hear anything more about how Drake is the “greatest” at anything music related. He’s had 10 years now to prove himself as an artist and he’s never really risen to the occasion — his window of opportunity to enter rap’s pantheon has long passed.