Photo Courtesy of Drake
Article Written by David Hall
It comes as no surprise to those who know me, but I can be a bit picky when it comes to music. Okay that’s an understatement. Let’s put it like this; it’s tragically ironic how much music I don’t care for considering that I love music more than Kanye loves Kanye and even more than I love Kanye (I really love Kanye).
There are many artists still on my blacklist that probably won’t leave anytime soon. Among them The Dave Matthews Band, Michael Buble, and like pretty much all EDM music. (Quick sidetrack on Buble for a second. Riddle me this; why would you ever listen to Buble when you can just listen to Sinatra? Answer that impossible question and I’ll consider warming up to those Canadian croons fabricated in a J.C Penny focus group.)
But as I’ve gained a little age I’ve warmed up to artists and bands that I would have never touched in my angsty teenage years. For example, I’m all aboard the Bieber train these days. Yeah I know some of that early stuff was silly, but anyone who doesn’t feel something when they hear Love Yourself is lying to me or themselves.
Where was I? Oh right, Drake. So Drake has always been one of those guys I just never got. I found his rhymes weak and the beats devoid of all soul. But everyone loves Drake! And he seems like such a nice dude I always felt bad about not liking his music. Like, I don’t like music, but I would never tell him that.
Well, the winds of change are blowing and I think with the release of his new LP More Life I finally get it. The man carefully and creatively wove beautiful beats and sounds from dancehall as well as thriving in his trademark athletic rhymes that seethe competition. Drake understands that at its heart rap is a game, a game he’s been winning for nearly a decade now.
The album begins “Free Smoke,” a song that perfectly captures Drake’s dichotomy between the warmth of the music he’s been sampling and the absolutely frigid nature of the music that put him on top. The song starts with a soulful sample from a piano accompanied female vocalist which quickly transitions into Drake’s signature minimalist beats accompanied by some angsty lyrics from rap’s most famous sadboy.
The dynamic continues. My personal favorite on the LP “Passionfruit,” contains subtle synth hits and light swing from a drum machine provide a lovely backdrop for Drake to croon about love lost. It’s as if the album’s changing as fast as feelings change during tumultuous relationships: defiant anger, reluctant optimism, and the kind of sweet sorrow you pray will end, but never want to leave.
It would be an insult to not acknowledge that More Life contains some serious bangers. Fake Love is killer radio rap that’s dominated the airwaves since its release back in October. And if the subdued Get It Together doesn’t make it to major FM stations then we should seriously consider abolishing pop radio.
Drake nods to serious new kids Sampha and Jorga Smith, cornerstone of popular hip-hop 2 Chainz, and pop’s crazy uncle Kanye with impressive appearances from all of them. These features bring some needed sonic variability that, especially for me, make the album far more palatable.
So I’m finally in the Drake club and I gotta say it feels good. And now that More Life has brought me to the table, I’m starting to enjoy the rest of the fixin’s you might say. Nothing Was The Same? Take Care? Look out, here I come.