Aubrey “Drake” Graham is without a doubt the most popular, yet polarizing figures in not only hip-hop but music and popular culture as a whole. While Views, which dropped in April of 2016, may have been his most successful record according to the charts and record sales, it left a lot to be desired in the eyes of many hip-hop fans. Views was the first album to EVER accumulate over one billion streams on Apple Music and topped the charts as the number one album for 13 weeks. Views provided the undoubted song of the summer and his first Number One record in “One Dance”. If his sales numbers were so historically impressive, why were so many hip-hop fans overwhelmingly disappointed with this album? Views had plenty of GREAT songs, however it was way too long in length with the album spanning over an hour with 20 tracks.
Views was supposed to be Drake’s Magnum Opus, his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which would firmly establish his place among the greats in hip-hop history. However, it came across more as his version of Tha Carter IV, a solid album after a streak of greatness spanning more than half a decade. Views displayed one of the common criticisms that Drake has faced his whole career; he plays it too safe and he is afraid to take risks. On his appearance on Apple Music two weeks ago, he stated at one point he wanted Views to be an album of “feel good” music only. His original vision of the album would have been filled with radio friendly Dancehall influenced tracks, and if he stuck to that vision I would have enjoyed the album as a whole SO much more. It would have been an extremely cohesive project and he would have taken a huge risk for the first time in over half a decade.
I’ve admittedly been on the Drake-slander bandwagon for about a year now, but for some reason I am EXTREMELY excited about his upcoming playlist project, More Life. Drake dropped 3 songs slated to be on his project in October 2016, and to be completely honest I was incredibly underwhelmed and felt this project was due to be another letdown for a former Drake stan. “Fake Love” seemed like a blatant attempt at a radio friendly track to mirror the success of “Hotline Bling”, “Controlla” and of course, “One Dance. “Sneakin” featuring up and coming Atlanta trap star 21 Savage felt as authentic as Pamela Anderson’s breasts, and “Two Birds, One Stone” a diss track aimed at Kid Cudi received overwhelming negativity due to its insensitivity towards Cudi’s struggle with suicidal thoughts and battles with depression.
So why am I SO excited for this project? Despite being underwhelmed to say the least with the first few tracks released off the playlist, I truly believe this will be the first time Drake takes a serious risk in years. Billing it as a “playlist” as opposed to an album or even a mixtape, displays with this project he’s doing something he’s never done before. The aspect of this album that has me the most excited so far is the influence the London Grime hip hop culture will have on the project. Snippets from concerts and private shows display a HEAVY grime influence on this project. Drake has been very vocal about his support for the Grime culture for a long time now. He was featured on the biggest star in Grime music, Skepta’s, Konnichiwa album (one of my favorite projects of 2016) last year and announced he will have London artist, Giggs, on two of the songs off of More Life. I believe that this project will have a huuuuuuuuuuuuge impact on crossing Grime over to the popular culture in America. Hot take: in the next ten years, London hip-hop culture will blow up the way we have seen Atlanta in the last decade.
Despite Drake announcing long time collaborator and friend 40 will be executive producing the album and Giggs being featured, there is very little information about the project out there. Some rumored features include Rae Sremmud, Bryson Tiller and emerging superstar, Young Thug, but no one is for certain. With the album being slated to drop March 4th on his episode of OVO Sound Radio on Saturday, this is the most excited I’ve been for a Drake project in a very long time and I cant wait to see what he has in store.