By Julius Brown
Hip hop and R&B superstar Drake, released his latest musical installment, “More Life,” on Saturday, March 18.
Amplifying the release, the six month delayed album premiered as a playlist on the OVO Sound Radio Show. Based in Toronto, Ontario, OVO Sound is a record label founded by Drake, Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. The playlist was then released to all streaming services immediately after its debut on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.
Fans were not disappointed as he mixes a diverse spectrum of sounds on the 22 song compilation.
“I thought it was a nice change up from past albums like ‘Views’ and ‘If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,’ where the vibe was kind of darker. I honestly felt like the songs were more upbeat,” said Sacred Heart graduate student Franco Micheo.
The Canadian born artist takes fans on a journey of his many musical influences—including hip hop, Caribbean dance hall, R&B and grime.
Drake displays his pop star and Caribbean dancehall influences on songs like “Passionfruit” and “Madiba Riddim.” Despite the smooth, pop star rhythms, Drake doesn’t forget his lyrical prowess in the realm of hip hop. Addressing many of his personal struggles and accomplishments, he flexes his hip hop bravado on songs like “Free Smoke” and “Lose You.”
“It’s hard to tell what type of ‘Drake’ one will be listening to,” said senior and WHRT’s host of “Banter with the Brothers” Carl Kenner. “On a track, you could hear yard man Drake from Jamaica, road man Drake from London, Zone 6 Drake from Atlanta, Toronto 6 Drake; the list just goes on and on.”
On this journey, Drake introduces a new sound to both long-running and brand new fans. The musical genre, grime, takes center stage on “More Life.”
According to MTV, grime originated in East London in 2000 and pulls from U.K. electronic music styles like U.K. garage and jungle, Caribbean dancehall, and hip hop. Drake not only incorporates grime into the album, but features prominent U.K. grime artists, such as Giggs and Skepta, on songs like “No Long Talk” and “Skepta Interlude.”
“I actually thought that the grime was interesting. I preferred ‘Skepta’s Interlude’ the most, but it was the first time I’ve ever heard that style” said sophomore John Kaywood.
Pulling from his many influences, Drake taps voices from all corners of hip hop and R&B by employing a diverse, star-studded cast of guest appearances. Sampha, Quavo, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Kanye West and PartyNextDoor are all featured on the album.
Devoted listeners of Drake praise the newest installment, but casual listeners will form their own opinion about their thoughts on “More Life.”
“I thought ‘More Life’ was a safe decision on Drake’s part,” said Kaywood. “Hardcore fans are going to love it, but the average person is going to take what they want from it.”
The album has already garnered notable success from streaming services alone. According to The Verge, “More Life” broke Apple’s record for streams in a single day with 89.9 million streams in the first 24 hours of its release and broke Spotify’s single streams record with 61.3 million streams in a day.
Drake is currently finishing the last leg of his “Boy Meets World Tour,” set to finish on March 28 in Amsterdam. With no announcements of any future tours or festival appearances, Drake leaves his fans eager for what he will do next.
“I believe some of Drake’s best work is still to come,” said Kenner. “With that in mind, I believe one should take the time out of their busy schedule and give ‘More Life’ a quick listen.”