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Drake’s career seemed to be at a dead end after his release of VIEWS. While “One Dance” seemed to be a huge hit, the rest of the album around that singular track was aggrieved to the point where it felt like an insult to Drake himself.
In more than 80 minutes of the album, Drake made sure to wring every single drop of musical content that he could from his personal as a beta-male conqueror. He’d crushed and driven his frenemies, gotten lamented by their women; what’s left but exile?
It seemed like he was tacitly admitting his stagnation through the warmer More Life. Drake considers the release as more of a Playlist than an album, making it seem less serious in comparison. It forced Drake out to mingle with others under the sunlight. The closing track “Do Not Disturb” seems to acknowledge his bleak spot, talking about how he was young and full of emotions he didn’t understand when writing VIEWS. We can even hear his mom in a voice message more than halfway through the playlist in “Can’t Have Everything,” admonishing his hostile and suspicious streak by explaining how it’s just going to hold him back and make him feel alone.
While he doesn’t completely drop that attitude, he stays more in the background in More Life, toning down his self-pity to let his skills speak for himself. He has an incredible ear for creating melodies, a sophisticated taste, and wonderful curation skills—more voices in the frame can only result in richer and fuller music. That’s why More Life is bursting with lush sounds and energy—there are more producers, more genres, and more guests, giving it more life overall.
His confused relationship with hip-hop’s rules creates friction between the role he seems to play and the one that he’s assuming. The self-contradicting identity is a big part of his music’s legacy.
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