I didn’t think it was possible, but More Life might be worse than Views.
It’s been said on here before, but I haven’t been a Drake fan since Take Care back in 2011, and that was probably mainly just because of the Weeknd. I’d go as far as to say that a quarter of Nothing Was the Same was alright, and have really only enjoyed “Hotline Bling” ever since. Views was the last straw for me. The record was insanely too long for what sounded like one never-ending song, and it held little to no tracks with any real worth to them.
Views was like elevator music—songs for the casual background music listener. You could put it on behind whatever you were doing, it would play for 80 minutes, and without paying attention to the words you could say it was calming music and you could maybe even call yourself a Drake fan. But give just one ear to the words and it was all downhill.
No one listens to Drake for lyrics, because he has nothing to say. I feel fine asserting that Drake hasn’t said anything worth a damn in the past three years. And it’s fine, pop music is pop music, and it doesn’t really have to say a whole lot, but if you’re going to talk about yourself for over eighty minutes, then you better have some interesting thoughts lined up—and frankly, Drake doesn’t make a great case on More Life for why I should care for his thoughts.
For one, Taylor Swift might have built a career on writing off ex’s, but Drake is the pettiest artist in all of music. His and Meek Mill’s feud ended in 2015 with Drake’s “Back to Back,” but here we are two years later and he still won’t let it go. Meek lost to Drake, The Game, and just broke-up with Nicki Minaj, so you think he’d be down and done but no, Drake is still taking one-sided shots at him.
He’s also still continuing the beef from Kid Cudi and Kanye West’s breakdowns. During which, Kanye lashed out at Drake saying that he didn’t want to hear “For Free” on the radio anymore and that Drake and DJ Khaled were just radio-pandering artists. Drake apparently took all this to heart with no remorse, because More Life includes diss line after diss line to “his friends,” and the shot from his AMA speech (“So watch how you speak on my name, you know?“) is placed all over the record.
On the very first track he takes shots at Cudi and Meek Mill again. I can understand rap battles, and I can understand rap beefs, but Drake plays it all so long that it seems plain childish. I don’t want to hear Drake talk about Meek Mill anymore, and I certainly don’t want to hear him continue to insult his once-friend Kid Cudi for his mental illness.
Two times on the album he mentions people giving advice and pleading him to move on. On “Free Smoke” he talks about how Jay Z warned him to stay away from rap feuds:
I didn’t listen to Hov on that old song,
when he told me pay it no mind
I get more satisfaction outta goin’ at your head,
and seein’ all of you die
as well as his own mother, who expresses her concerns on the outro of “Can’t Have Everything”:
You know, hun, I’m a bit concerned about this negative tone that I’m hearing in your voice these days. I can appreciate where your uncertainly stems from and you have reason to question your anxieties and how disillusioned you feel, as well as feeling skeptical about who you believe you can trust. But that attitude will just hold you back in this life, and you’re going to continue to feel alienated. Give some thought to this, because I’m confident in you, and I know you can reach your desired destination and accomplish your goals much more quickly without this confrontation I’m hearing in your tone these days. When others go low, we go high.
And sure, it prefaces the track with Kanye West, but it’s not a “go high” vs “go low” moment for sure. Later on the record even, Drake continues to take shots at Meek Mill and anyone else who might come at him in the future. It was honestly hard to hear him blatantly ignore Jay Z, and even his own mother, tell him that he’s going down a destructive path of anger.
On the last track “Do Not Disturb” he says:
People that want to lecture me,
and frame it like they just want the best for me
Or they check for me, whatever splits it up
So there’s more for them and there’s less for me
They don’t know they got to be faster than me to get to me
No one’s done it successfully
Say what you will about Kanye West, but Drake might have the biggest ego in the game. He views all of his advice-givers and friends in the business as rivals trying to grab at his money. He then brags that none of them have been able to take him down. It’s pure paranoia.
His narcissism even travels over into songs about his love life, as he sings song after song about how he can’t trust anyone because everyone around him ends up leaving him hurt. He never has an introspective moment on More Life, or Views for that matter, where his actions or words could ever be the problem.
He mentions his past failed relationships with J-Lo on “Free Smoke” (“I drunk text J-Lo, old number, so it bounce back”), and Serena Williams on “Nothings Into Somethings” (“Did I just read that you just got engaged on me? / I heard from your friend, you couldn’t even tell me”), as well as what I’m pretty sure is his ongoing love for Nicki Minaj on “Ice Melts” (“Look, I want you to myself / But I know you just left someone else / I know you did, he did a number on you / That must be why you move so icy”).
On “Blem,” a track in which he can’t understand where complications in a friends-with-benefits relationship might set in, he sticks to his guns and affirms: “cause I know what I like. I know how I wanna live my life. I don’t need no advice.” He puts the blame on her, saying, “I know we can’t keep it together forever cause you’re crazy sometimes,” but still asks “how come we can never slash and stay friends?” He always blames the girls in the end: J-Lo for changing her number, Serena for leaving and getting engaged to someone else, and Nicki for acting cold while she was dating his enemy Meek Mill. He blames all of these women and more for leaving him, but he never tries to figure out why.
Maybe it’s you, Drake. For a guy who thinks everyone wants to be him or be with him, he never seems satisfied with how the world treats him because of his actions. Maybe that’s why he says he’s taking a Summer off at the end of the record. I mean, it’s a whole lot of Drake for a record 80 minutes long, especially after Views, and it doesn’t even stop there.
The music in of itself is a whole other discussion. A mixture of dancehall, reggae, R&B, trap, and UK grime, More Life plays out like a global trip through Drake’s musical tastes, as he tries to fake that he’s from some indeterminable island instead of a rich Canadian neighborhood. Started from the bottom now we’re Jamaican?
Regardless, the music is the key element to More Life‘s success, being the only tolerable element of the project. Like him or not, Drake makes some damn rhythmic music, but all that credit really goes to his eclectic production team. Like Majid Jordan on “Summer’s Over (Interlude)” from Views, the best track on More Life is “4422” with Sampha. With each new release, I constantly find that my favorite parts are the parts without Drake. Maybe one day he’ll go full DJ Khaled.
More Life was released as a “playlist,” even though it’s all original material. Even when Kanye West did that on Cruel Summer it was released as a compilation record, but it’s weird here because More Life is still all about Drake. For how much this record features other artists like Sampha, Skepta, Giggs, Kanye West, Black Coffee, Quavo, Young Thug, and Travis Scott, most tracks are still just Drake.
And that’s my biggest problem with More Life, and Drake in general. I just have no reason to like Drake as a person. For the past three years his lyrics has been nothing but narcissistic and emotionally empty. I’m honestly exhausted hearing nothing but Drake talk about Drake without any introspection. More Life feels like Drake acting as a self-indulgent caricature of himself, and I refuse to accept it as some palatalized, millennial aesthetic.