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The OVO God is out with his new 'playlist,' More Life, now available wherever music is sold or streamed.
That's right. Playlist. Not album. Drake is explicit about this (but not anywhere else in the playlist), so take heed.
The new music debuted on Episode 39 of Beats 1 OVO Sound Radio on March 18th, and was introduced by Oliver El-Khatib, Drake's Co-Manager and Co-Founder of the record label OVO Sound. Oliver, broadcasting live from Toronto, was excited to introduce the "long-awaited, world premiere" - something that had been brewing for a long, long time, y'all...since late 2016.
Drake was coming to us live at 6pm London time "from the dinner table, sitting with his squad, celebrating, and thanking - and they need some shots, too - everybody who helped with this project, who lent their inspiration, their input, their hard work, dedication, all that."
The OVO crew wanted to take "this project to celebrate the fact that they're all still here, still going" - thanks to their fans and listeners.
To each and every person listening, I truly do wish you more love, more blessings to you and all the people you care about, and of course, more life. Enjoy. - Drake
All in all, the playlist feels underwhelming. The production falls short of any raw surprises, and the lyrics are absent of moving thematics and bigger ideas, which make for a lackadaisical set-list compiled for an OVO-inspired house party later that night.
Despite the critique, I found some opportunities for observation and praise after giving the playlist a few listens:
- "Get It Together" shines the spotlight on the rising UK-born singer, Jorja Smith. Her soulful voice smears the chorus like butter with hints of her English accent.
- If you're craving more Caribbean beats, "Madiba Riddim" re-paints the tropical 'Views' from "One Dance."
- Sampha brings his chill to "4422." This is his second feature with Drake, making the initial premiere on Nothing Was The Same. The British singer, songwriter, and producer is currently touring for his new album, Process. Catch him live.
- Is that a recorder? Flute? In any case, it's some kind of beat aided by a woodwind instrument on the "Portland" production.
- "Teenage Fever" samples J.Lo's "If You Had My Love." Was she Drake's teenage fantasy come true? While Drake admits to drunk texting J.Lo earlier in the playlist, he takes this track to reflect on their brief romance and eventual split.
- In an interlude following "Can't Have Everything," Mama Drake preaches to her son about his bubbling negativity, disillusionment, distrust, and confrontational tones that are apparent in his music and celebrity feuds. She also reminds him of Michelle Obama's wisdom that "when others go low, we go high."
- Per usual, Kanye basks in his "Glow," reminiscing on their "touch the sky" and "started from the bottom" days.
- An oldie (not really) but a goodie, still feeling those sway vibes with "Fake Love" that inspires us to throw some shade and make some waves.
These days, musicians are more privy to the unconventional methods of releasing music, dropping it before major football events, on HBO specials, on radio shows, on iTunes libraries, as visual albums, and as unfinished, iterative art forms. They employ these creative marketing techniques to generate elements of surprise and exclusivity and to get their fans hyped up and quickly on board.
But, how effective are these techniques when big-time musicians churn out albums, mixtapes, playlists - however they choose to call it these days - less than a year since their last piece of work? Does such a short timeframe equate to "long-awaited," or is it, as Drake calls out in repetition, just "more tune for your headtops"? Can they claim the music as their own when it's quickly assembled and manufactured by a group of people on the production line?
Personally, I'd appreciate more time between one album and the next. Therein lies the benefit of giving themselves and their fans a pause for introspection and absorption.
For the artists, now that their work is out there, how will it manifest and shift during their tour? What will their next muse or sources of inspiration be? How will these experiences culminate and eventually come to life again on the rap sheet?
For the fans, sometimes, the work is a surefire hit, and we immediately see its greatness; other times, it takes time before we begin to relate it to our own experiences and find meaning in our lives to give it the credit it deserves.
Time allows for mastery, authenticity, and reflection, and that's what gives more life to music.
Drake, that's our wish for you.
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