A well produced beat and a hot feature will earn a first time listen. Some good vocals and a catchy hook will get people to come back for seconds. What Drake is able to accomplish though, an infinite amount of repeat plays without getting swallowed by the “Z100 Effect,” well that’s what separates the good from the great. The meat from the potatoes. SoundCloud from the Grammys. In his 8th album release, nay “playlist” release, Octobers Very Own doesn’t disappoint proving once again that Drake stands within a league of his own; the rapper is as consistent as rain in April and fans once again rejoiced at the 22 song set we the people will beat to a pulp via instagram captions and bitmoji.
I normally steer clear of fanboy culture, never selling myself too far up the river when it comes to hip hop, R&B, nor any other genre that gets lassoed within the entire swathe of the music industry. The art and effort found within any one song is beyond me, like most listeners, I’m not on standby in the studio when the beats and bops are being curated…perhaps that’s why Drake resonates so well for a kid like me and the rest of the world. Somehow that studio sesh feels like it was live streamed and everything that went into it was crowdsourced. If I could write raps, they’d sound like Drakes…surely I’m not alone in that regard. Why do we go coocoo for Drizzy puffs? Because we can relate.
Art has always been regarded as the all powerful ethos-evoking vessel in life. While winds and waves will literally move a person, true art can shake a soul with the ferocity of 10,000 thunderstorms. When it comes to music, the existence and relish we put to the craft stems from the ability of an artist, whether it be Drake or Picasso, to effect and impact you well beyond the creations, well, creation. Normally, magnum opus and summer mixtape included, the original punch an art form packs diminishes like an Econ 101 supply and demand graph. The more we use, the less we utilize…that’s a nice way of saying things get old quick and the enjoyment we are seeking plateaus and inevitably valleys. This is a phenomena to be expected. In art and life we learn to love and appreciate things of true worth even if that initial wow-factor and infatuation has simmered to an esoteric blip on the hip hop radar. Now On my Xth listen through Drakes “More Life,” my mouth is still salivating like the Turkey has yet to be served and it seems like the thirst won’t be quenched anytime soon….what does this guy understand that the rest of the industry is missing?
Maybe it’s Noah and 40, those guys have mastered their craft and push the envelope further than UPS. Is it Drakes new Caribbean accent? In the most 2017 move of the year, Drake speaking in Island tongues certainly works well for the aesthetic, but these subliminal intricacies don’t make an album go Double Platinum. Where oh where then is the carrot in this proverbial garden. What is fueling the Drake addiction that hooks “the kids” on More Life and all the past projects like junkies in the trap house? Simply put…we can relate. Before I get chopped and sewed for saying I can relate with the biracial, Canadian, Grammy winning, super model smashing, Dom P pouring, captain of industry, let me clear my name and say “I” am not Drake…I will take my poetic license however and say that “we” are. The issue when it comes to rap music is the lack of ingenuity and narrative that we are able to relate with. While PMW (pussy money weed) lyrics and storylines are all the rage and certainly soundtrack a night club as well as anything else can…it loses that je ne sais quoi the second the lights are turned back on and the Uber’s are called. Drake hits hard and speaks soft, a duality that is normally kept church and state yet The Boy has found the key to that elusive lock. How then can a white boy from Long Island, a drug lord from ATL, a mother from the West Coast, and all of the cooks and crazies between still turn on More Life, close their eyes, and feel so close to an artist that quiet literally lives like no other? Welp, take notes my dear Migos…rap is poetry. Where words fail, music speaks. In order to communicate, it’s recommended to speak the same language…Drakes tongue is universal (not a sex joke).
Here are bits and pieces from More Life, that we can ALL relate to. The samples of the songs that keep us coming back for more. The parts that fit any scenario and scene. Drake-isms with both breadth and depth. The common threads. The martian like lyrics that still have us Earthlings closing their eyes thinking “that’s what I would say, if only I could find the words.”
- Free Smoke: I saw people doin things, almost gave up on the music thing
-People start getting in trouble when they look left and right rather than straight ahead. We all have our passions yet few us of make our careers around them. Stay the course and believe in yourself.
- No Long Talk: Skull gets hot, then I’m not nice
-Fortune favors the level headed but we all know that anger is often times the emotional trump card. Drake doesn’t always play nice…we all know the feeling of being good at being bad. RIP Meek.
- Passionfruit: Tension between us like picket fences
-a grade school analogy for a lifelong problem. They say good fences make good neighbors but we know Drake isn’t talking about just any old girl next door.
- Jorja Interlude: They turn they back and they leave you. They gon’ be back when they need you
–People are selfish and often times “me” will always come before “we.” Drake explains that even he has fair-weather friends. Keep the grass short and watch out for the snakes in the garden you are creating
- Get It Together: You need me to get that shit together. So we can get together.
–He’s likely had more relationships than most men will have in this life or next. Relationships are a two way street; here Drake explains that you gotta hold up your side of the bargain…if not be prepared to revert back to the age old excuse, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
- Madiba Riddim: Voodoo spells put on my life. It won’t work they all have tried.
–Most people will find that no matter what they do, they’ll have more haters than fans. Let them wish you the worst. They deserve to waste that shooting star on you.
- Blem: Move from me when you’re extra
–Sometimes we must trim the fat from our lives when a certain cut of the meat is tainted. Back to the human condition of selfishness. Here Drake sheds light on the situations where that ideal can work in your favor.
- 4422: I know I fear fear too much
–Donnie Darko taught me that the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum are love and fear. Both will catalyze a man so why not walk on the lighter side of the fence?
- Gyalchester: I’m so hot yeah, I’m so right now
–Need I say more? Whether you just dropped 40 points in your rec league, stole home with a new lady friend, or got that fleeting commission check, sometimes a lion has got to stroke his own mane.
- Skepta Interlude: No Drake!
-I’m playing by my own rules…no Drake on this track
- Portland: Fuck bein rich when I’m 40, I’m tryna make it now
-This one may make you feel a bit small in that Drake says he is still “trying.” Let is serve as a lesson that there never be a finish line and there is no such thing as enough. Plus, 40 year olds have those scary, nasty things called responsibilities. I want 7 figures and no dependents to claim in April.
- Sacrifices: Hell naw, I fell great, ready now, why wait?
–Ideas are garbage. Action is vital. If heart is in play then why wait for that drive to subside. Live in a world where tomorrow doesn’t exist…actually, we all already do.
- Nothings Into Somethings: Nothings Into Somethings
–More lover boy talk from Driz. All is fair in love and war and the last thing you can control are the feelings that creep up on you.
- Teenage Fever: Out of body. That’s just how I feel when I’m around you, shawty
–Starting to see a common thread here? Drake talks the language of love…a unifying force throughout the world. The relatable-ness we’ve been referring to may boil down to the fact that we are sitting ducks when it comes to love. Cupid aims his arrows at those who least expect it.
- KMT: Taller in person, you’ll see when we meet
–See, even kings feel insecure. Haters will say its photoshopped.
- Lose You: I need to start sayin’ shit when I notice it. be open with people I need some closure with. Be honest with myself and take ownership
–Is that Edgar Allen Poe or the wheelchair from Degrassi? Drake obviously made a career off using his words. Sometimes we’re too reluctant to voice our opinions. Sometimes we’re too self-serving to recognize our own faults.
- Can’t Have Everything: Niggas tried to serve me up a cheesesteak. I gave them back a clean plate.
–Nothing gives a person wings like overcoming obstacles. And redbull. Regardless, we all know the world will through shit our way…the great ones will finish their plate and ask for more.
- Glow: Watch out for me, I’m bound to glow.
–Whenever Ye is involved, you know there’s bound to be some hubris. This time they’re not going to blow rather it’s time to glow. This simple play-on-words shows the power of belief and confidence.
- Since Way Back: Book a plane home, then I hesitate. Scared to see what I left behind.
–No matter your hood or your home, we all have our reservations when it comes to returning to the starting line. The past has a lot of demons and sometimes we know better than to go looking for them
- Fake Love: I’ve been down so long it look like up to me.
–The guys got it all, but depression has always been real in the 6. Even Drake can admit to the shift in realty when we get stuck in a bad place for too long.
- Ice Melts: Patient as could be but…
–School teaches you to wait in line but cutting always gets you there quicker. Time and time again we sit on our hands to refrain ourselves…other times we say fuck it and just take what we want.
- Do Not Disturb: Wakin up to public statements bout my private life
-The 21st century marked the death of the ability to have a secret. The eyes are everywhere and we’ve all got stung for assuming we were alone.
More. More. More.