Drake Returns with “More Life” Playlist

As winter begins to thaw and give way to spring, there’s one thing you can count on. No, not seasonal allergies – new music from Drake.

The Toronto rapper has been making a habit of dropping surprise projects on us this time of year. In 2015, it was the out-of-nowhere mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Last year, Views arrived as one of the biggest releases of 2016. This past weekend brought More Life – a new playlist.

It’s fairly clear that Drake is a man who rarely sleeps. These surprise releases never seem to be short collections, but are instead consistently large bodies of work that take more than a few days to digest, making reaction in the moment nearly impossible. Perhaps that’s the point.

In 2015, If You’re Reading This became a hot topic not just because of its unexpected nature, but because of the immediate conversation of what qualifies as a mixtape in the digital age. Last year, Views, released as an official full length album, immediately became the hottest selling release of the year, despite lukewarm reviews that trickled in as the weeks passed.

This time around, we’re left asking what this playlist even means. According to Drake himself, More Life is intended to serve as a “collection of songs that become the soundtrack to your life.” True to form, it doesn’t quite feel cohesive in a way you’d expect an official release to flow and will likely avoid review in the typical form. It will not, however, avoid weeks of discussion.

This buzz-generating method of releasing new music has become signature Drake, and perhaps further amplifies voices that declare traditional albums to be irrelevant. In fact, Drake has become a central point in the pop culture zeitgeist and pop music discussion without ever releasing what could be qualified as a “classic” album (we can argue about Take Care another time). As long as tracks like “Hotline Bling” and “One Dance” continue to intermittently dominate airwaves and meme generators, he really doesn’t even need one.

I like Drake. I usually enjoy 6-7 songs on these 20-track behemoths that now come as often as Christmas. I’ll probably spend the next few weeks streaming More Life and deciding which songs will make repeat appearances in my Spotify queue. What I can’t do is offer much more than a shrug and a few head nods to the conversation about Drake as anything more than background noise amidst the current boon of powerful and impactful hip hop voices.

And that’s fine. We need sounds to prepare us for summer. If Drake wants to be our annual reminder to create a “new music” playlist, I’m happy to pass the time while waiting for Kendrick’s new album to arrive.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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