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Drake‘s highly anticipated debut playlist, More Life, dropped on Saturday night. Not only is the project 22 tracks deep, it also features some of the music game’s heaviest hitters, such as Kanye West, Young Thug, Travis Scott, Skepta, PartyNextDoor and many more. Released via Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records, and Republic Records, the playlist is led by the single “Fake Love,” which dropped last October. Smart move for Drizzy not to make More Life an Apple Music exclusive — earlier, it was announced that the Toronto rapper has become the first-ever artist to reach 10 billion streams on Spotify. Although 20 percent of that figure currently comes from his previous album, Views, it wouldn’t be surprising if More Life drew in some impressive numbers on its own as well. In celebration of Drake’s latest project, we have put together 10 facts that you should know about More Life.
More Life, or More Life: A Playlist by October Firm, is not Drake’s fifth solo studio album. Rather, it’s his debut “playlist.” Originally due for December, Drizzy described in episode 32 of OVO Sound Radio that More Life is “a body of work” that he’s “creating to bridge the gap between major releases.” His aim was to give listeners “a collection of songs that become the soundtrack to [their lives].” His latest album is still Views, released on April 29, 2016.
Popularized by dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, “more life” borrows from a Jamaican slang phrase that means “to wish someone well.” In an interview with Nardwuar last year, Drake revealed that the incarcerated dancehall legend is one of his biggest inspirations. He said: “Free up World Boss, Addi Mi Daddy. Vybz Kartel is one of my biggest inspirations like one of my favorite artist. You want to talk about a guy that is coming out of somewhere or who is coming out of a place that has their own thing, their own culture and absolutely just taking over to becoming the one person to idolize.”
Drake first appeared on the same track as Kanye West in the revamped version of “Forever,” the 2009 Lebron James dedication which also featured Lil Wayne and Eminem. In the same year, Drizzy and ‘Ye appeared on the remix of Jamie Foxx’s “Digital Girl.” Drake and Kanye reappeared together in 2010 on the remix of Chris Brown’s “Deuces.” Five years later, West hopped on the extended version of Big Sean’s Drake-featured “Blessings.” “Glow” marks the first time Drake and Kanye are on a song together by themselves. Kanye has produced for Drake numerous times, including “Find Your Love,” “Show Me a Good Time” and “You Know You Know.”
Kanye West may be the only listed feature on “Glow,” but the song took 18 artists, songwriters and producers to create, with the inclusion of sampled artists. Produced by 40, Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music in-house producer Noah Goldstein and sampling Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Devotion,” songwriting credits include Majid Jordan, Cyhi Da Prince, King Louie, Illangelo, Malik Yusef and more. It also features excerpts from Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late song, “Jungle.”
Drake previewed what we now know is “KMT” during his ‘Boy Meets World’ tour stop in Amsterdam. Many listeners compared Drizzy’s flow to XXXTENTACION’s in his underground hit track, “Look At Me!” In a surprise interview with DJ Semtex on the 38th episode of OVO Sound radio, the 6 God denied to have stolen X’s flow: “I listened and I’m like, okay, I see where people could draw this comparison off of the first two lines, whether it be cadence or the rhyme pattern or whatever. It’s crazy that people think that after all this time, after all I’ve been through, that I’m the type of person to go and take that and make it my own. I’m not stupid, I’m not a sh*tty person like that.” XXXTENTACION, who was (and still currently is) incarcerated, did not seem to believe the Toronto rapper. He called Drake a “p*ssy n*gga” and accusing him of biting other artists like D.R.A.M. in the past.
The sinister string sample from Drake’s Giggs-featured, Ness-produced track is from “His World,” the main theme of the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game. Developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the game itself was a flop. Upon its release, the game was notorious for gaining negative reception from popular review websites like IGN and Metacritic. “His World” is written by Sega in-house composer Tomoya Ohtani, performed by Ali Tabatabaee and Matty Lewis of the band Zebrahead.
Late last year, Drake and Jennifer Lopez were rumored to be in a relationship after Drizzy uploaded a photo of the two embracing intimately on his Instagram. They were caught spending new year’s eve together at Drake’s Las Vegas show and Champagne Papi even bought Jenny from the block a $100,000 diamond necklace. While Jennifer doesn’t contribute any new vocals to Drake’s More Life, the hook of “Teenage Fever” is taken from chorus from Jenny’s 1996 On the 6 track “If You Had My Love.” Drake also references J.Lo on “Free Smoke“: “Iced up / my day slow / Silk pajamas when I wake though / Mirror bound to the face though / I drunk text J-Lo / Old number so it bounce back.”
Drake is notorious for his love of basketball. Not only can he sink a half-court shot lying down, he also makes a lot of hoop references in his music. In the first song on More Life, “Free Smoke,” he gives a nod to Kevin Durant, “Mama never used to cook much / Used to chef KD / Now me and Chef KD / Bet on shopping twenty G’s.” He references Russell Westbook in “Can’t Have Everything“: “Oh, triple double, Russ face / Watch with the bust face.” Skepta mentions Kobe Bryant in his interlude: “Stand up tall, right next to Kobe.” Quavo steps out of the NBA realm into Olympic swimming in “Portland” with: “Michael Phelps with the swim moves,” and also gives an ode to Jordans: “Michael Jordan with the tennis shoes.”
Remember the $5 dollar instrument you had to learn in elementary school? It’s what seems to be the lead instrument in the Travis Scott and Quavo-featuring track “Portland.” Produced by Canada’s Murda Beatz and German production duo Cubeatz, the track follows a recent trend of the utilization of flute or some sort of aerophones in rap music. Kodak Black’s smash hit “Tunnel Vision” uses it, as well as Future’s “Mask Off,” which inspired the Internet to whip up a bunch of memes. In addition to “Portland,” there’s also a flute outro on “Skepta Interlude.”
Drake did not hog the spotlight in More Life. The playlist contains the more features than any other project the Toronto rapper has ever released. With contributions from Kanye West, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Quavo, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Giggs, Skepta, Sampha, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jorja Smith, Hiatus Kaiyote, Black Coffee and many, many more, guests were allowed to shine in songs and make them their own. Some, like Skepta, Sampha and Jorja Smith, have songs belonging almost entirely to them. While Drizzy delivers a lot of impressing rapping in a bunch of the tracks, there are instances where other rappers out-rap or out-sing him, like Kanye West on “Glow” and 2 Chainz and Young Thug on “Sacrifices.“