On Saturday, Drake premiered More Life on Episode 39 of his Beats 1 show OVO Sound Radio and made this anticipated “playlist” available to purchase and stream soon after.
Subtitled A Playlist by October Firm, the lengthy project prominently incorporates guest features and smooth transitions, with Drake strictly in rapping mode for much of the playlist. Bookended by the taunting “Free Smoke” and the self-reflective “Do Not Disturb,” More Life shows a Drake determined to prove how seriously he takes the art of MCing.
Drizzy also displays the expert ear that helps keep his music fresh, collaborating with or sampling artists from around the globe, linking up with grime MCs Giggs and Skepta while building on the massive afro-house beat from Black Coffee’s “Superman” on “Get It Together.”
Drake’s world-conquering popularity and ambitious vision call for more than just a review -- they require an effort to quantify what he’s achieved with More Life. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Drake and his latest playlist.
412,500,000: First-week streams projected for More Life -- a new record.
245,100,000: The current record for first-week streams -- held by Drake’s last album, Views.
323: Days between the release of Views and More Life. Compare that to the time between other superstars’ last two albums -- Adele (four years), Ed Sheeran (almost three years), Taylor Swift (two years), and Beyonce (a year and a half).
81: More Life’s length in minutes.
22: Tracks on the playlist, including two labeled as “interludes.”
7: Full-length projects Drake has made commercially available in their entirety, beginning with Thank Me Later in 2010.
8: Peak Billboard Hot 100 chart position of More Life’s lead single, “Fake Love.”
1: More Life's expected chart position on the Billboard 200 next week.
2: Recent Drake singles presumed to appear on More Life but ultimately left on the cutting-room floor --namely, the 21 Savage-assisted “Sneakin’” and “Two Birds, One Stone.”
1,780: Miles from Drake’s native Toronto to Kingston, the capital of Jamaica -- a nation whose culture and slang continue to obsess Drake.
5: Bona fide rap superstars who make guest appearances, namely Kanye West, Young Thug (on both “Sacrifices” and “Ice Melts”), 2 Chainz, Migos’ Quavo, and Travis Scott.
6: Bona fide rap superstars who make guest appearances if you count Lil Wayne, who just stops by to say a few words (and audibly spark a blunt) at the end of “Blem.”
6: Songs that feature vocals or production by artists from the UK and Africa. In addition to the aforementioned Giggs, Skepta, and Black Coffee, British vocalist Jorja Smith joins in on “Get It Together” and London’s ascendant Sampha delivers a stunning guest spot on “4422.”
6: Songs credited or co-credited to Drake’s go-to producer 40. Kanye, Boi-1da, Frank Dukes, and on-fire white-boy prodigy Murda Beatz also contribute production.
3: Songs where Drake clearly takes aim at Philly rapper Meek Mill, including “Free Smoke”’ (“How you let the kid fighting ghostwriting rumors turn you to a ghost?”) and (“Can’t Have Everything”’ (“Niggas tried to serve me up a cheesesteak / I gave ‘em back a clean plate”).
2: Songs where Drake shamelessly promotes his Virginia Black whiskey (“Blem,” “Gyalchester”).
1: Voice mail interlude from Drizzy’s mom, Sandi Graham. She shows up at the close of “Can’t Have Everything,” sweetly urging Drizzy to calm down (presumably in light of his Meek Mill beef) and ending her message by paraphrasing Michelle Obama: “When others go low, we go high.”