Drake, Toronto rapper/singer, has been a roll now for nearly 10 years. He has established himself as one of the biggest stars on the planet, even setting records along the way. Most notably was the most streamed song on Spotify with One Dance accumulating over a billion listens, a crazy amount. Drake released a few singles leading up to, what we thought was an album, this glorified playlist. Most notably was Fake Love, an undeniably Drake-ish song for want of a better term. It's the story of a man being wronged, a subject matter that Drake loves to visit time and time again. However, this song is buried so deep in this album that you have to search through piles of songs just to reach it, which brings me onto the immediate problem you can see just from assessing the tracklist. There are 22 songs here! I can't recall a project that is this long and still excellent, it's extortionately long winded and stands at nearly 82 minutes. I love the 1975's last album but I said in my review that there songs that were unnecessarily there and songs that could have been dramatically shortened. The former applies to this album right here.
The album opener is one of the best songs on show here, Free Smoke reminds of a Drake long gone that was hungry and still trying to find his flow and sound, sometimes he would hit a gem though, much like with the 2010 hit Forever. We also have further shots thrown at Meek Mill and JLO is affirmed as one of Drakes lovers. However, the song has an idle chorus with Drake just repeating "Free Smoke" over and over. Track 3, Passionfruit, is almost like a part 2 to One Dance with Jamaican clubhall beats and a soft singing voice from Drake purring all over the track. The song is catchy and holds a constant beat throughout with only Drakes voice amplifying at points. The problem with this track being so good is that it will be a hit and Drake will assume making more Jamaican dancehall music, which needs to stop at this point. English Grime artist Giggs appears on this album twice, surprisingly, on tracks KMT and No Long Talk. This is Drake adopting British music and thinking he can suddenly start using Grime beats and Grime artists, but it doesn't work like that. Drake can't just hop on the trend and expect to make great music within the genre, even Giggs' verses on these tracks sound like throwaways from his latest album, Landlord.
Drake's sudden adoption of the Jamaican and British culture is a mainstay theme throughout the album, with Skepta even taking a whole track on by himself and even the cringiest track name ever, Gyalchester. Which isn't a terrible song in itself but everytime the word Gyalchester is said it makes me want to delete the whole album. By track 12 the album starts to become a chore, and it's so bland and boring that the songs start to fade into one another and end up becoming one big melting pot of Drake, Grime, Dancehall and R&B. It's not good, I can see why Drake decided to refer to this album as a playlist so it isn't another stain on his legacy, much like the collaboration project with Future. The only problem is that people aren't stupid, and everyone is going to refer to this as an album because releasing a 'playlist' is just ridiculous. If you're looking for grime I recommend listening to Skepta's Konnichiwa or Giggs' Landlord or if you're looking for Jamaican music look no further than Vybz Cartel. I think it's time for Drake to return to melodic rap and bold R&B