Do you remember where you were when Drake dropped More Life? I imagine most of you do, with headphones up LOUD to the Apple Music broadcast of the playlist that felt like the best of Drake's albums. That's right, even if it's one of the best albums of 2017 (so far), Drake's always considered this to be a playlist (which would explain the volume of collaborators throughout the release). That said, it's still surprising that, according to HITS Daily Double, Drake has not entered More Life for “any 'genre album' awards.” Even the official Grammys website took a look at Drake riding the wave of the digital revolution with this playlist, but the question is, why?
It's hard to say. Many have been conflicted on what to call More Life. Sure, Drake says it's a playlist, but what do we, the critics, call it when it comes to breaking down the best releases of the year? It's hard to ignore the release when literally every song hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It could also just be a sign o' the (digital) times, where the confines of what denoted an album or a mixtape or a “project” or whatever are virtually unnecessary. The thing is, just doing a bit of a glance at Drake's history can (hopefully) help us shed some light on why More Life would not have been submitted for genre album awards for the Grammys.
Drake still doesn't consider it an album
Drake, and his crew, are adamant that More Life should be treated as a playlist, and not a proper album follow-up to Views. Nineteen85 told Billboard that because Drake had “so many good ideas,” he “just wants to put it out without making it a big ordeal.” He also alluded to the idea that Drake “has a bunch of people in a space, hanging out,” as well as saying More Life somehow helped “introduce new music and new artists to the rest of the world.” You might think that's crazy, but the average Drake listener wasn't up on Black Coffee or Jorja Smith before he featured them on this release.
Even the “more tune for ya headtop” drop during the initial release (which debuted on OVO Sound Radio before popping up on Apple Music) made this feel more like Drake just running through a gaggle of bangers that he was sitting on without a proper destination, as opposed to a refined statement. Hell, it was 22 tracks, with little to no interludes, which made for more of a mixtape vibe than anything.
Drake has some issues with the Grammys
Back in February of 2017, Drake sat down with DJ Semtex for an interview that was recorded the day after the Grammys. In it, Drake explained why he wasn't feeling the Recording Academy for, in essence, pigeonholing him and his output, primarily because of “Hotline Bling,” which won two Rap Grammys (Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance) despite Drake not spitting a single bar on the track.
“I’m a black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though 'Hotline Bling' is not a rap song,” Drake said. “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black.”
Maybe Drake decided to be super petty, dropping a project that he knew had some Grammy-worthy heat on it that he wouldn't submit to the Grammys out of spite. You almost hope that these rumors are true and Drake never speaks on it, just because he can. Keep it 100: even if Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z put out some critically-acclaimed albums in 2017, going up against Drake's More Life in a Rap Album category would be interesting.
The bigger statement here, though, is Drake sort of carving a lane all his own. He can and does rap on the regular, and has had loads of success in the rap game, but he's also surpassed the usual “rap” goals, and is a bona fide pop star. No one wants to be looked at as one particular thing, especially when they've exhausted that box. Maybe Drake is just looking for his proper respect and figured ducking the Grammys was the best statement he could make.
Drake's more focused on his next album
Oh, you didn't know? You must not be following Drake on the 'gram. The 6 God has been posting a number of studio shots since the tail-end of summer 2017, and said he was “about to go back to making this new album” during OVO Fest back in August. With no real word on when we will be hearing new material, or when this new album would be released, it really has been quiet on the new Drake music front. He's taking in movies and basketball games, and we have to imagine that these exercises are breaks for inspiration outside of the studio, where he has to be hyper-focused on topping Views.
At the end of the day, these aren't confirmed rumors; we won't 100 percent know that More Life isn't up for anything until the 60th Grammy nominees are revealed on Nov. 28. That is, unless Drake comes out and confirms these reports. Again, he might not even need to, though; mans might not even be thinking on the next batch of Grammy awards. Drake's probably so focused he's working on the 61st Grammys ceremony.
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